New FWPD liaison officer ‘ready for a new challenge’

Officer Kellie Whitehead tapped to take over as LGBT liaison, says she hopes to work more with youth

Whitehead.Kellie

Kellie Whitehead

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

FORT WORTH — Fort Worth Police Department Officer Kellie Whitehead said this week that she sees her new assignment as the department’s liaison to the LGBT community as an exciting next step in her 12-year career with the department.

“I was ready for a new challenge, for something different, and after talking to [former LGBT Liaison Officer Sara Straten] I was very excited about this new opportunity,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead takes over as LGBT liaison from Straten, who had held the position since it was created two years ago in the wake of the

Rainbow Lounge raid. The liaison officer is part of the FWPD’s Public Information Office, and PIO Supervisor Sgt. Pedro Criado said that Straten had chosen to move to a new position “where she can get back to doing hands-on police work.”

Criado said that Whitehead’s previous assignment as a Neighborhood Police Officer had given her experience that will be invaluable in her new role as LGBT liaison.

“The Neighborhood Police Officer program is about community policing. These officers are assigned to work in a specific designated area and to build relationships with the people of that neighborhood,” Criado explained.

“A patrol officer responds to specific calls and has to clear those calls and move on to the next one. The Neighborhood Police Officer is the one who is there, on call 24-7, to follow up on any problems. They are mediators, friends, problem solvers. This program frees these officers up, gives them flexible schedules, so they can work on issues long-range,” Criado added.

That, Whitehead said, is basically the same mission she has now as liaison officer, only instead of working in a specific geographic neighborhood she will be working specifically with the LGBT community city-wide.

Whitehead said that she will continue the work Straten initiated as LGBT liaison, and that she also hopes to expand the position’s outreach.

“I am going to continue to build the relationships that Sara started, and I hope that maybe I can work a little more with the kids in the community. I know there are kids out there who are having a really tough time, and I want to find ways to help them,” Whitehead said.

She said she also hopes to be able to reach out to non-LGBT youth “who have been raised not to be accepting of people who are different from them” and help bridge that gap in understanding and tolerance.

Whitehead, who grew up in Mineral Wells, said that being a police officer had been her dream since she was a child. She said she studied criminal justice in college, but had to leave school to get a job before she got a degree.

She worked as a private prison for a couple of years and then moved on to a job with a security company. It was while working as a security guard in Fort Worth’s hospital district that she began to meet and form relationships with FWPD officers.

She finally was able to join the FWPD in 1999.

Whitehead said she has been open with her fellow officers and her superiors about her sexual orientation since she first joined the police force, and that she has never faced any discrimination from her coworkers.

But now, in her new position as LGBT liaison, “I’ll be more out than ever! But I am ready for it. I have never been ashamed of who I am.”

Whitehead said that her partner and the rest of her family have been “totally supportive” of her move to the liaison position, and that she believes that kind of support is vital to her success as an officer and as community liaison.

“There’s no way you can do this job without your family backing you up, and everyone in my family has been very supportive and encouraging,” she said. “That’s going to make it even easier for me to do the job and do it well. I just want to do everything I can to make things better for the community.”

Thomas Anable, president of the LGBT community organization Fairness Fort Worth, said he is pleased with the way the police department has handled the transition from Straten to Whitehead, and that he looks forward to working with the new liaison officer.

“I think she is very professional and I think she will do a very good job,” Anable said.

And Sgt. Criado agreed. “When Sara Straten took this position two years ago, she hit the ground running,” he said. “And I am certain that Kellie is going to take that ball and just keep on running with it. I think she is going to be great.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Guest column by Sara Beth Brooks: ‘Discussing Asexuality & Creating Change’

This is an interesting topic; one we have not discussed on the Blend before (that I can recall). I look forward to hearing your comments. — Pam

Discussing Asexuality & Creating Change

By Sara Beth Brooks

When I signed up online to attend last year’s Creating Change conference in Dallas, I was asked to fill in my sexual orientation. I checked “queer,” but that isn’t wholly accurate; Asexuality wasn’t listed as one of the orientations that you could select.

