D.C. rally planned to ‘Disarm Hate’

disarm hate

I received word last night from Sister Lawna Jocqui, of the DFW Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence that organizers have gotten the necessary permits approved and are moving forward with a “Rally in Washington, D.C., to Disarm Hate.”

“So that the Orlando 49 did not die in vain, the LGBT community and its allies will rally in Washington to demand equal rights and sensible gun law reform,” reads the post announcing the event. “Join us.”

The rally is set for Saturday, Aug. 13, beginning at 11 a.m. on the National Mall in Washington.

Stay tuned for details as they become available.

—  Tammye Nash

Beware the Trump rally: DPD warns of traffic congestion around Gilley’s


Donald Trump


Domingo Garcia

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is in Dallas today trying to round up some donations, and he will stage a rally this evening at Gilley’s South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St. (It took Trump at least a week to find a place for his rally, Irving turned him down, as did Grand Prairie.)

There is also a counter-protest planned outside Gilley’s, and Dallas Police are planning ahead to try and avoid as many problems as possible, considering the violence that has become part-and-parcel of Trump rallies and protests. To that end, police are asking businesses in downtown Dallas to help out by sending their employees home early, encouraging everyone to vacate the downtown area by 3 p.m., in anticipation of major traffic delays and for safety reasons.

Police have since issued a statement saying they will begin closing streets around Gilley’s — between the 1000 block and the 1300 block (at Belleview) on Lamar — about 2 p.m. in preparation for the 7 p.m. rally.

Longtime Dallas activist (attorney, former city councilman and former state representative) Domingo Garcia, one of the lead organizers of the counter-protest, said the rally will begin outside Gilley’s at 6 p.m. Organizers are asking that those attending the protest rally wear white shirts to promote peace. And if you want to carry a flag, make sure it is an American flag, not one from Mexico or any other country. Those who bring flags representing any country other than the U.S. will be asked to leave, Garcia told Dallas Observer.

He also said the rally is being staged “to send a message to Donald Trump that his campaign of hatred, bigotry and division is not welcome in the United States or North Texas.”

DPD said in a statement that the department is “committed to protecting every person’s right to free speech and to assemble peaceably.” The statement went on to warn, however, that “there will be no tolerance for individuals who engage in criminal activity or attempt to incite violence or civil disorder. In order to accomplish this, a significant number of police officers, both uniformed and undercover, will be utilized to maintain order.”

—  Tammye Nash

Police seek 2 men in connection with incident at Trump rally

So, this is the latest outrage that took place at a Donald Trump rally on Tuesday, March 29.

Screen shot 2016-03-30 at 3.55.13 PM

Janesville, Wisc., are looking for this man in connection with an incident at the March 20 Trump rally in which a young female protester was sprayed in the face with pepper spray.

The Janesville Police Department was reportedly looking for two men who took part in an altercation with a teenage girl during a shouting match between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Janesville. Video of the incident — you can watch it below — was posted today (Wednesday, March 30), by Fox News Insider.

The video shows a large, loud crowd, in the middle of which several young men and women are trying to restrain a young woman who is shouting at an older man with gray hair and a moustache. The young woman is accusing the older man of having touched her breast, while he is adamantly denying it, claiming the she was the one who touched him. At one point the girl reaches out to slap at someone outside the range of the camera lens, and that’s when she is sprayed in the face with pepper spray.

The person spraying the mace isn’t visible at that moment, but the camera then swings to the left to show a young man in a red shirt and a red cap bearing the words “Make America Great Again” printed in white, walking away and smirking. He stops a few steps later and looks back toward the girl, again smirking.

Immediately after the girl is maced, a man’s voice yells, “Yeah!” Others can be heard cheering and laughing. But one woman is heard to repeat several times, “That’s not good.”

As the girl’s friends lead her away and the camera lingers on the man in the red cap, you can also see an older woman speaking furiously to the gray-haired man — who is laughing — and urging him away from the scene.

Fox News said Janesville Police are looking for both the gray-haired man and the younger man in the red cap. But an advisory issued just before noon, CDT, included photos of only the younger man in the red cap, saying police are “seeking the public’s help in identifying” him in reference to “a possible assault that occurred at the Donald Trump Political Rally in Janesville on March 29.”

—  Tammye Nash

Rally planned Sunday outside DPD headquarters to protest lack of response to Oak Lawn attacks

Light UpDaniel Scott Cates, one of the main organizers for the Nov. 1 Light Up Oak Lawn march down Cedar Springs, announced today (Friday, Nov. 20), that activists are planning another rally to call for an increased police presence in Oak Lawn following a wave of robberies and assaults over the last three months.

The rally will be held at the DPD headquarters, 1400 S. Lamar St., at 7 p.m. Cates said those attending should bring “signs, flags, drums, people, voices.”

“Since Sept. 20, there have now been 15 reported violent assaults on gay men in Oak Lawn,” Cates said in a Facebook post announcing the rally. “Survivors have been beaten with bats, stabbed with box cutters, pistol whipped and pummeled with fists. In several of these attacks, homophobic language has been used by the assailants.”

