Dallas County Commission proclaims June Pride Month

Dallas County Pride

Members of the LGBT Community (and ally Judge Ken Molberg) gather in the lobby outside the Dallas County Commissioners Court to celebrate Pride Month in Dallas County (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

County Commissioner Mike Cantrell has made it a routine to skip the Dallas County Commission’s proclamation of June as LGBT Pride Month. But the court continues to issue the proclamation. And today (Tuesday, June 21), in addition to issuing the proclamation, the commissioners spent time remembering the victims of the Orlando massacre and the one year anniversary of the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. (Cantrell couldn’t be bothered with that either.)

County Judge Clay Jenkins noted this was the first meeting of the commissioners since the Orlando shooting. He called for a moment of silence for those who died in the attacks.

But Commissioner Theresa Daniel, who presented the Pride Month proclamation, was clearly tired of moments of silence that get nothing done: “Instead of a moment of silence, let’s have a moment of action,” Daniel said. “At this table, we have a responsibility for public safety.”

She said when someone comes to a county facility for a flu shot, to serve jury duty, to pay taxes or interact with the county for any other reason, citizens have an expectation of safety. The best way to achieve that is to create an environment where all are welcome.

“Diversity in our society is our strength,” she said.

Commissioner Elba Garcia expressed horror that last night (June 20) the Senate voted to allow people on the terrorist watch list to buy assault weapons.

Commissioner John Wiley Price commented on Mother Emanuel and the history of bombings against the black community.

In her proclamation, Daniel noted the Stonewall riots and the one-year anniversary of marriage equality. She called Dallas County a beacon of light, where same-sex couples are welcomed. Harassment and job discrimination are still problems, Daniel’s proclamation points out, and must be ended.

Once the proclamation passed unanimously (minus the absent Cantrell), Lambda Legal’s Omar Narvaez spoke for the group of LGBT community members and allies who attended the meeting. He talked about the gut-wrenching week the community has endured since the Orlando massacre, but thanked the commission for being allies.

—  David Taffet

City of Dallas celebrates Pride; Cuban donates to DPD


The DFW Sisters received an award for community service at Pride at City Hall

Mayor Mike Rawlings read a proclamation at noon today (Wednesday, June 15) declaring June to be LGBT Pride Month in Dallas. He also announced that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has pledged $1 million toward Oak Lawn safety.

The proclamation recognizes the strides that have been made in the LGBT community, mentioning the Lawrence v. Texas decision that declared the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in 2003, and the marriage equality ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. But it also acknowledged that more work needs to be done in light of the June 12 Orlando massacre. Jalinzski Brown from United Black Ellument accepted the proclamation on behalf of the community.

“This was supposed to be an up celebration,” Rawlings said before describing how the Orlando massacre affected him personally, calling Orlando a neighbor and saying he wakes up in fear something similar could happen here.

“We’ve got to do better,” he said.

Rawlings announced that Cuban called him on Sunday and pledged $1 million that will be used toward overtime pay for police officers. That will pay for about 16,000 hours of overtime pay that DPD will devote to counter-terrorism efforts in Oak Lawn. He said Cuban asked him to relay the message that he’s proud to help.

Cuban didn’t attend the City Hall event because he is in Los Angeles filming Shark Tank.

The Pride at City Hall event was planned several months ago by the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force. Councilman Adam Medrano, who heads the task force, recognized a number of people for their contributions to the city.

Omar Narvaez, Sr. Cpl. Brittani Pilcik and Jesse Vallejo read the names of the Orlando massacre victims.

The Task Force awarded Special Recognition to Dallas Black Pride for its June Pride event that takes place this weekend. Kirk Myers of Abounding Prosperity accepted the award from Councilwoman Tiffanni Young.

The Ally Award went to the city council and mayor. All were in attendance to accept the recognition for voting 15-0 to clarify wording in city ordinances.

The Community Award went to the DFW Sisters. Medrano mentioned their work to distribute whistles throughout the community as a way of calling for help if attacked or in a dangerous situation. The group works diligently to raise money to distribute through the community whenever it’s needed.

The Leadership Award went to Take Back Oak Lawn. Burke Burnett and Michael Dominguez, two of the founders of the group, also created SOS, the survivors support group. John Anderson has been reporting street lights that are out. Alexandre’s owner Lee Daugherty has been at the forefront of boosting security at the bars. Daniel Cates organized the rally and march for Orlando this weekend and other rallies in support of attack survivors. Medrano called him the group’s loudmouth. Organizer Cannon Brown and Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell were also recognized for their work with Take Back Oak Lawn.