Throughout the 2010 Conference, I found and bonded with several other asexual LGBT organizers. Each of us expressed concern about the lack of discussion about asexuality at the conference, so we went as a group to the feedback session when the conference ended. I stood up and spoke about the fragmentation of the asexual community, and how useful it would be to collect that demographic at registration so that we could connect to each other. Another person got up and talked about how he’s seen the evolution of LGBT language over time to include the transgender community, and now he hopes it will be no different with the asexual community.

The group of us exchanged information and agreed to get together to submit curriculum for next year’s conference. We recruited David Jay, a preeminent voice in the asexual community, to help create and co-present a workshop which was tailored for the LGBT activist audience.

While we were organizing last summer, a letter surfaced on the internet from an asexual youth, Andi (read the full version here):

“From three o’clock that evening to basically ten o’clock at night I was grilled over my involvement with the Asexual and LGBTQAXYZ communities. After about three hours, I confessed I was asexual. At about five hours, I gave them links to all my account. By the end of the night, almost every account I have online had been purged of asexual references…”


What you don’t know (unless you’ve already clicked through) was that prior to hir parents finding out that ze was asexual, Andi was the visionary leading the charge on what would become the most successful asexuality project of last year, Hot Pieces of Ace. Andi, who prefers gender neutral pronouns, goes on: “Ever since that day, the internet connection from my personal computer has been cut off…. I am no longer allowed to see certain friends… Church service, which I used to enjoy, has become a prison sentence of sorts. I am required to sit next to them during services, and they have to witness my daily prayers and bible readings… My mom is always bringing up just how natural sex is, or “trying to make me feel like a girl” by buying me frivolous things that I never wanted… I love God, and I try to love my parents, but it’s hard.”

Andi’s story is not unique; it serves as solemn reminder of the need for support for asexual youth. Partially in response we built a second workshop about creating safe space for youth to talk about asexuality, called “Asex Positive.”

In September, both workshops were submitted for the 2011 conference. My orientation was asked when submitting the workshops and again I picked queer, because asexuality was nowhere to be found. I was (and am) disappointed that the Task Force did not provide asexuality as an option in their drop-down menu choices this year.

If you attended Creating Change, you did not see these workshops on the schedule. Both were rejected. Despite our best efforts there wasn’t anything at Creating Change this year about the asexual community. Asexual organizers have been excited to engage with LGBT organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force but they have been hesitant to invite us to the table.  We don’t really understand why that is.

There is a lot of crossover between our communities (I make a full case for including asexuals in the LGBT community here). Asexuals often experience a feeling of being different in puberty and have a coming out process that is similar to the LGBT one. There are many transgender and gender non-conforming people, including youth, among us. We talk about our relationships outside of the hetero-normative scope. Many of us identify with the queer movement.

It’s time for the queer movement to be discussing asexuality. We hope that organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will include our curriculum at conferences like Creating Change in the future. We’re excited that a workshop by another presenter was accepted to the Western Regional LGBTQIA Conference in Berkeley this spring and we look forward to more opportunities to work with the LGBT community toward our common goals.


Sara Beth Brooks is a student and activist based in Sacramento, California. She helps produce Asexual Awareness Week which happens in the fall. You can reach her via twitter @sarabethbrooks. For more information about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality and Visibility Education Network at www.asexuality.org.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Neil Patrick Harris Did Not Take Any Lesbian Parenting Advice From Sara Gilbert

It seems Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka asked every famous celebrity parent for advice on raising kids, whether it's The Talk's Sara Gilbert or How I Met Your Mother co-star Alyson Hannigan. But the best part of Neil stopping by the CBS daytime talk show — dedicated to kids and parenting — is that the actor being the most famous gay parent (next to Ricky Martin?) was barely part of the conversation.

CONTINUED »


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

All are invited to ‘Mama’s Party’ tonight at Contemporary Theatre

Get your cabaret fix on a school night

Even if it is the beginning of the work week, Monday nights are a Dallas must thanks to Amy Stevenson, pictured, who hosts Mama’s Party. Every Monday, local musicians and actors come together for a night of song and for a mere pittance. Where else could you get an array of major stage talents performing an ample night of music for cheap? Oh, oh, we know the answer!

