Queering the occupation

LGBTs join movement in Dallas

OccupyDallas

Gay Dallas resident Dave May, who says he lost his ear to cancer because he didn’t have health insurance, marches with Occupy Dallas on Saturday, Oct. 15. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM LAST WEEKEND’S MARCH

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

Dave May was self-employed and uninsured when he first noticed a small growth resembling a cut on the inside of his right ear about five years ago.

May was paying out of pocket for annual check-ups, and because his trusted general practitioner repeatedly assured him the growth was eczema — a relatively harmless skin condition — he had no reason to shell out $500 to see a specialist.

But the growth in the bell of May’s ear only got worse, and when he finally went to a dermatologist in 2008, a biopsy determined it was skin cancer.

It turned out to be an aggressive form, and May has since undergone four surgeries at Parkland hospital, including removal of his ear, ear drum and ear canal.

May, now 53, said if the cancer had been caught sooner, his treatment would’ve cost a few thousand dollars — and his ear would be intact. Instead, he estimates the cost to taxpayers in the hundreds of thousands.

“Our national health care policy is just pennywise and pound-foolish,” said May, whose cancer is finally in remission. “Had there been
some type of universal health plan, I would have gone to a dermatologist much earlier.

“I’m not into self-pity,” May said, adding that he’s only broken down once during the entire three-year ordeal. “I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I’ve always strongly believed that health care is not a privilege, but rather a human right.”

May was one of several LGBT people who joined about 400 protesters from Occupy Dallas on Saturday, Oct. 15, for a march from the   group’s campsite at Pioneer Park to the The Crescent in Uptown, site of Goldman Sachs’ local offices.

In some cities, the Occupy movement has included a large and very visible queer presence — with rainbow flags flying high during protests and same-sex couples openly cohabitating inside encampments.

But so far at Occupy Dallas, which began Oct. 6, the LGBT presence has been far more subtle.

Local queer Occupiers and supporters are hoping this will change, however, and those who marched with the group last weekend said they see major parallels between the LGBT equality and Occupy movements.

“It’s all about civil rights,” transgender activist Pamela Curry said as she marched up McKinney Avenue toward The Crescent.

OccupyDallas1

STRUGGLING FOR VISIBILITY | Chaaz Quigley, shown during last weekend’s march, said it’s been a struggle to establish a visible LGBT presence at Occupy Dallas. ( John Wright/ Dallas Voice)

“It’s about the people, not corporate rights,” Curry added, repeating the popular refrain that she’ll believe GOP presidential candidate

Mitt Romney’s claim that “corporations are people” when Texas executes one.

Eric Folkerth, straight pastor of the heavily gay Northaven United Methodist Church in Preston Hollow, noted that the Occupy march came on the eve of Reconciling Sunday in his denomination — which calls for full LGBT inclusion in the UMC.

“They’re both movements about people who are marginalized and often unheard,” Folkerth said as he stood outside The Crescent, adding that he hopes more LGBT people will get involved in the Occupy movement.

Jay Narey, communications director for Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said he didn’t plan to spend the night in Pioneer Park but wanted to show his support for the movement by marching with the group.

“I think they’re bringing much needed attention to the inequality,” said Narey, who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with “SOCIALIST” in large red letters and held a sign that read, “END the CORPORATOCRACY.”

Narey said he was disappointed there weren’t more LGBT people at the march. “They’d rather have a cocktail at JR.’s,” he said.

Bisexual activist Latisha McDaniel carried a sign containing one of the few LGBT references: “Union worker. State worker.

Independent Voter. Queer. Life-giver. Person of color. 99%!!!” it read.

“They’re screwing everybody equally,” McDaniel said. “Every minority in the country is being stepped on by these corporations, by corporate greed.”

Chaaz Quigley, a gay member of the International Socialist Organization, led the entire march for a brief period as it made its way up McKinney Avenue, carrying a sign that read “Socialist Queer!”

Quigley said he’s been the most vocal LGBT participant in Occupy Dallas, having been involved since the organizing stages and spending several nights at Pioneer Park.

But he said it’s been a struggle to establish a visible queer presence within the local movement, and he called on the community to help.

“If we can have people show up in drag, that’s what needs to happen,” Quigley said a few days later at Occupy Dallas’ new camp behind City Hall. “We need to have an incredibly visible presence. We’re not trying to co-opt anything. We’re trying to create real equality.”