—  David Taffet

U.S. Navy celebrates Pride Month


Members of the U.S. Navy celebrate Pride Month (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Navy joins the nation in recognizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month during the month of June.

Established by Presidential Proclamation in 2000, LGBT Pride Month is held annually and recognizes the importance of diversity within our society as well as the many achievements of LGBT individuals. This year’s theme is celebration, and calls Americans to eliminate prejudice and celebrate our diversity.

“Americans have always worked to fulfill that exceptional promise made at our founding,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “We have continually broken down artificial barriers to equal opportunity … Our military forces have followed that same history and made themselves stronger and better and more effective because of it.”

This June, the Navy recognizes LGBT service members and civilians for their dedicated service to our country.

“Diversity is a source of strength for the Navy, and is [a] key component to maintaining our highest state of readiness,” said a Navy spokesperson. “Diversity encompasses more than race and gender — we seek to include diversity of thought, background, language, culture and skills as well. Our force comes from a diverse populous, and we are simply better at what we do when we are more diverse. We want individuals to serve who are right for the job regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and creed. Our goal is to ensure that the mission is carried out by the best-qualified and the most capable service members.”

For service members, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011 allowed gays, lesbians and bisexuals to serve openly in the United States Armed Forces.

President Barack Obama issued a Pride Month declaration earlier this week.

—  David Taffet

Obama issues LGBT Pride Month declaration


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 31, 2016


– – – – – – –



President Barack ObamaSince our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.

LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair


treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.

There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.


# # #

—  David Taffet

Petition urges Wichita Falls to declare June Pride Month

Wichita Falls

The (man-made) Wichita Falls

A change.org petition urges the Wichita Falls City Council to declare June Pride Diversity month.

And diversity means everyone. Here are the points the petition makes:

  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all faiths who offered prayers for rain in the midst of drought.
  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all political persuasions who seek to better our city, county, state, and country.
  • Wichita Falls is home to families of all kinds – two-parent households, single-parent households, gay and straight and transgender, extended family supporting, young and not-so-young – bringing a strong and educated generation of leaders to the forefront of world leadership.
  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who support the success of our economy and who work hard to better our community.

The next city council meeting is June 14. At the time of this writing, there were less than 100 signatures. If the number of signatures grows, we’ll see if the council responds to the petitioners.


—  David Taffet

Southwest Airlines brings in Jason Collins for Pride Month event

Collins at Southwest

Jason Collins

Former NBA player Jason Collins is headlining Southwest Airlines’ LGBT Pride Month Celebration today (Wednesday, June 24), at the airline’s Dallas Love Field headquarters.

Collins will will “share his personal journey as an openly gay player in the NBA,” according to a statement released this week by Southwest. The statement noted that the airline’s 2015 Pride event focuses on “Pride in Your Authentic Self,” and will include discussion on being an effective ally for the LGBT community. The event is open to employees of Southwest Airlines and Accenture.

Ellen Torbert, Southwest Airlines’ vice president of diversity and inclusion, said the airline is “proud of our commitment to the communities we serve. We have been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and are pleased to champion their work to promote inclusive environments, and we are proud of the relationships we have with our local, regional and national community partners. These nonprofit organizations work hard to make a positive difference in the LGBT community.”

Southwest Airlines, now in its 44th year, has more than 47,000 employees and

—  Tammye Nash

Something special in the air: American Airlines celebrates Pride

American Airlines logo

On its Facebook page, American Airlines posted this Pride Month logo and wrote, “Proud to support the LGBT community and its allies.”

Equality. Doing what they do best.

—  David Taffet

The New Normal: Picking a fresh gay summer vacation spot

A few weeks ago, we listed a selection of places to travel this summer for getting your circuit party groove on. Well, consider this a companion piece to that one — and one that takes you off the beaten path.

You heard right. Skip Palm Springs. Forget Fire Island. Put P’town on hold. This year, you’re headed to a new LGBT-friendly destination for an unexpected getaway with all the perks to which you’re privy (though, because it’s summer after all, each is conveniently on the water). Time to get packin’.

Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico. Like playing the odds? They’re in your favor at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, a stunning island property nestled in the middle of a bustling metropolitan city. From your home base in the heart of the trendy Condado neighborhood filled with shopping, international cuisine and nightlife, embark on adventures like ATV, horseback riding and zip lining at Haciendo Campo Rico by day, then let loose at night in Old San Juan at La Factoria. Santurce and La Placita of Santurce, the arts and culture center, is just a short taxi ride away, as is the El Yunque Rainforest. Seems like a lot to see and do, but there’ll be plenty of lazy beach time with your boo, too.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten. Although the Caribbean is breathtaking in landscape, some islands have ugly views toward the LGBT community (we’re looking at you, Jamaica!). St. Maarten, however, takes pride in its LGBT community, and several resorts, including Sonesta Ocean Point and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa are now registered with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), the leading global resource in LGBT tourism. Both locations offer same-sex wedding ceremonies — if you want to tie the knot in flip-flops – with a Gay Wedding Institute-certified in-house wedding coordinator. Spend your first few hours as a legally bound couple canoodling in a private gazebo or partying down at an unforgettable reception at Ocean Point’s Azul Rooftop Bar.