This week’s show will feature Morgan Swann, Andy Baldwin, Chad Perterson and Drew Kelly.

DEETS: Contemporary Theater of Dallas, 5601 Sears St.. 7 p.m. $5. MamasParty.com or look up on Facebook.

—  Rich Lopez

MUSIC NEWS: Vincent Minor, Maximum Balloon, Shit Robot, How To Dress Well, Tegan & Sara, Mark Ronson with Boy George

VincentminorHEADER

GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

Modern Tonic — a daily email that delivers gay-approved pop culture gems (before they've been co-opted by everyone else) — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.

RoadTODAY’S FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Vincentminoralbum Knitting together a tapestry of post-modern indie-pop with echoes of Tin Pan Alley, openly-gay Vincent Minor is nothing less than major on his eponymous debut. Known for the better part of the last decade in the Los Angeles music scene by his birth name Michael Mangia, the artist’s alter ego affords him a tenacious vehicle to announce his cheeky songwriting style to the world. Tracks like "Late Night Show," "Jack and the Waltz" and "Friday the Thirteenth" swell with Minor’s knack for harmonious orchestral arrangements (and a little help from Fiona Apple’s keyboardist and the brass from the Magnetic Zeroes), but the subtle baritone’s wordsmith gifts are most apparent in the no-frills "Dead Air" and "So F**ked Up." Those unsatisfied with the overproduced and 808-saturated offerings from gay and gay-adjacent artists will find refuge in Minor’s Broadway-ready arms.

Maximumballoon The brains behind much of Brooklyn’s music boom, former TV on the Radio member David Sitek, makes his return to the other side of the microphone with Maximum Balloon. With a list of guest stars who have benefited from Sitek’s new-millennium producing career (minus the disappointingly absent Scarlett Johansson), Maximum Balloon’s self-titled release is a lush cornucopia of grooves cool enough for Williamsburg loft parties but sonically satisfying for Sitek’s diehard fans. The shoegazer electronica of "Absence of Light" (featuring Tunde Adebimpe) reeks of Röyksopp filtered down Flatbush Avenue, while the sedate, haunting "Communion" (with Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O) lifts up and out of this world. If you’ve ever wondered what Groove Armada might sound like in the chill tent at Coachella, wrap a warm set of headphones around your ears cradled by Maximum Balloon for the answer. 

Shitrobot In the post-rave music world, band/seminal-hipster-label DFA has satisfied whatever percentage of hearing remains in those who regularly hugged bass woofers until dawn in the ‘90s. The latest effort from the NYC-based label is Shit Robot, whose album From The Cradle to the Rave might be the most appropriate entry in the dictionary when looking up DFA’s trademark disco punk sound. Sure, there are more cowbells on the disc than can be heard in an Oklahoma pasture, but the minimal beats paired with genre-necessary ADD guitar riffs make for more than a one-note album. "Take 'Em Up" and "Tuff Enuff?" manage to walk the line between dance-floor crescendos and engaging musical compositions, while "I Found Love" is the rarest of drum machine finds: a sentimental love song set to rumbling retro basslines. Who said drum machines have no soul?


Towleroad September 21, 2010 by moderntonic.com

 RoadMUSIC NEWS

 RoadThe release of the lavish re-issues of George Michael's Faith have been pushed to early 2011, presumably in light of the singer's prison stint.

RoadKaty Perry duets with Elmo.

RoadAmy Winehouse took to Twitter to apologize for verbally bitch-slapping Back To Black producer Mark Ronson. After first tweeting that he was "dead to her" over the weekend (for taking what she deemed too much credit for his work on her seminal album), she attemtped to (virtually) kiss and make up by tweeting today "Ronson I love you; that make it better? You know I love you." She then further clarifed everything by adding "It's a jew thingz" regarding the public spat with her fellow tribe member. Oy vey iz mir, Amy.

