The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

WATCH: ‘Fist Me This Christmas’

This has been up on YouTube for several years and received more than half a million views. But we’ve never seen it before, so we thought maybe you hadn’t either. And even if you have, sometimes we all need a quick reminder about what’s really important around the holidays. Merry Fist-mas!

—  John Wright

‘Gay Boy’ makes D Magazine’s ‘Best in Music’

I was glad to see someone took notice of Farah’s dreamy single “Gay Boy.” I hardly expected it to be the peeps at D magazine, but since it won’t be on my list, props to Christopher Mosley for giving it attention.

The song, which came out back in March, was annoying as hell in the beginning for me, but then her lyrics, or talking rather, grew increasingly clever. How many girls did/do we know like this? All in all, it’s a flash of brilliance with lyrics like How could I dance in these heels?/How could I not?

Thanks for the reminder, Mosley.

LISTEN: “Gay Boy” (or if you have trouble, just go here)

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Why last night’s DISD victory shouldn’t lead to complacency on anti-gay bullying

On the heels of last night’s approval of an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policy by the Dallas school district, comes this sobering reminder that the LGBT community’s work has just begun.

For one thing, these policies don’t mean squat without training and enforcement. And for another, only a fraction of students even in North Texas attend DISD schools.

Fox 4 reports on one North Texas mom who says the Keller ISD is failing to protect her son from anti-gay bullying:

The boy’s mother said he has been roughed up more than half a dozen times at school. He’s been punched, pushed and had his head slammed into a locker. FOX 4 has agreed not to identify her to protect the boy’s identity.

“I don’t want him to be physically assaulted anymore. I want him to get an education, that’s all,” the boy’s mother said.

The woman said her son is depressed and suicidal because of bullies.

“They say to him you’re gay, you’re a faggot or you’re retarded,” she said. “A boy told him you need to go get a gun and shoot yourself.”

—  John Wright

Maj. Mike Almy’s Helpful Reminder for John McCain That DADT Does Hunt For Homosexuals

Yesterday John McCain lied to LGBT reporters when he insisted the military does not actively seek out gay soldiers to discharge them. Maj. Mike Almy, who was kicked out of the military after superiors learned he is gay by searching emails he did not volunteer to them, and who testified in front of McCain and told him exactly how he was targeted under DADT, went on the tube last night to call out the jerk.

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright

Letters • 09.17.10

A new kind of marriage protest

We need to have a massive protest — citywide, statewide, nationwide — a protest that isn’t an in-your-face protest, but a reminder of a right that isn’t ours. We could stand out in the streets yelling; we could pass out pamphlets; we could have a sit-in at some government office.

But I think it is time for a new idea, and changing of the tables. We need to take the bar crawl and make it a protest. We’ll do “The Gay Bachelorette Party-Bar-Crawl for Gay Marriage Protest.” And we will do it in straight bars around the country. Here is the plan:

Get a group of seven to 10 people of the same sex together and have a bachelorette party. Choose a “bride-to-not-be” whose wedding we can’t celebrate because we can’t get married.

Then go out bar hopping, just like bachelorettes do. But instead of going to a gay bar, or a drag show, go to only straight bars.

Play the same silly games they play. Scream as loud as they do. Dress in stupid ways like they do. If you want to wear a dress, please do. But try not to make it a drag outfit. (Unless you are getting together drag queens in your group and all of you are in total drag.) Have signs or shirts that proclaim “Free Gay Marriage.” You can think of other slogans as appropriate for your area. Keep it fun — and pleasant.

You don’t have to talk to anyone or debate anyone. Just show up, have fun, let people see you and move on. If the bride wants to cry because he/she can’t get married, that can be fun, too.

Keep this protest light, fun and easy on the heteros. We want to remind them that gay marriage should be allowed, and that we want to celebrate our love, too.

The date for this will be: Oct. 23. E-mail this to all your friends and let’s get this protest going. Sign up for the event on Facebook under “The Gay Bachelorette Party-Bar-Crawl for Gay Marriage Protest.”

Marshall Wayne Lee
Portland, Ore.

Finding an accepting place to heal

Statistics show that approximately 30 percent of homosexual men and women in the United States are addicted to drugs or alcohol (Keogh 2009).

This can be linked back to the tremendous stigmas LGBTQ people face in our society; often the LGBTQ community will turn to alcohol, drugs, sex or other compulsive behaviors in order to cope with the shame they feel as a result of this stigmatization.

Members of the LGBT community already face a number of challenges in their daily lives. When addiction becomes a part of that, life can become that much more complicated.

Treatment facilities, such as Santé Center for Healing, which work with the LGBTQ community, are important because they provide a safe place to heal where gender and sexual identity are not an issue and the individual can focus more of their time on the recovery from their addiction.

