Out singer Tom Goss performs at Opening Bell tonight

Warm and fuzzy

Everything about Around is feel-good, maybe overly sentimental, but it does offer a refreshing perspective.  Goss dissolves the idea that uplifting songs equate to Christian music. Instead, he brings a level of cheer without being annoying. And with such a blatant overtone of romance, he resonates with gay listeners who might also want to celebrate their love.

“As an artist, I want my music to connect with everyone,” he says. “I don’t specify ‘he’ or ‘she’ in my lyrics, because I want to focus on everybody. I like the things people share instead of divide. At the same time, I can bring a kind of normalcy to gay relationships.”

Read the entire article here.

DEETS: With Brant Croucher. Opening Bell Coffee, 1409 S. Lamar St. May 12 at 8 p.m. $5. OpeningBellCoffee.com

—  Rich Lopez

HRC to Share Harvey Milk Storefront

HRC Milk x390 (pick up) I Advocate.comThe Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday the group will share Harvey
Milk’s old Castro Camera storefront in San Francisco with a crisis
hotline run by the Trevor Project.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Watch: John McCain and Mark Kirk Share Evil Laugh Over Death of Omnibus Spending Bill — ‘Did We Just Win?’


Political theater at its most macabre, from Thursday night.


The death of the omnibus bill was what led Reid to file cloture on the DREAM Act and DADT repeal.

There are some reports emerging that McCain and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) are so angry about the DREAM and DADT votes that they're threatening to push back on the START treaty ratification. And some that they're not.

Stay tuned…

Towleroad News #gay

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Does NOM share blame for gay teen suicides?

NOTE FROM JOHN: Please welcome Gabriel Arana, a new contributor to AMERICAblog and AMERICAblog Gay. Gabriel is the assistant web editor at The American Prospect and writes about gay-rights issues, immigration, education, and media culture. His pieces have appeared in The NationSlate, The Advocate, the Daily Beast, and other publications. He is a graduate of Yale University and a native of Nogales, Arizona.

On the heels of yet another gay suicide, NOM President Maggie Gallagher has an op-ed in the New York Post absolving herself of responsibility.

Evan Wolfson, one of the leading architects of the gay marriage movement, calls me out personally: “National Organization for Marriage Chairman Maggie Gallagher is among those who, with reckless disregard, attacks LGBT youth.”

Former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides told the AP these suicides demonstrate why gays should be allowed to marry: “When you speak out for full equality now, as opposed to partial equality, or incremental equality, you send a message to everybody, including the bullies, that everyone is equal.”

Apparently, either we all agree that gay marriage is good or gay children will die.

Gallagher’s formulation of the argument makes it sound ridiculous. Of course she and her ilk are not directly responsible for the spate of gay suicides, but most gay-rights folk aren’t arguing that — it’s a straw man. The real charge is that anti-gay rhetoric in politics has a trickle-down effect that reinforces the type of anti-gay attitudes that make life tough for gay teens. The connection between the work of the National Organization for Marriage and the culture of homophobia that prevails in schools is much less direct, but it exists.

Opponents of marriage equality — or of gays serving in the military, for that matter — like to pretend that their “principled” opposition to gay rights is not borne of the sort of prejudice that makes bullies beat up on gay kids. To that point, they’ll condemn discrimination against gays and lesbians, and indeed if you’ve ever heard Gallagher speak, she seems like a pretty reasonable person, even nice. But this is what makes anti-gay activists like her so pernicious: They lend prejudice an air of respectability.

First, it is difficult to deny that the people voting for gay-marriage bans, or who oppose gays in the military, aren’t motivated by prejudice. Just look at the comments section of any news piece about a gay-rights issue; armed with anonymity, people are more than willing to say that they don’t want gay marriage because gays are gross, etc. And the leaders of the anti-marriage crowd rely on this sort of bigotry as a platform. As a federal judge in California found this summer, over and over the proponents of Prop. 8 appealed to people’s fear of, and disgust with, gay people, warning that children weren’t safe and that the states would fall into the hands of Satan were Adam and Steve to get married. On TV, gay-rights opponents like Gallagher offer more reasoned arguments against gay marriage — e.g., we don’t know what the consequences will be, so we should proceed with caution — but when it comes to the heat of a campaign, you see what the anti-marriage movement is really about.

But I’d go a step further. Gallagher and her ilk aren’t just using bigotry to their advantage; they are motivated by it as well. This is of course harder to prove, but social psychology shows that people form attitudes before they come up with rationalizations for them; in other words, you dislike gay people before you come up with a reason for opposing gay marriage. Actually, it’s pretty easy to test yourself. Psychologists use a standard, timed word-association test called the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure unconscious attitudes toward various minority groups. Harvard has put up a demonstration site where you can test yourself here. I’d bet anything that if they didn’t coach themselves, the IAT would show that all the top people at NOM have strong negative feelings about gay people.

