For the Love of Kettle show at Kettle Art

Gotta love it

This annual fundraiser has become a hot ticket for snagging some great art for cheap. All 9 x 12 pieces are by local artists and each cost $50. Original art at that price, heck, buy a few. The event helps to keep the gallery running and celebrates art on the more edgy and quirky side. Or give the chocolates and roses a break and consider a piece as a unique Valentine’s gift. See? We got your back. Just get there early.

DEETS: Kettle Art, 2714 Elm St. 7 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

LSR Journal: 2 of a kind — but different

Paul Cross and Jim McCoy were single when they each started volunteering for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS; now as a couple, their dedication is renewed

Paul Cross, left, and Jim McCoy

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer

If ever two people exemplified the idea of “different strokes for different folks,” it’s longtime Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS supporters Paul Cross and Jim McCoy.

Each man loves to cycle, especially if he’s with the other. But as for the individual approaches Cross and McCoy take to bike riding — that’s another matter entirely.

Both men have either participated in or donated to the LSRFA since 2001, the year the ride began. In that inaugural ride, when both were still single, Cross served as a pit crew volunteer and McCoy cycled.

By 2003, however, the two bachelors had become life partners and rode together in LSRFA as a couple. Their commitment to each other took top priority after that.

“We had been meaning to get back to it [the ride] over the last three or four years,” says McCoy, a consultant in healthcare IT. “It’s just one of those things we had in common — our [desire to help] the community.”

Shared goals have made for a strong union between the two men. But it’s the differences that have kept their relationship consistently interesting. Take, for example, their divergent cycling styles.

“[After we got together,] people kind of laughed at us: They called us the Tortoise and the Hare,” McCoy says. “When I want to go fast, Paul goes slow. And then when Paul wants to go fast, I want to go slow.”

These differences in style translate into differences in perspective. If McCoy tends to be the one more eager to get from one point to another as quickly as possible, his partner takes special pleasure in smelling the proverbial roses along the way.

“I like to just ride and look around and just watch everything,” says Cross, a banker.

“But then when we get to a hill, I’m the one with the energy,” he adds with a certain smugness.

The behavior these 40-something partners display in the saddle could not be more dissimilar. Yet both men are alike in how they carry exceptionally painful memories of the devastation HIV/AIDS wrought in the gay community.

“One of the things I’ll remember throughout my life is when This Week in Texas came out and there were no obituaries to report,” says McCoy. “That was in the late 90s. For a long time [before that], you had pages and pages of obituaries.”

What they saw in the dangerous decades of the 1980s and ’90s has served as the impetus behind their participation not only in the LSRFA, but in other HIV/AIDS-related causes such as Cheer Dallas and the AIDS Life Walk.

“We’re not ‘going out’ people,” admits Cross.  “But where there’s a fundraiser or event, we’re definitely there.”

The Tortoise and the Hare still haven’t decided how many miles they’ll be doing together in this year’s Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS: Tortoise says 180 and Hare says 150. Regardless of how far they plan to pedal or the approach each will take to reach the finish line, both are united in their belief that they’re cycling for a cause that matters.

Says McCoy, “With the way the economy is, there are a lot of people who need a lot of assistance. Programs are constantly getting cut.”

“Everyone seems to have put [HIV/AIDS] on the back burner like it’s not out there anymore, but it is,” adds Cross. “And we still need to raise awareness.”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Valentine’s Day in Maryland is about more than dinner and roses this year

Equality Maryland’s annual Lobby Day is happening on Monday, February 14th at 5pm in Annapolis.  Show your little love bug how much you care by bringing hir, her or him by the state house for a spot of lobbying for the gender identity anti-discrimination and marriage equality bills.  You can find more details and sign up here.

Equality Maryland recently posted this essay by Sandy Rawls, a transgender activist from Baltimore.  It’s another sober reminder of how immediate the need is for employment and housing protections for transgender people in Maryland.

After beginning my transition, I was pushed out of the trucking trade. While looking for employment in other fields at entry levels of work I found it to be much harder then I imagined too find work and make a livable wage.

I spent a short time at my ex-wife’s house, but ended up living in emergency shelters, but they would often want me to sleep in male quarters.  To spare myself of that mental anguish I began living on the streets.  I would ride the Baltimore light rail during the day to get sleep and stay awake all night to watch out for my safety.  After eight months, I was accepted into a local Baltimore homeless shelter. I was, at times, discriminated against by the staff and residents.

With my future in mind, I said “even if it kills me” one day I will be part of the transgender activist movement to help establish resources in the community to help other transgender people become productive citizens.

Today, I am the director and founder of a transgender organization called Trans-United.  Trans-United provides vital resources and advocates for social justice for the transgender community.  As a part of my work with Trans-United, I have traveled to Annapolis each year to lobby on behalf of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (HB 235).  I have testified in the committee and shared my story with my legislators.

Recently, I participated in Equality Maryland’s “Why Equality Matters Day” on January 31st.  Again, I found myself lobbying my lawmakers to push for support of anti-discrimination protections.  I will also be joining EQMD for their annual lobby day efforts on Monday, February 14th.  I’ll be joined with others and will participate as a fellow speaker at Lawyers Mall at 5:00 PM.

I’ll be there when the bill is heard and I plan to keep fighting to convince our legislators that we need these protections under the law, and now.  Our freedoms and civil rights as transgender people definitely are not free. We have to make our voices heard and be an active part of the solution.  Not only this year as we fight for HB 235, but in future fights to come.  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

GWB Marchers Drop Roses for Clementi

TYLER CLEMENTI VIOLIN X390Marchers stopped halfway across the George Washington Bridge on Saturday and dropped roses to honor Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide by jumping from the bridge last month after his roommate secretly filmed his private encounter with another man. Daily News

—  John Wright