In cases where there is a lack of understanding in the family, many are left on their own to deal with their confusion about their sexuality. The programs at Santé can help them come to terms with their sexual identity as well as heal from their addiction. The owner of Santé and several of its staff members are gay, which gives them a greater understanding of what this community faces daily.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. This month is special because it reiterates one of the fundamental philosophies of Santé — that treatment works and that recovery is within reach for everyone. It is not always easy or fun, but it is guaranteed to lead to a better quality of life, not just for the individual involved, but for everyone who they love and who love them.

If you or someone you know is struggling we encourage you to call our intake department at 800-258-4250 and ask for help.

George Straw, owner
Santé Center for Healing

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Another reminder that same-sex couples aren’t equal: Social Security benefits

Steve Vernon at MoneyWatch.com took a look at retirement planning for gay and lesbian couples and provides some financial advice. And, it also provide an example of how same-sex couples aren’t equal:

Unfortunately, Social Security does not recognize gay marriage (see footnote 1), as was verified by a phone representative at Social Security who talked with my research associate. With a gay couple, the Social Security income that your household receives is the sum of each of your Social Security benefits, based on your own earnings record. When one of you dies, that person’s Social Security income stops. This is different from married straight couples, for whom survivors’ benefits are paid to the spouse.

Here’s that footnote 1:

Under Federal law an individual whose claim for benefits is based on a State recognized same-sex marriage or having the same status as spouse for State inheritance purposes cannot meet the statutory gender-based definition of widow or widower of the worker, including one who is divorced. Therefore, for all benefit purposes, the Social Security Administration does not recognize such individual as the widow or widower of the deceased worker.

That’s thanks to Section 3 of DOMA.

Remember, a federal court judge found section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. The decision has been stayed pending appeal. We’ll know by October 18 if the Obama administration intends to appeal the decision. It’s widely expected that they will. Until DOMA is overturned by the courts or Congress repeals it, we’re not equal.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Letters and comments

Candidates owe voters a debate

Texans will decide who will lead the state for the next four years in the Nov. 2 General Election. To cast an informed ballot, voters must learn the views of those vying for office and are ill-served when candidates are unwilling to debate or to participate in processes the public relies on for information about candidates and issues.

The League of Women Voters of Texas calls on all candidates, in races from governor on down the ballot, to be available to the public and to the media, without imposing arbitrary conditions, so that Texans can cast an informed ballot in this election.

According to LWV-Texas President Karen Nicholson, “Voters are turned off and don’t vote when those running for office aren’t available, and voter turnout in recent Texas elections has been disappointing. Texas was 46th among the states in turnout of voter eligible population in the 2008 election. We must do better, and candidates who make themselves available to voters are crucial to improving voter turnout.”

The League of Women Voters has been agitating and educating for active, informed public participation in government for all of its 90 years. There is no more important form of public participation than voting, which must be encouraged, not suppressed.

From The League of Women Voters of Texas


‘To shop or not to shop at Target?’ (DallasVoice.com, 8/27/10)

Boycotting is a tough thing to do. I haven’t been to a Cinemark theater since 2008 when Alan Stock donated $10,000 to Yes on 8, and the company refused to make any real amends besides a token meeting with CCGLA, from which we’ve heard nothing since. But how many people went to see the movie “Milk” elsewhere, but have quietly returned to Cinemark?

If you decide to boycott, and that is totally up to you, it’s important to let management know that 1) you are indeed boycotting, and 2) the specific reasons for the boycott. Also, it helps to send a reminder from time to time, like a note or Christmas card telling them you’re still boycotting their store.

Simply griping on blogs for a week or a month isn’t enough. If folks decide that boycotting in the way to go, they must stay dedicated to their stance until the company proves otherwise. PR firms tell companies just to bide their time and issues like these will blow over. Without continuing pressure from the community, they do and will.

If companies are hurt enough in the almighty wallet, sooner or later they’ll think twice about donating to anti-gay causes and candidates.

Justin Nichols


‘St. Vincent’s dean defends school’ (DallasVoice.com, 8/27/10)

While you and the other parents are certainly entitled to your personal opinion, please tell me where in the Bible Jesus Christ says that a faithful, lifelong relationship can only be between a husband and wife.

The closest reference I can find is, “I give you a new commandment. Love one another,” which obviously refers back to the woefully misquoted and mistranslated strictures from Leviticus, having to do with Jewish and non-Jewish behaviors and mores.

Meanwhile, please don’t misuse Jesus to justify homophobia. That would be called, “bearing false witness,” not to mention “taking the name of God in vain.”

I thought Christian values were about inclusion, not exclusion. It’s also interesting to note that per Wikipedia, St. Vincent “was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity.”

The sexual part is really none of your business, or that of the other parents, now is it?

The school should be teaching tolerance and acceptance, not promoting misinformation. The little girl and her parents should be welcomed with open arms. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Thank you for an opportunity to respond. God bless us everyone!

Maurice

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens