Dallas CVB raffling off Super Bowl tickets

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Despite the common stereotype that gay men don’t like football, I am willing to bet there are some out there who would be thrilled to get to go to Super Bowl XLV, not to mention the lesbians who are football fans.

And with the NFL’s championship game coming to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington next February, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving even those of us who couldn’t normally afford a Super Bowl ticket a chance to see the big game firsthand by raffling off two Super Bowl XLV tickets,valued at $2,500.

The raffle tickets are $50 each and will be available through midnight on Oct. 31. The random drawing will be held Nov. 1, and the winner will get two tickets to the championship game on Feb. 6, with “premium seats,” according to CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones.

You have to be 18 years or older and reside in the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia to be participate in the raffle. But if you meet those requirements, you can buy as many of the $50 raffle tickets as you want to. Credit cards are accepted, and the raffle prize doesn’t include airfare, lodging or other potential expenses of attending the game.

A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will go to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, which operates The Bridge homeless shelter.

For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, go here.

—  admin

Out & Equal convention coming to Dallas in 2011

Largest LGBT national convention should have an $8 million economic impact on city, officials estimate


DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

George Carrancho
George Carrancho

The 2011 Out & Equal convention will be held in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, officials with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We’re excited to host the 2011 Out & Equal Conference in Dallas,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the CVB. “With its more than $8 million economic impact to the city, it will be the largest LGBT convention held in Dallas to date.”

Jones said that convention and leisure travel to Dallas has increased in the past five years.

“We were selected to host this convention in part because of our strong, cohesive LGBT community,” he said. “This community support is essential as we continue to promote Dallas as a top LGBT destination.”

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a national organization based in San Francisco advocating from within companies for workplace equality for LGBT employees. They provide a variety of services to companies and employee resource groups and offer diversity training specific to LGBT workplace issues.

There are 18 regional affiliates, including ones in Dallas and Houston.

Tony Vedda, executive director of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, said his group partnered with the Dallas CVB to bring the convention to the city.

“They were looking at several cities,” he said. “We’re thrilled they chose us.”

Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force held its annual Creating Change conference in Dallas for the second time.Officials estimated the impact of that conference at about $4 million for the city.

Vedda said that successfully hosting one LGBT event helps bring the next one.

“It shows the rest of the world that Dallas is a welcoming city,” he said.

Vedda said that the GLBT Chamber works well with the city. When the area was bidding on this season’s Super Bowl, the GLBT Chamber was asked to send a letter supporting the bid.

Vedda said that these events are very important to the city’s economy and has a positive effect on LGBT-owned businesses, especially in Oak Lawn.

“When we bring in conferences, those people leave lots of tax money for us,” he said. “That’s money that local residents don’t have to spend for services themselves.”

Veronica L. Torres, director of diversity and community relations with the CVB called the convention a big win for Dallas. She said this was the largest LGBT convention the city has booked.

Each year different groups partner with the CVB to stage events, like the Dallas Bears who host the annual Texas Bear Round Up and Dallas Southern Pride which holds its annual black gay Pride each fall, Torres said.

In addition to Out & Equal, the CVB helped book Reaching Out MBA for Oct. 2011 at the Fairmont Hotel. Torres said that 500 to 1,000 people are expected for that convention. In Sept. 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Band Association will meet at the Melrose Hotel.

Torres said she is hoping a small meeting of GALA choruses managers in Dallas next month translates into the convention of LGBT choral association booking the city. They would take over the all of the performing arts venues in the Arts District.

“Dallas is our hometown,” said George Carrancho of American Airlines Rainbow Team. “We’ve been a partner of Out & Equal for at least eight years.”

Carrancho worked with the CVB and GLBT Chamber to bring Out & Equal to Dallas.

He said Out & Equal recognizes the work of the airline. American’s chief commercial officer, Virasb Vahidi, will be the opening speaker of this year’s convention in Los Angeles, and Denise Lynn, vice president of diversity and leadership strategies, is up for the Out & Equal’s Champion Award, given annually to an ally.

To help Dallas win the convention, Carancho said he offered the convention an aggressive discount program.

“This is a big win for American and a big win for Dallas,” he said.

Vedda said that a number of things work in favor of the city of Dallas including the annual press tour for travel writers.

“We get beaucoups of great coverage,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of showcasing Dallas and Fort Worth as welcoming cities.”

Vedda said groups are impressed by the corporate support the local LGBT community gets.

“And not every city can call the mayor, ask him to come to help us sell the city and he does,” Vedda said.

Vedda said the GLBT Chamber continues to work with the Dallas CVB and they have their sites set on several additional conferences, conventions and LGBT sports groups.

“We’re always working on bringing new stuff to Dallas,” he said.

Officials with Out & Equal declined to discuss the 2011 convention, saying they do not announce the coming year’s convention until the end of the convention for the current year.