St. Pete Beach, Fla. Not to be outdone by some of the flashier Florida cities, sunny St. Pete Beach allows for a different kind of vacay — one void of thumping techno music and throwback boardwalk body builders. The Spanish-influenced Hotel Zamora features a destination restaurant and rooftop lounge serving a locally sourced menu of creative tapas entrees; a marina; fresh-water pool; fitness center; and access to white, sandy beaches. Zamora also will offer a Beachside Pride package this summer in celebration of St. Pete Pride, June 26 to 28.

Norfolk, Va. boat Pride!

Norfolk, Va. Step out of the box this summer — and into a boat! — during the country’s only Pride boat parade, in Norfolk, Va. Part of PrideFest, June 26 and 27, the celebration by sea is open to all maritimers with access to a vessel. The Norfolk Waterside Marriott offers a PrideFest Hotel Package for the weekend, which includes a buffet breakfast for two guests daily, a $25 food and beverage credit per night at Shula’s 347, and self-parking. After you drop your bag, head out into Hampton Roads for waterfront activities, a thriving dining scene, and unique arts and culture.

— Mikey Rox

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A presidential proclamation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 29, 2015
– – – – – – –
From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and enshrined equal protections into our Constitution. Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society. But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.
Across our Nation, tremendous progress has been won by determined individuals who stood up, spoke out, and shared their stories. Earlier this year, because of my landmark Executive Order on LGBT workplace discrimination, protections for Federal contractors went into effect, guarding against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Federal Government is now leading by example, ensuring that our employees and contractors are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love. And I will keep calling on the Congress to pass legislation so that all Americans are covered by these protections, no matter where they work.
In communities throughout the country, barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans have been torn down, but too many individuals continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment. My Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors because the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it can cause substantial harm. We understand the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities — especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals — and are taking steps to address them. And we recognize that families come in many shapes and sizes. Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, family acceptance is an important protective factor against suicide and harm for LGBTQ youth, and mental health experts have created resources to support family communication and involvement.
For countless young people, it is not enough to simply say it gets better; we must take action too. We continue to address bullying and harassment in our classrooms, ensuring every student has a nurturing environment in which to learn and grow. Across the Federal Government, we are working every day to unlock the opportunities all LGBT individuals deserve and the resources and care they need. Too many LGBTQ youth face homelessness and too many older individuals struggle to find welcoming and affordable housing; that is why my Administration is striving to ensure they have equal access to safe and supportive housing throughout life. We are updating our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to better address the disproportionate burden HIV has on communities of gay and bisexual men and transgender women. We continue to extend family and spousal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. And because we know LGBT rights are human rights, we are championing protections and support for LGBT persons around the world.
All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2015 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

—  David Taffet

Dallas kicks off Pride Month at City Hall

Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, left, holds the Pride proclamation with LGBT Task Force members Pam Gerber and Omar Narvaez. (David Taffet/DallasVoice)

Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, left, holds the Pride proclamation with LGBT Task Force members Pam Gerber and Omar Narvaez. (David Taffet/DallasVoice)

Dallas officials and LGBT leaders gathered in the Flag Room at City Hall on Wednesday to declare June LGBT Pride Month in the city and celebrate the first of many related events this month.

Pam Gerber, member of Councilwoman Delia Jasso’s LGBT Task Force, spoke briefly about the history of Dallas city Pride events. Two years ago was the first time the city held a reception marking Pride Month, followed by last year’s series of events. More events are planned this month to continue to educate and celebrate the city’s LGBT community.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Task Force and Delia Jasso, we now have a very high profile June Pride month,” Gerber said. “It certainly has become a big thing that we’re very, very proud of.”

Jasso was not among the roughly 40 people who attended, but several council members did, including Mayor ProTem Pauline Medrano, Angela Hunt, Ann Margolin, Scott Griggs, Monica Alonzo, Sheffie Kadane, Linda Koop and Councilman-elect Adam Medrano. Gay former Councilman John Loza and District 14 candidate Philip Kingston were also in attendance. Mayor Mike Rawlings was out of town and did not record a video message like last year.

—  Dallasvoice