CCGLA hosting 3 candidate forums for municipal elections in April

544659_560537957310358_129449817_nCollin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance is hosting candidate forums in April for Plano, McKinney and Frisco municipal elections.

The Plano event is tonight and 14 candidates are expected to attend, including those running for Plano City Council, mayor, and Collin College trustee seats.

Candidates will give short speeches about their platforms before talking questions from the audience.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at 4568 Southgate Dr. in Plano.

Candidate forums have also been scheduled for McKinney races on Wednesday, April 10, and Frisco races on Thursday, April 25.

—  Dallasvoice

YFTCC exceeds fundraising goal for reward in lesbian couple’s shooting

 More than 60 people laced up their bowling shoes Saturday to help Youth First Texas Collin County score almost $400 more than expected for its fundraiser.

The group raised $1,379.84 during the event in Plano, after planning the event a few weeks before to raise $1,000, YFTCC member Kris Wong said.

Wong wanted to help fund a Crime Stoppers reward to help find the shooter who shot lesbian couple Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa in Portland, Texas, in June.

The event was the biggest fundraiser YFTCC has ever organized and the first event Wong has headed up, she said.

“I was pretty ecstatic about it,” she said, adding that she was thrilled with the community’s support.

Wong teamed up with Dallas activist Cd Kirven at the Dallas vigil for the couple. Kirven had expressed a desire to raise a reward and Wong said the event was already planned as a social, so it was turned into a fundraiser.

The teen couple’s attack resonated with Wong, who said she couldn’t imagine if one of her friends was shot or killed.

“It’s sad because they’re my age and they’re too young for, we’re too young for that, because we just started getting out into the world for it to end so quickly,” she said. “It kind of hits home.”

While Wong hopes the money helps catch the shooter as an incentive for those with information to come forward, if the money doesn’t get used, she said it will be donated to YFTCC for future events and causes.

—  Dallasvoice

Mom says teen son was attacked outside Plano Sports Authority after defending lesbian friends

Plano Sports Authority

The mother of a Plano teen is upset about how police have handled the assault of her son on Sunday.

Her son, 18, was exiting the Plano Sports Authority, at 601 Seabrook Drive, when two men approached him and his two female friends, who were holding hands. The men made derogatory comments to the lesbian couple, prompting her son to step in.

The men then kicked and beat the teen, taking out a gun and hitting him with it before running off. The mother said her son went to the hospital and needed several stitches for cuts on his face.

The son did not want to be identified and declined to comment.

His mother, however, was adamant about talking about the incident because it happened in the middle of the afternoon. She said Plano police initially told her not to file a report and she could not reach a detective until Tuesday.

“This is a violent hate crime because it happened because two girls were holding hands,” she said. “The fact that it’s not out there and nobody’s saying anything is driving me completely insane. And that Plano just wants it to go away.”

As for son standing up for his friends, she said her sister is a lesbian and she raised her son to respect others.

“My son’s always stood up for all of his friends because he knows, like we do, that people have a right to be who they are,” she said.

David Tilley, a spokesman for the Plano Police Department, said the basic report mentions that a male and two female teens were in the 600 block of Seabrook Drive when two black males approached them. The men then attacked the male teen, kicking him and beating him with a gun before fleeing on foot.

He said the incident happened around 2 p.m. and police responded to the hospital, later returning to the scene to investigate.

But the report does not mention what sparked the attack or any words that were exchanged between the teens and the men, Tilley said. He said it is up to investigators to determine whether it was a hate crime based on the investigation.

Detective Jerry Minton said investigators had learned that comments were made to the teen’s female friends and that he was beaten up after he stood up for them. But Minton said he didn’t know what the comments were.

The mother, whose name is being withheld to avoid identifying her son, said the comments started because the lesbian couple was showing affection. The mother said police told her they didn’t want her to go public because it could compromise their investigatio. But Tilley said police don’t have a specific description of the men involved.

“They don’t want people to know that a kid was assaulted in the middle of the afternoon in Plano in broad daylight, beaten with a gun, no one did anything about it and he was protecting his lesbian friends. They don’t want that out there,” she said. “I want it out there. Somebody has to know who these kids or guys are.”

—  Dallasvoice

World AIDS Day event planned in Plano

Roseann Rosetti opening a Quilt panel

In addition to co-sponsoring the World AIDS Day event at the new Main Street Garden in Dallas, C.U.R.E. will host a commemoration in Plano.

Billed as a ceremony of healing and hope, the Plano gathering will remember people lost to AIDS. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. It takes place at Community Unitarian Universalist Church at 2875 East Parker Road. Plano-based Health Services of North Texas is also sponsoring.

“Our ceremony will include the dedication of new panels created by family and friends of a loved one lost to AIDS,” said C.U.R.E. co-founder Roseann Rosetti. “The new panels will be presented to The Names Project Foundation to be included as part of the nationally acclaimed AIDS Memorial Quilt.”

