Councilwoman Vonciel Hill again refuses to sign gay Pride letter

Kingston.Philip

Councilman Philip Kingston

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston collected the signatures of the mayor and the rest of the council to congratulate the Dallas Tavern Guild on the 30th anniversary of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, which will be held on Sept. 15.

“I worked very hard to get the right wording to get the maximum participation and am proud of the success it had,” Kingston said.

“This annual event celebrates our shared commitment to equality in Dallas and all of Texas,” the letter reads in part. “Our city is honored to have the Dallas Tavern Guild and its commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and the rights of all people.”

The lone, missing council member is Vonciel Hill, whose district now includes one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods in the city.

Hill is also the lone council member who has refused to ride in the parade, once telling us “there are some acts God doesn’t bless.” Earlier this year, Hill objected to an HIV prevention billboard featuring two gay men, prompting one of the largest LGBT rallies in the history of South Dallas.

After redistricting in 2011, Hill was moved into District 3, which includes Kiestwood and other LGBT Oak Cliff neighborhoods. She was elected in May to her final two-year term.

In addition to Kingston, who collected the signatures, other new council members who signed the letter were Jennifer Staubach Gates, Lee Kleinman, Rick Callahan and Adam Medrano.

The letter will appear in the Official Guide to Dallas Pride 2013, distributed inside copies of Dallas Voice on Aug. 30 and Sept. 13. Read the full letter below.

—  David Taffet

Hudson and Voskuhl named parade Grand Marshals

Dr. Gene Voskuhl and the Rev. Jo Hudson

Dr. Gene Voskuhl and the Rev. Jo Hudson

The Rev. Jo Hudson of Cathedral of Hope and Dr. Gene Voskuhl of AIDS Arms were chosen as Grand Marshals of the 2012 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

Voskuhl just returned from the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. He said that recent studies show that being disenfranchised and stigmatized leads to greater incidents of HIV infection.

That’s why this year’s parade theme, “Pride Links Us Together” is meaningful to him.

“Be proud,” he said. “You’ll be happier and healthier.”

Voskuhl, who moved to Dallas five years ago, became the medical director of AIDS Arms last August. Gilead transferred him to Dallas from Oklahoma City. Before taking the position at AIDS Arms, he was in private practice with Uptown Physicians.

What he likes best about the Dallas LGBT community is how diverse and integrated it is throughout the DFW area. He said the community reaches into all professions and businesses and the variety of LGBT organizations that cover everything from social to health to religious activities.

Voskuhl is proud of the growth AIDS Arms has seen since he came on board a year ago. The agency’s two clinics now see 1,300 people and the goal is 2,500 by 2015.

“We’re looking to grow,” he said. “We’re only using half of our exam space.”

He said Trinity Clinic was expanding its labs and adding new equipment to provide results quicker and even offer services to other local medical offices. In addition, Metro Care has begun providing on-site mental health and substance abuse evaluation and treatment.

—  David Taffet