Celebration of Love Gala raises funds for Lesbian Health Initiative

The scooter's way cuter in pink, sorry Liz

The Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston is celebrating Valentine’s Day a little early with their Celebration of Love Gala Saturday, Feb. 11. at the Double Tree Hotel downtown (400 Dallas Street). The 10th annual gala is the 20-year-old organization’s major fundraiser of the year.

This year the gala features comedienne Susanne Westenhoefer, who claims to be the “first openly-gay comedian to appear on television” (yep, she was out before Ellen).  Dorothy Weston, co-founder and CEO of The Rose (a breast cancer prevention and treatment organization) will be honored  for her years of service. In addition the evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and the raffling of a pink Vitacci 50cc Retro Scooter. LHI executive director Liz James is particularly excited about the raffle even if she didn’t quite get her way on the prize. “I wanted it to be a black scooter, as I’m a bit on the butch side,” said James, adding that more “femme” forces in the organization prevailed and a pink scooter was selected instead.

Regardless of the color of the scooter, the Celebration of Love Gala promises to be a fun filled night, not just for sapphic romantics, but for anyone looking for a valentine’s date night that supports a good cause. Tickets for the black tie affair start at $100 and can be purchased at lhihouston.org. Doors open at 6 pm.

—  admin

Araguz booking raises questions about Harris County jail’s treatment of transgender inmates

Judge Vanessa Valasquez

Judge Vanessa Valasquez

According to the Houston Chronicle, Nikki Araguz has been booked into the Harris County Jain after arriving 40 minutes late for a scheduled court appearance on Friday. The court date was to allow Araguz to plead guilty to charges that she stole a watch from an acquaintance last year. Under the proposed plea bargain Araguz would have paid $2,600 in restitution and served 15 days in county jail. State District Judge Vanessa Velasquez, a Republican first appointed to the bench by Gov. Rick Perry, responded to Araguz’ apologies for her tardiness with “It’s too late for sorry,” ordering bailiffs to escort her to a hold cell next to the courtroom.

Araguz is the widow of firefighter Capt. Thomas Araguz who died in the line of duty last year. Capt. Araguz’s ex-wife and mother have sued to claim the portion of his survivor’s benefits reserved for the spouses of slain firefighters, claiming that since Nikki Araguz was identified as male at birth the marriage was invalid under Texas’ laws prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage. Mrs. Araguz’s birth certificate identifies her as female, as does her state issued identification.

Araguz’s booking has raised questions about the Harris County’s treatment of transgender detainees. The Sheriff Department’s Public Information Inquiry System listed Araguz using her male birth name on Friday. They have since removed the name from the site’s searchable database but have retained the record, listing it under the department’s “special person number” (SPN) filing system. The SPN record includes Araguz’s birth name. The Sheriff’s office has not returned calls from Houstini asking why the department is not using Araguz’s legal name and if this is common practice.

According to a friend who has visited Araguz at the jail her identity bracelet correctly identifies her gender as “F” – but reflects Araguz’s birth name, not her legal name. Araguz is segregated from the general jail population, but can receive visitors during regular visiting hours.

Araguz will remain in the Harris County Jail until Jan 25 when she is scheduled to appear again before Judge Velasquez.

—  admin

PHOTOS: John Grissom captures AWOL title

John Grissom, shown above, took home the title of AWOL Leatherman 2012 on Saturday night during AWOL III, Third Strike (A Weekend of Leather) at the Crowne Plaza Dallas.

The AWOL competition feeds Mr. Texas Leather.

The Leather Knights, who put on AWOL, also announced the dates for next year’s event, “AWOL IV – FLEET WEEK,” which will run Oct. 12 through 14, 2012.

This year’s AWOL benefited the SSC Fund, a nonprofit that raises funds to provide hearing aids and sign interpreters for hearing-impaired and/or deaf individuals.

For a slideshow of photos from Saturday’s AWOL Leatherman contest, go here.

—  John Wright

HRC’s Disco Fruit Bowl at 300 in Addison

Strike it up

Bring out your bell bottoms and flared collars for this year’s Fruit Bowl as the Human Righs Campaign goes disco. The annual event raises funds for the HRC, but really, it puts our Wii talents to the test. But if you’re gonna dress up disco, reconsider those platforms for the slick lanes.

DEETS: 300 Dallas, 3805 Beltline Road, Addison. Noon and 3 p.m. Individuals $25–$30, teams $100–$160. HRC.org/FruitBowl.

—  Rich Lopez

Pink Raises Her Glass To The ‘Dirty Little Freaks,’ Including You Gays

We knew the music video for Pink's "Raise Your Glass" would feature same-sex couples. What I didn't know is that Katy Perry's "Firework" would beat her to the self empowering trend (see: Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful"), where society's cast offs (the fats! the gays! the nerds!) are told to celebrate themselves: "So raise your glass if you are wrong / In all the right ways / All my underdogs." Messages of empowerment tied to catchy hooks? I'm in! Though with her line about "dirty little freaks," me thinks she doth Lady Gaga "little monsters" too much.

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Queerty

—  admin

Ann does what Ann does; Jeremy opens mouth wide, raises fists, and lets out a big — yawn.

Saturday night at GOProud’s “HomoCon” fundraiser in NYC, Ann Coulter reportedly (and predictably) said this nugget of whatever-ness to a room full of gay people:

Marriage “is not a civil right – you’re not black,” Coulter said to nervous laughter. She went on to note that gays are among the wealthiest demographic groups in the country.

“Blacks must be looking at the gays saying, ‘Why can’t we be oppressed like that?’”

*MORE: They’re gay, conservative and proud [Politico]

But despite how thoroughly tiresome the act seems like it’d be for the performer at this point, Ms. C apparently didn’t limit her bizarre need to jib and jab her way through any and every speech at just the above marriage comments. Journalist Megan Carpentier tweeted these other charming takeaways from her vantage point on site:

Coulter: the gays “ought to start being antiabortion because “once they find the gay gene, guess who’s getting aborted”



Coulter now on about pre-marital sex, “fisting in schools” and liberals who “aren’t really gay they just hate dad” #homocon



Ann Coulter, “I happen to be religious.” She then parrots the pro-Prop 8 arguments that failed at trial. #homocon

@megancapentier [Twitter]

6A00D8341C503453Ef0133F2E32117970B-1Offensive quips passed off as jokes? Shock value? An odd need to divide rather than unite? Uh huh. So basically it sounds like GOProud got the exact Ann Coulter that they sought: One who as a pundit makes a good agitator/performance artist, and who as a gay activist makes a good, uhm — reason to stay home and watch this week’s DVRed “Modern Family” episode instead?

But hey, such is GOProud’s organizational right, making bookings like these. All going up against the reality of GOProud’s political right: A movement that still uses words like “traditional marriage” and still votes in a unanimous senatorial block against DADT repeal.




Good As You

—  John Wright