Anyone with a new panel to present may attend the ceremony.

“If you would like to present a panel in honor of someone you know and love, C.U.R.E. will be honored have you dedicate and present your panel at our World AIDS Day ceremony,” Rosetti said.

The panels will be sent to the Names Project’s home in Atlanta to be sewn into blocks for exhibit.

—  David Taffet

LEGE UPDATE: Anti-gay Rep. Ken Paxton to seek Florence Shapiro’s State Senate seat in Plano

Sen. Florence Shapiro

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, announced Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2012. Shapiro, who has served in theSenate since 1993, told the Texas Tribune that she is in  final negotiations for a job with a Texas-based education company.

Shapiro currently serves as chair of the Senate education committee, a crucial bottleneck for legislation dealing with anti-bullying efforts in Texas. Her support of both HB 1942 (the “super” anti-bullying bill) and HB 1386 (teen suicide prevention) during the 82nd regular legislative session this spring was crucial to both bills passing. Shapiro also voted in favor of legislation by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, that made the Texas HIV Medication Advisory Committee statutorily permanent.

Historically Shapiro’s support of the LGBT community has been limited to bills that don’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of LGBT people (for example, the two anti-bullying bills mentioned above). In 2001, when the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act was debated in the Texas Senate, Shapiro offered an amendment that would have rewritten the legislation to remove an enumerated list that included “sexual preference.”  The amendment failed.  When the Senate finally voted on the bill, with the enumerated list intact, Shapiro was one of 10 senators who opposed it. Shapiro also supported both the 2003 “Texas Defense of Marriage Act” and the 2005 constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality in Texas.

—  admin

Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Local Briefs

GAIN holding monthly meeting

GAIN, the GLBT aging interest network that is a program of Resource Center Dallas, will meet Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Resource Center, 2701 Reagan.
Educator, public speaker and writer Deneen Robinson, BSW, will present the program on Alzheimer’s and dementia in the aging LGBT community.
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Students seeks study participants

Cindy Chwalik, a clinical psychology student at Walden University who is interning with Youth First Texas, is looking for natal females (those who were born biologically female) who were born in the South and came out as lesbians while living in the South to participate in a research project she is conducting. She is particularly looking for women born in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

Participation involves a 60-to-90-minute interview. Chwalik said there is no compensation for participating, but the information will help those who come out in the future.
Contact her via email at cindychwalik @aol.com.

TDWCC to hear from candidates

Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will hold their next general meeting Monday, April 25, at 6:45 p.m. at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco, Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148.

The program will feature a forum of candidates in the upcoming non-partisan municipal elections. Confirmed thus far from Plano are Judy Drotman, campaign manager for City Council Place 3 candidate Andre Davidson; City Council Place 5 candidate Matt Lagos; City Council Place 5 candidate Jim Duggan, and City Council Place 7 candidate Pat Gallagher.

Candidates in the Frisco elections who have confirmed so far are Mayor Maher Maso, City Council Place 5 candidate Bart Crowder, and Frisco ISD candidated Anne McCausland and Dody Brigadier.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Candlelight vigil tonight for healthcare reform

The Collin County MoveOn Council is holding a “Cost of Delay” candlelight vigil tomorrow night (Tuesday, Dec. 8), from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano, 6200 West Parker Road in Plano (at Midway), to protest the continuing delays in passage of healthcare reform measures.

An e-mail detailing the event included this statement: “We cannot afford to wait.  While the U.S. Senate dithers on passing important Healthcare Reform legislation numerous friends, relatives and neighbors continue to live in fear of financial ruin, because of inadequate healthcare coverage.  We call upon the Senate to finish its work so that the pain being inflicted on North Texans can come to an end.”

The press release also stressed that the vigil is not in any way intended to imply any problems with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital: “TO BE VERY CLEAR: This vigil is being held at the site of one of Plano’s highest regarded healthcare centers. This is to demonstrate that thousands of North Texans are unable to avail themselves of the excellent medical care provided by the caring people who work and perform their duties within this center. It should be in no manner construed that this vigil in any way is a demonstration against or is in any way a criticism of this fine healthcare center.  The council considers this institution to be an excellent example of the finest of healthcare that can be provided in North Texas.”

—  admin

Palin in Plano

tina-fey-as-sarah-palin.s600x600

Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be at Legacy Books on Dallas Parkway in Plano today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. She will be there to sign copies of her book, “Going Rogue.”

Here’s the catch. The event is sold out. Tickets are being scalped on Craigslist for $500 (plus the price of a book to get signed). Pictures with the rock star will cost extra. 1,000 people are expected.

And yes, I know that’s a picture of Tina Fey, not Palin.

—  David Taffet