Auditions for Resounding Harmony & The Women’s Chorus

Sing it like ya mean it

For those with major vocal talents, tonight could be your night. Think of it. Packed venues, a plethora of like-minded individuals all singing in unison. And those snazzy outfits. The philanthropic-based group Resounding Harmony holds auditions tonight for its fourth season as does The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, as it prepares for its upcoming season. Although each have criteria for auditioning, you shouldn’t have too much problem getting on the process. Unless you’re auditioning for both, then more power to ya.

DEETS: Resounding Harmony auditions at Oak Lawn United Methodist Church, 3014 Oak Lawn Ave. 7 p.m. Visit website for more information. To register for TWCD auditions, visit here.

—  Rich Lopez

Judge to rule this week in Nikki Araguz case

Nikki Araguz

Transgender widow vows appeal if she loses case

JUAN A. LOZANO  |  Associated Press

WHARTON, Texas — The transgender widow of a Texas firefighter will likely learn next week whether his family’s request to nullify their marriage and strip her of any death benefits will be granted, a judge said Friday.

State District Judge Randy Clapp made the announcement after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by the family of firefighter Thomas Araguz III, who was killed while battling a blaze last year. The suit argues that his widow shouldn’t get any benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The widow, Nikki Araguz, said she had done everything medically and legally possible to show that she is female and was legally married under Texas law. She believes that she’s entitled to widow’s benefits.

“I believe the judge is going to rule in my favor,” Araguz said after the court hearing.

The lawsuit seeks control over death benefits and assets totaling more than $600,000, which the firefighter’s family wants to go to his two sons from a previous marriage. Voiding the marriage would prevent Nikki Araguz from receiving any insurance or death benefits or property the couple had together.

Thomas Araguz died while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Wharton, about 60 miles southwest of Houston, in July 2010. He was 30.

His mother, Simona Longoria, filed a lawsuit asking that her son’s marriage be voided. She and her family have said he learned of his wife’s gender history just prior to his death, and after he found out, he moved out of their home and planned to end the marriage.

But Nikki Araguz, 35, has insisted that her husband was aware she was born a man and that he fully supported her through the surgical process to become a woman. She underwent surgery two months after they were married in 2008.

Longoria’s attorney, Chad Ellis, argued that Texas law — specifically a 1999 appeals court ruling that stated chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender — supports his client’s efforts to void the marriage.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision that threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman, Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton, after her husband’s death. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man, based on her original birth certificate, and therefore her marriage and wrongful death claim were invalid.

Ellis presented medical and school records that he said showed Nikki Araguz was born without female reproductive organs and that she presented herself as a male while growing up and going to school. He also said her birth certificate at the time of her marriage indicated she was a man.

“By law, two males cannot be married in this state,” Ellis told the judge.

Nikki Araguz, who was born in California, did not change her birth certificate to reflect she had become a female until after her husband’s death, said Edward Burwell, one of the attorneys for Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, Heather Delgado, the mother of his two children.

But one of Nikki Araguz’s attorneys, Darrell Steidley, said that when his client got her marriage license, she presented the necessary legal documents to show she was a female. He also noted changes made in 2009 to the Texas Family Code that allowed people to present numerous alternatives to a birth certificate as the proof of identity needed to get a marriage license. That was an example, he argued, of the state trying to move away from the 1999 appeals court ruling.

The changes in 2009 allowed transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license. The Texas Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit county and district clerks from using a court order recognizing a sex change as documentation to get married.

After the hearing, the firefighter’s family and attorneys for his ex-wife criticized plans by Nikki Araguz to star in a reality television dating show and implied she was only interested in money and fame that the case would bring her.

“That is absurd,” Nikki Araguz said in response. “I’m after my civil equality and the rights that I deserve as the wife of a fallen firefighter.”

If the judge rules against the firefighter’s family in their motion for a summary judgment, the case would then proceed to trial. Araguz said if the judge rules against her, she would appeal, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

—  John Wright

Black gays and lesbians shouldn’t be seen as weak or invisible

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Photobucket

If you want to see why it's so hard for lgbt of color to get any type of acknowledgment, then a situation in Schnectady, New York should give an indication.