For more on Occupy Dallas, visit the group’s website or Facebook page.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Cedar Springs strip changing, growing

At JR.’s, crews broke through the front wall on the first floor this week. That club is opening the front with patio space across its Cedar Springs frontage that they hope will be as popular as the second floor patio space.

New store openings, renovations and a calendar of events bring excitement to Cedar Springs

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This weekend, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association sponsors Art Fest on Saturday, April 23 as well as Easter in the Park on Sunday, April 24. But they have a lot more to celebrate than spring festivals — and that is the opening of a number of businesses along the street, as well as improvements to others.

Tan Bar at 3818 Cedar Springs Road opened on March 8 and co-owner Terry Ehrle said he is delighted with the response his business has gotten, adding that Tan bar specializes in “custom brush tanning.”

Tan Bar uses organic or natural products that Ehrle said the body does not absorb. Instead, the products stay on the surface of the skin.

Macho Nacho opened on Thursday, April 21, in the space that was home to Hunky’s for 25 years.

Ehrle said the tan last seven to 10 days and does not contain SPF ingredients that protect the skin from the sun. But, he said, they work with customers to make sure they continue to protect their skin.

Ehrle said that UVA rays tanning beds and sunbathing outdoors are dangerous and that studies show that as many as one in four people who overdo exposure to the sun under the age of 35 will develop skin cancer.

At the other end of the strip, Onyx Nail Bar is open and operating in ilume and will hold a grand opening celebration over the next few weeks, according to spokesman Scott Baretto.

Although several nail salons have opened in the area over the past year, this one calls itself the king of all nail salons.

With 4,000 square feet of space, the shop is multi-level, with 18 experienced nail technicians, Barretto said, adding that there is no piped-in elevator music. Instead, the salon has a DJ booth and a sound system that he said rivals any of the clubs down the street.

Macho Nacho opened on Thursday, April 21, in the space that was home to Hunky’s for 25 years. The location has been stripped and polished and completely redesigned. The remodeled patio features new furniture and railings that reflect the upscale look of the new restaurant.

Owner Scott Jones said that after months of work, “It finally came together.”

The restaurant will be open for Sunday brunch as well as having late night hours.

Scott Jones

“We’ve got a fun crew, a big-ass fan and a great patio,” Jones said.

The ceiling fan Jones mentioned is a 10-blade metal piece with fins similar to airplane wings.

Jones recommends the mojitos and margaritas and Macho Nacho tortas as well as items from the taqueria.

Next door, construction continues on Coffee Lab. Co-owner Darin Danford said he’s shooting for a June 1 opening.

Providing enough parking has stopped a number of restaurants from opening on Cedar Springs Road. Danford said that they’ve chosen seating options that don’t require more parking. Seating will be bar style and on comfortable couches as well as at tables.

Danford’s partner, Neal Delaney said that the number 1 complaint at coffee shops is a shortage of electrical outlets. They’ve made sure that’s not a problem by wiring the space to provide plenty of plugs, he said.

The menu will feature coffee, pastry and paninis.

Construction continues at several other locations as well, including Thairiffic, a Thai restaurant that is moving to Cedar Springs from North Dallas, and JR.’s Bar and Grill.

At JR.’s, crews broke through the front wall on the first floor this week. That club is opening the front with patio space across its Cedar Springs frontage that they hope will be as popular as the second floor patio space.

On Saturday, Cedar Springs Road will be closed from Reagan to Knight streets for Art Fest. CSMA president Scott Whittall said that they already have more artists exhibiting than last year.

“We always have an influx at the end,” he said, adding that he expects more than the 70 artists already signed to exhibit.

A number of Cedar Springs retailers will have booths, including OutLines and Skivvies. Food and beer vendors and info booths will also be out on the street for the festival.
Whittall said that after Easter in the Park, the CSMA has plans for two more large events that will close the street. The May sidewalk sale will take place on May 21 and include a large antique car exhibit on the street with cars from Classic Chassis and other individuals who may register on the merchants association website.

In June, CSMA presents the return of Razzle Dazzle Dallas.

“We’re working diligently to create an atmosphere where there are things for everyone to do,” Whittall said.

Stoli vodka announced on Wednesday that they would sponsor the VIP pavilion.

Whittall said VIP tickets include reserved parking at ilume throughout the five-day event.

“We knew the first year was going to be a challenge,” Whittall said. “But we’ve been blown away by how it’s come together.

—  John Wright