RoadSpeaking of celeb Twit-astrophes, here's a Twitter Meltdown Hall of Fame.

RoadStream Mark Ronson & The Business INTL's new album Record Collection (out next week) in full.

Belle RoadHear the new single from Belle & Sebastian's forthcoming album, Write About Love, out October 12.
 
RoadR.E.M. have completed recording their as-yet-untitled 15th studio album, due for a Spring 2011 release.

RoadScissor Sisters will open for Lady Gaga on twelve U.S. dates starting February 19 in Atlantic City.

RoadIs Billboard headed for a mainstream makeover like sister publication The Hollywood Reporter?
 
MariahRoadMerry Christmas II You (out November 2), Mariah Carey's follow-up to her massively successful 1994 album Merry Christmas, will include a brand new recording of "All I Want For Christmas Is You," four original songs composed by Mariah, including the new single, "Oh Santa," plus some traditional holiday classics.

RoadMORE NEW RELEASES

Singer-songwriter Paula Cole comes full lasso from her "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?" start for Ithaca, her fifth studio album, featuring songs written entirely on her own. 

Grammy-nominated Jane Monheit returns to her jazz-standards origins with Home, featuring renditions of Rodgers and Hart, Schwartz and Dietz and other jazzy re-imaginings.

Tegan Tegan & Sarah release The Complete Recollection (1999-2010), a comprehensive digital bundle with all six studio albums, a never-before-released live album, Live at the Phoenix 2005, and all thirteen of their music videos (seven of which are commercially available for the first time).

Though it’s easy to become anxious when Barbadian beauties switch up the R&B formula for something more experimental (looking your way, Rihanna), Shontelle might actually pull it off with her edgier second release, No Gravity. Its lead single, "Impossible," hit the Billboard 100 in May, quickly becoming the singer’s most successful and hinting that the words sophomore slump might not apply here.

The word ethereal is employed too often in music reviews, but here, for How To Dress Well’s Love Remains, it fits. Atmospheric slow-cooked beats accompany sleepy synths in standout tracks like "Ready For The World" and "My Body," making for a cinematic offering that could just put Ambien out of business.
 
Maroon5Maroon 5 abandons the synthpop accents it flirted with on It Won’t Be Soon Before Long to return to its funkier roots for Hands All Over. With "Misery" already getting plenty of airplay, expect the infinitely catchier "Stutter" to take over its lead, culminating in what will surely be an autumn dominated by the So-Cal quintet.

Also released: Glee: Season Two — "What I Did For Love" (tracks from tonight's episode); Liza Minnelli — Confessions; Ellie Goulding — An Introduction to Ellie Goulding; Zac Brown Band — You Get What You Give; Selena Gomez and The Scene — A Year Without Rain; John Legend and The Roots — Wake Up!

RoadMUSIC VIDEOS

Starsmith — "Give Me a Break"
U.K. producer-of-the-moment Starsmith arrives with the video for his own track, "Give Me A Break," as much an homage to New York City as it is to stop-motion technology.

Mark Ronson & The Business INTL (ftrg Boy George) — "Somebody To Love Me" (live)
Mark Ronson seems to gravitate to singers with larger-than-life personalities (see Winehouse item above) so no surprise, perhaps, he did this collaboration with Boy George. The performance is from Later…with Jools Holland.

Shit Robot — "Tuff Enuff?"
Shit Robot crowns stop-motion as the official music video medium for electronic music with its offering for "Tuff Enuff?," starring a painfully adorable, never-satisfied yellow-box.

Shakespears Sister — "It's a Trip"
For "It’s a Trip," Shakespears Sister (going strong after a 13-year hiatus) interprets the song title literally, with a futuristic Cleopatra and gender-bending Zoot Suits.







Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

The Appropriate Timing of Sara Gilbert’s Talk Show Debut

Sara Gilbert's new ensemble chat show The Talk will premiere on CBS on Oct. 18, smack in the middle of LGBT History Month. It's lovely, you see, because Gilbert is making history! Of some sort!


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  John Wright