Apparently some people there are not happy with the billboard seen above:

Billboards trying to drum up community support for gay black men were criticized Monday as a pastor, a daycare provider and a City Council member called for the billboards to come down.

The Rev. Alfred Thompkins, of Calvary Tabernacle, said the “I am gay” billboard message only encourages troubled youth to embrace homosexuality.

“A thirteen-year-old looks at these billboards and says, ‘That must be it, I must be gay,’ ” he said. “That goes directly against God’s purpose. As a resident of Schenectady, a pastor who works with young people, with families, frankly I’m really bothered by the message these send.”

The billboards offer three messages, showing gay men with their families, in church and on a basketball court. Each message starts with the announcement “I am gay,” in large letters, and concludes with, “We have always been a part of this community.”

They were designed by In Our Own Voices, a gay advocacy group in Albany. The state Department of Health paid for the billboards as part of an effort to find a more effective way to reduce the HIV infection rate, which has disproportionately hit gay and bisexual black men. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control said the epidemic had reached such a level that new methods must be found to encourage men to use condoms.

Our Own Voices says that the billboard is created to garner acceptance of homosexuality, which in turn will cause gay men to lead healthier lives. Others have voiced opposition to the billboards because they supposedly allow “inappropriate sexual expression,” a reason which doesn't make any sense at all because there nothing on the billboards with anything having to do with sexual intercourse.

And probably the most insulting comment from one person (the same one pushing the ridiculous idea of “inappropriate sexual expression”) is the belief that the billboards should be moved to “adult business zones.”

The sad thing is that this controversy reveals the ignorance of some in the black community regarding lgbts of color.

I got news for Pastor Thompkins – 13-year-old lgbts already exist. The billboards' presence is irrelevant on that point. But the billboards are a much better message to these children than seeing a weak, flamboyant, oversexed gay man or an overly sexually aggressive lesbian, or a confused transgender out to “trick” a man to have sex with her – three stereotypes that are unfortunately prevalent in the black media these days.

And the idea that being an lgbt is strictly a lifestyle about sex is a huge lie. According to a report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force which looked at data from the 2000 Census report:

Black same-sex households are nearly twice as likely as White same-sex households to include children. Black male same-sex households are twice as likely as White male same-sex households to include at least one child under 18, 36% versus 18% respectively. Fifty-two percent of Black female same-sex households are comprised of parents living with at least one child under 18, compared with 32% of White female same-sex households.

What this is about is the deliberate inability of the African-American community to acknowledge the presence of lgbts of color.  And that inability leads to the ignorance that we are seeing here. It's really a catch-22 situation because while I am not happy with the nonsense these folks have expressed, I know what will happen when this issue is discussed by some members of the lgbt community.

It's going to be transformed into a back and forth argument on whether lgbts are racist or are African-Americans homophobic.

Meanwhile, lgbts of color – that's us folks in the middle – will be ignored or rather seen as a prize to be won by whichever group can prove that they suffered more than the other group.

Bottom  line to me is this – the billboards are an excellent idea and those who agree with this point should not allow themselves to go off on tangents. The issue is about the safety and health of lgbts of color and that's where the issue should stay.

Hat tip to Joe.My.God.

Related post:

BET looks at lgbts of color, destroys myths about being gay

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

So which is it, FRC: Is Daniel a hero or an ‘anomaly’ who shouldn’t be ‘normalized’?

The Family Research Council’s latest “Washington Update”:

201101101650

[SOURCE]

Hey FRC: You know how you could help reduce America’s finger pointing literally overnight? You could stop giving the middle finger to all humans that fall outside of your personally-palatable purview!

We are mothers, daughters, fathers, friends, lovers, interns, members of congress, heroes, and everyday Americans. We are families. When you all end your discriminatory “research” into what needs no cure, at least one of America’s vestigial woulds will begin to heal. Then, perhaps, we can finally work together to prevent actual tragedies.




Good As You

—  admin

It’s official: You shouldn’t swallow NOM’s wares

For Christmas, the National Organization For Marriage chose to place holly berries on the organizational logo:

Nom Logo-4

Which is a fitting metaphor, actually:

Screen Shot 2010-12-27 At 9.38.42 Am

Toxic Christmas Plants [eHow]

Yes! Marriage bias = berry bad.