The broader point is that opposition to marriage equality is deeply rooted in prejudice. This prejudice manifests itself in various ways — in bullying, hateful online comments, and yes, in political opposition to gay rights. While Gallagher is not barging into schools bullying gay kids, she is reinforcing the type of prejudice that leads others to do so.

But the most bizarre part of her op-ed is where she seems to deny that there is any connection between bullying and teen suicide at all:

These kinds of negative outcomes are consistent with the idea that anti-gay bullying is mainly responsible for the higher suicide rate among gay teens. But as I kept reading, I kept finding pieces of the puzzle that don’t seem to fit the “it’s homophobia pulling the trigger” narrative.

Gay students are also more than twice as likely to report having had sexual intercourse before age 13 — that is, to be sexually abused as children. They are three times as likely to report being the victims of dating violence, and nearly four times as likely to report forced sexual contact. A majority of LGBT teens in Massachusetts reported using illegal drugs in the last month. (Perhaps most oddly, gay teens are also three times as likely as non-gay teens to report either becoming pregnant or getting someone else pregnant.)

These, Gallagher says, are the real reasons gay kids are committing suicide. But “having sexual intercourse before age 13” does not necessarily indicate that these children are abused — I’m not sure where Gallagher got this finding, but it could very well be the case that it’s kids playing around with each other (it’s hard to know without the source); it’s also disturbingly reminiscent of the argument that people who are molested turn out to be gay — a psychological finding that has long been discredited. I also bet a majority of straight teens in Massachusetts reported using illegal drugs in the last months, too. But these things are not the point. Even if these other factors contribute to gay teens committing suicide, it simply does not follow that anti-gay bullying isn’t part of the problem — in fact, the prejudice, and the bullying it inspires, could be at the root of many of these problems.

At the end of the op-ed, Gallagher says that “each of these kids is a child of God,” and says they need “real help.” But apparently even children of God don’t deserve to be free of bullying in schools.


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Do straight guys usually share the same headphones on flights, while watching ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ together?

There’s been a lot of talk about gay Republicans lately. We’re to believe that the party is becoming more welcoming. So, I thought I’d share this email from a longtime, and trusted, AMERICAblog reader:

Last night I flew back to National Airport taking a direct Alaska Airlines flight from LAX. It was a packed flight with no seat to spare. As I was walking towards my seat I was highly amused when I saw Republican Congressman and the House Rules Committee Ranking Member David Dreier sitting in the same area.

Rep. Dreier was not traveling alone. He was traveling together with who appeared to be a very close friend. I guess the first class was all booked so he was slumming it on coach, although stretching it out in the emergency row. It seemed that the flight attendants knew Dreier and this other guy as regular passengers. They knew who they were and were coming up to them and specially attending to them all flight. One of the flight attendant told Dreier to “kick some behind” when they were wrapping up their services.

This other dude and Rep. Dreier appeared to be close and very comfortable with each other. They were so comfortable that Rep. Dreier shared his headphones with him just like any other couple would when he got his “Digiplayer” (the Alaska Airlines in flight entertainment system) during the flight. In case anyone is wondering they were watching the movie version of “Alvin And The Chipmunks” (no, I am not making this up).

This is where it gets even weirder. When the flight landed at National, Dreier walked out all alone as if he was traveling by himself. The other guy waited for a while and then left the plane by himself. For some reason they didn’t want to be seen together when coming out of the flight.

Something didn’t seem right. It all seemed really bizarre and weird.

It’s called the closet. It’s a really bizarre and weird place.


—  John Wright

Show vs. Show • 03.26.10

By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Dallas doesn’t find itself too often in the middle of a gay live music dilemma. This weekend, two musicians might get to bring their sounds to the masses. That is, if LGBT Dallas heads out to support their own.

Tommy Hernandez was mostly on the local music scene as a solo artist but his latest venture takes him away from pop music into a trancey realm. As one half of Museum Creatures, he and Stephen Holmes go the electronica route.

Museum Creatures is part of the Mercy for Animals Benefit at the Cavern on Lower Greenville. They share a heavy bill with Soft Environmental Collapse, Division of Power and more for the Rockout for Animals show.

Patrick Boothe approaches music with a raw attitude. In his latest release, Jump In, a five song EP, he explores his darker side.

Boothe relocated from Dallas to Austin partly to be near the music industry there. A lonely spell set in and provided inspiration for his newest set of songs. But he’s confident his gay audience will relate.

“I do have a mostly gay audience and they don’t listen to just the poppy music at gay clubs and bars you always hear.”

He’s alt-rock with a piano but more in the vein of Tori Amos. Yet, maybe a bit louder.

“It’s just me and a piano but it’s gonna be loud. I sing pretty loud and I’m not a classically trained pianist so it can get intense at times.”

He’s alt-rock with a piano but more in the vein of Tori Amos. Yet, maybe a bit louder.

“It’s just me and a piano but it’s gonna be loud. I sing pretty loud and I’m not a classically trained pianist so it can get intense at times.

— Rich Lopez


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 26, 2010.

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Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.
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