Project to document Dallas LGBT history begins

Jack Evans, left, and George Harris

A donation of $1,000 was received to help kick off PROJECT: Dallas GLBT History, and about 20 people attended the first meeting last week.

The idea of documenting the history of the LGBT community in Dallas came from Jack Evans and George Harris earlier this year around the time they celebrated their 50th anniversary.

The focus will be on organizations and events as viewed through the experiences of individuals who were involved. The group hasn’t decided how the project will be distributed.

“It was an enthusiastic group,” said Evans. “The focus will be on the history of the community as told through the eyes of those who experienced it.”

At the next meeting the group will decide the form of the project, which will probably be some combination of video and written format. To start, they will choose about three organizations and three individuals to begin remembering and documenting.

Evans said he hopes the project will be housed at the Phil Johnson Library at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. But the video portions may also be available online.

He said that the people who attended were an incredible source of information about a variety of pieces of the Dallas LGBT community. He said Paul Williams will be invaluable in documenting the history of the Turtle Creek Chorale and several people who have been part of the Black Tie Dinner committee for years, including Mary Mallory and Robert Emery, are participating.

The next meeting will be Sept. 15 at ilume. Anyone interested in participating can contact Jack Evans and George Harris.

—  David Taffet

Resource Center marks Banned Books Week

The Phil Johnson Library at Resource Center Dallas marked Banned Books Week with a reading of material banned from libraries.

Librarian Sandy Swann noted that books are still being banned. Just this week, the Beaumont library and school systems banned the book “Friday Night Lights.” In the book upon which the NBC show is based, the quarterback breaks his back and is unable to walk again, not the image we want to portray of Texas high school football.

Rafael McDonnell read three poems by Walt Whitman including “We Two Boys Together Clinging.” Another reader read the Alan Ginsburg poem “Howl. He noted that this work was upheld as not obscene by the U.S. Supreme Court but the ruling forbids it from being aired on radio at anytime other than midnight to 6 a.m. That ruling still holds.

I read the number one banned book in the country, “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. This threat to marriage as it has existed since biblical times is about two male penguins who build a nest together and hatch an egg in the Central Park Zoo in New York.

Of the top 10 banned books, three have LGBT content. In addition to “Tango,” “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” are listed. “Tango” has been number one for three years, according to Swann. Surprisingly, “Heather Has Two Mommies” is no longer in the top 10.

Other notable banned books include the Harry Potter series, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “It’s Perfectly Normal,” challenged for daring to imply that being gay or lesbian is normal. Another gay favorite on the list is “Wicked.”

Also in Phil Johnson Library news: The will hold their annual book sale on Oct. 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Resource Center with bargain prices on books, VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs.

— David Taffet

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