The 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Summit is scheduled for Oct. 5-8 in Los Angeles.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Picking apart today’s press release on Dallas Pride from the Convention and Visitors Bureau

OK, so I shouldn’t criticize. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau means well. They want to attract people to Dallas. They want to attract gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people to Dallas. I’m just not sure they’re really comfortable with that idea. From the press release DCVB sent out today:

DALLAS (July 15, 2010) – The Dallas lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is gearing up for the city’s 27th annual gay pride celebration. This year’s theme, “One Heart, One World, One Pride”, will highlight the direction of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and subsequent Pride Festival at Lee Park on September 19, 2010.

Hmmm. Well, if the LGBT community is your audience, you don’t really have to explain to them what LGBT means.

“Dallas appreciates and celebrates its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, and September is the perfect time for visitors to enjoy one of the nation’s largest pride parades and the many other festivities throughout the weekend,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If only that were more true, but good quote.

Dallas Pride weekend offers numerous events across the city. The highlight of the weekend is the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Now in its 27th year, the parade is expecting to include nearly 2,000 marching participants and draw more than 40,000 spectators from across the nation and around the world. Immediately following the parade will be the Pride Festival at Lee Park. For more information and a schedule of events, please visit www.dallasprideparade.com.

Not held when anyone else holds Pride, so if you didn’t get your fill in your own hometown, come to ours. We celebrate in September to commemorate our own history, not to celebrate something that happened in New York City. Also, it’s a little cooler then.

Like many gay pride celebrations, Dallas Pride roots back to the late 70s when up to 300 men and women marched through downtown Dallas waving flags and shouting gay rights slogans. The Dallas Tavern Guild adopted the parade from volunteers in 1982 and named it the Texas Freedom Parade in 1983. The organization remains committed to making the celebration grow each year.

This year, grand marshals of the Parade will include Erin Moore, known for her work with the Dallas Young Democrats organization, and Paul Lewis, the long-time organizer of the Parade who also worked with Alan Ross for many years.

Oops. Dallas Young Democrats? Erin? Young?

Beautiful and sexy, maybe. But shouldn’t that read Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, one of the largest Democratic groups in North Texas? But she’s better known for her work forcing the city and many of its agencies to write equality into their non-discrimination policies. But I understand. “Erin Moore, known for forcing equality down the throats of often unwilling agencies,” just doesn’t have that press release ring to it.

Lewis is also loved in the community for heading the PWA Holiday Gift Project. And served on the board of OLCS and threw Daire Center dinners. Just wanted to mention. He’s done a lot. His commitment to the community is more than a once-a-year parade thing. But they’re right. He coordinated it for years.

Just as it has for the past 27 years, the Parade will begin at Wycliff Avenue at 2 p.m. and march down Cedar Springs Road to Robert E. Lee Park.  The celebration will continue with a festival that includes vendor booths, live music performances and more.

For more information on Dallas’ LGBT community and to book a trip to Dallas, complete with a customized itinerary, visit www.glbtdallas.com.

Nice. OK, so maybe if I were writing the press release, I would have included a quote from a gay person. I might have mentioned something about the entertainment or a lesbian venue or something the transgender community is planning.

And I wouldn’t have been afraid to mention that all these activities take place in Oak Lawn. I know part of Oak Lawn was renamed “Uptown” by developers and real estate people to dissociate all that new development from the queers. (Look at a city plat — there’s no such thing as “Uptown.” Up to the corner of Central and Fitzhugh is Oak Lawn.) But when your intended audience is LGBT, not mentioning Oak Lawn is kind of odd.

And unfortunately, glbtdallas.com doesn’t really give much information on the LGBT community of Dallas. No links to community businesses other than bars. Art galleries are listed, but no list of gay- and lesbian-owned galleries. No list of LGBT-owned restaurants and stores. No link to the city’s award-winning LGBT newspaper.

But no one asked me.

—  David Taffet

Heinbaugh clarifies comment about cancelled conventions and the Rainbow Lounge raid

When I read Arnold Wayne Jones’ post about yesterday’s LGBT Leadership Breakfast at the Winspear Opera House, I nearly fell out of my chair. Not because I hadn’t been invited to the breakfast, but because of something Chris Heinbaugh reportedly told the gathering. According to Arnold, Heinbaugh said that “several” conventions that were planning to come to Dallas had cancelled as a result of the Rainbow Lounge raid. Really??? Several??? Are you F’in kidding me??? Now I’m no expert, but it sounds like this might make a news story. So I contacted Heinbaugh this morning to get more info. Here’s what he said:

“I have not seen that post. Either I misspoke or was not correctly heard. I did not mean to say any cancelled. I do know several groups contacted Phillip Jones to cancel and he had to scramble to get them to stay. I do not know the outcome though. Check with Phillip. My point was that we got a huge black eye over that incident and we all need to step it up to counter that.”

We’re on deadline today, but I’ll put a call into Phillip Jones this afternoon. Maybe I can also find out what happened to my invitation.

—  John Wright