Despite Dallas Police promises to increase patrols and visibility in the gayborhood, Cates said “such an increase has been spotty and largely invisible.” He also noted that no arrests have been made in connection with the assaults.

In contrast, Cates noted that within two weeks of a weekend-long spate of armed robberies on the Katy Trail, there were “cruisers driving the path, mounted patrols, bicycle units and arrests. Uptown gets visible, swift action for a handful of crimes while the LGBTQIA community lives for months in terror behind 15 violent attacks!?”

Dallas Police released a statement earlier today detailing the department’s plan to increase patrols and police presence, including the formation of a task force. Read about it here.

—  Tammye Nash

Marriage equality rallies planned across TX before high court takes up issue


Several marriage equality rallies will take place in Texas next week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act.

The court will hear arguments March 26 and 27, and events across the country have been planned for the beginning of the week in what’s being called the “United For Marriage: Light the way to Justice” campaign.

Cowtowns’s LGBT community will gather bright and early at the Rainbow Lounge — on March 25 beginning at 6 a.m. — for a rally to celebrate the arguments and Fort Worth state Rep. Lon Burnam’s HB 1300, which calls for marriage equality after the state’s marriage amendment is repealed. The rally is scheduled to last until noon.

Dallas’ GetEQUAL TX rally is at the Legacy of Love monument that night, starting at 7 p.m. And in Denton, a 6 p.m. rally will be at the Denton Courthouse Square, 110 W. Hickory St. in Denton, on Monday.

In Waco on Monday night, a marriage equality forum will take place instead of a rally. Planned by the social action team at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco, it begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature speakers and same-sex couples sharing disparities they face because they are same-sex couples.

Rallies have been planned for Tuesday in Houston at City Hall at 7 p.m. and in Austin at the state Capitol at 7 p.m. And San Antonio LGBT advocates will meet at Milam Park at 7:30 p.m. that night to demonstrate a need for marriage equality.

To view events nationwide, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

Kiss-in seeks domestic partner benefits for U of H

Pucker up!

Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday, while some battle the supermarket crowds for chocolate and champagne and others battle  that soul-sucking feeling that they will be alone forever, students at the University of Houston will be battling for equal benefits for LGBT employees.

“Our LGBT faculty and staff at the University of Houston are not given the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts,” says James Lee, one of the student organizers. “This rally is an issue campaign to let administration know we care about our professors, directors and advisers and we think they all deserve to be treated equally.”

Lee explains that the event is not just for same-sex couples, the organizers want opposite-sex couples to participate to help demonstrate that straight and LGBT relationships are the same.  Got no one to kiss? No problem, says Lee, “We will have rally signs and other goodies you can show support with.”

The smooch-fest kicks off at 12:30 pm in Butler Plaza (in front of the MD Anderson Library).

—  admin

Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established SeansLastWish.org, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

PHOTOS: Response to ‘The Response’ begins

Riki Miller, Zombie McZee and Britney Miranda.

The responses to “The Response” are under way in Houston. First out of the gate was Friday night’s LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally.  Despite temperatures that had barely come down from the triple digits, Houstonians thronged to Tranquility Park in downtown. Beyond commenting on the temperature, the common theme of most of the speakers was that the American Family Association and Gov. Perry’s rally is not representative of Houston and is not welcomed.

Robert Shipman, president of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, said: “I kinda think Rick Perry chose the wrong city!”

He continued “They are the bigots, we are not … we are Houston.”

“I guess we should take comfort in the fact that, except for some of his staffers, [Gov. Perry] couldn’t find enough homegrown bigotry in the state of Texas to put on the event himself,” said Mike Craig, co-chair of Out & Equal Houston. “He had to bus them in from Tupulo, Miss., and Colorado Springs, Colo.” Craig was referring to American Family Association (based in Tupulo) and Focus on the Family (based in Colorado Springs), both co-sponsors of “The Response.”

State Rep.  Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, provided the closing address. He criticized Gov. Perry for using divisive religious rhetoric for political gain. “Being here today I’m proud that we are fighting back against a narrow, theocratic view of the world that we live in and of our country that says that people are not welcomed — that says that people are bad because of who they are. That is not America,” said Coleman. “That is what is dividing our city, our state and our country.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more coverage of the LGBT community’s response to “The Response.” More photos from the LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally below (click to enlarge):

—  admin

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LGBT Activists Hold First Authorized Rally in Minsk


Authorities in Minsk, Belarus approved an LGBT rally in the city for the first time ever. KyivPost reports that authorities directed demonstrators not to use the rainbow flag.

UK Gay News supplies the above photo, and writes:

The rally was seen to have created history in the country where events organised by the gay community up to now have always been banned.

And the result was that there were twice as many journalists on hand to cover the event than those taking part.

“For the first time the only thing that we feared was neither the police nor the homophobe hooligans but the cold,” said Sergey Praded, organiser of the event and co-chair of IDAHO Belarus.

“In the last six months, we have submitted dozens of applications to hold a rally.  We appealed to the court. But it seems that the dialogue that we also started to initiate with the authorities paid off.

“This is a very good first step for all of us and I hope that it will help us collect more participants to future actions.”

In addition to condemning homophobia, activists also called for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

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—  David Taffet