So come on, NOMmers: Stop with this toxicity already! We have the antidote, if only you’d choose to drink.




Good As You

—  admin

GOProud: The HRC Shouldn’t Care About “Faggot” Because Gays Are Dying In Iraq

“The irony here is stunning. The adults who run HRC are participating in a morally-reprehensible organized political hatchet job on a teenager all in the name of defending the victims of bigotry. Nothing is sacred to these liberal foot soldiers, no one is seen as off limits — not even a 16-year-old girl, and even an issue as serious as anti-gay bullying and teen suicide is treated as nothing more than just another political hammer to be wielded against their perceived enemies.

“The nature of the attacks on Palin reveals much about what motivates her critics. HRC’s press releases are ripe with misogynistic attacks on the Governor. HRC refers to the Governor as a ‘reality TV show star’ — a transparent attempt to diminish Palin’s almost 20 years in politics. In a November 17th release, Joe Solmonese, the man at the helm of HRC, made a thinly veiled accusation that the Facebook exchange somehow showed Palin failed as a mother — ‘Anti-gay language by teenagers often starts at home.’ [snip]

“In the meantime, while the actions of a teenager on Facebook warrant days of over-the-top press releases from HRC, a blind eye is turned by the liberal Gay, Inc. to the growing threat of radicalized anti-gay, anti-women Islam.” – GOProud chairman Chris Barron, in a Daily Caller piece co-authored by board member Tammy Bruce.

Got that? As long as gay people are being murdered by Muslims, we shouldn’t care about hate speech, bullying or any other such trivial nonsense.

RELATED: Last week GOProud announced that calling somebody a “faggot” isn’t homophobic because gay men in WeHo and Chelsea use the word amongst themselves. Shortly before the above-linked Daily Caller piece was posted, the group issued the below tweet.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Shouldn’t matter, but top House and Senate GOPers on Armed Services vow to stop DADT repeal in lame duck

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. We know Rep. McKeon and Senator McCain opposed DADT repeal. They’re going to try to stop it in the lame duck. Pushing this. Those Log Cabin Republicans and GOProuds have their work cut out for them:

Already, the Republican widely expected to be the next House Armed Services chairman signaled that Republicans are not on board with trying to push for a vote in the last few weeks of the current session, while the Democrats are just a few votes shy of pushing it through.

“Republicans on both sides the Capitol are committed to passing a National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 that is not weighed down by the current majority’s social agenda items,” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-California, in a statement released Wednesday morning.

Before the election, the top Republican on the Armed Services committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told an Arizona television station he would “absolutely” filibuster any attempt to vote “until we have a thorough and complete study on the effect of morale and battle effectiveness.”

“The reason they tried to ramrod it through the Senate is they knew that the Senate will look different next January,” McCain said on 12 News’ “Sunday Square Off” on October 17. “I will filibuster or stop it from being brought up.”

This shouldn’t matter. McKeon and McCain don’t run the commmittees — yet.

Obama and the Democrats need to really focus on the passing the Defense bill as is. They let the GOPers get away with filibustering the Defense bill in September, which was a huge mistake. We’re in two wars, which should be reason enough to force the GOP’s handgs. Also, the Defense bill has to be one of the biggest jobs bills that Congress passes. It funds millions of salaries in both the government and private sectors. And, as the President noted yesterday at his press conference, there is a huge amount of support for ending DADT.

Let this be the first fight with the Republicans. But, make it a fight.

And, if you haven’t seen it, watch Alex Nicholson’s video on how we can prevail. He spells it out quite clearly:




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Carl Paladino: Children Shouldn’t Be Brainwashed Into Homosexuality

Teabagger lunatic and New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl “Imprison The Poor” Paladino today said, “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option–it isn’t. There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That is not how God created us.”

Paladino was touring Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn where he made the remark, also saying to at least one group that he would veto a same-sex marriage bill as governor. A spokesman for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Paladino’s opponent, immediately fired out this reaction: “Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality. These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”

RELATED: Speaking of brainwashing, Carl Paladino has been a fucking hero to the homocons over at Hillbuzz. Wanna bet today’s asshattery doesn’t change their tune a bit?

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright