Welcome aboard, Erin Moore

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We are thrilled to welcome aboard the newest addition to the Dallas Voice family, graphic artist Erin Moore.

That name may sound — probably does sound — familiar. That’s because Erin has been an active member of DFW’s LGBT community for years. She has been president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and vice president of Stonewall Democrats of Texas.
Erin’s also served on the Human Rights Campaign’s national Board of Governors and co-chaired National Coming Out Day.She grew up in Slidell, La., and moved to Dallas in 1992 to be staff adviser to Southern Methodist University’s student newspaper the Daily Campus. From there she began doing layout and design for Texas Lawyer and most recently worked at Brown & Partners designing jewelry advertising for national clients. Erin’s partner, Patti Fink, is currently president of DGLA and hosts the show that Dallas Observer named best talk show in Dallas, Lambda Weekly.

—  Tammye Nash

Kathy Bates: The gay interview

L14A2832.DNGLong before dishing lesbian wisdom to Melissa McCarthy’s mess of a character in this summer’s road-trip comedy Tammy, which opens tomorrow, Kathy Bates had the gay community in shackles. It didn’t take a sledgehammer to maintain our obsession with her … it just took the Hollywood icon’s every turn on television (Six Feet Under, American Horror Story), Broadway (’Night, Mother) and the big screen (Titanic, Misery, which won her an Oscar).

Notably with Fried Green Tomatoes, her 1991 girl dramedy, and then with Dolores Claiborne and Primary Colors, the SMU alumna has kept us captivated for four decades, bound to her boundless greatness. Now, as one half of a lesbian couple in Tammy (Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy plays her partner), she’s giving you one more reason to be her biggest fan. Our Chris Azzopardi sat down with her to discuss the gay boys she first met in Dallas, kissing girls and her drag impersonators.

Dallas Voice: I’ve never been to an all-lesbian party, but based on the one your character, Lenore, throws in Tammy, clearly I’ve been missing out.  Kathy Bates: You have. It was a lot of fun! It really was. And there was a scene that was cut out of the movie where all the lesbian women on the dock were singing “Fire,” the Bruce Springsteen song, which was pretty fun.

You really can’t go wrong with some lesbians and The Boss.  No, no, no. It’s a sure thing.

Tell me about the best lesbian party you’ve ever been to.  I don’t know if I’ve been to a lesbian party quite like the one we have in Tammy. I’ve known and loved many lesbians in my life … but I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten them all into the same room at the same time! I always imagined that my and Sandra’s characters lived in a very small town, so I think many of these lesbians they’ve known were shipped in and probably work in Lenore’s [pet] shops in other towns, that it’s an annual thing and they come in and hang out for the holiday.

Melissa said your chemistry with Sandra was instantly palpable. Who are some other women you could see yourself going lesbian for onscreen?  Let me think about that. I’m just absolutely in love with Sandra, and let me just say that she really brought our relationship to bloom. She brought a lot of love and warmth, and it was her idea to have wedding rings, which I hadn’t thought about, and also, really, to think that our relationship is the healthiest relationship in the movie.

You know, we’re non-judgmental, and [in] my scene on the dock with Melissa, it was important for me to be able to ad-lib how difficult it is — or was, especially 20, 25 years ago — for lesbian women to come out. I think almost more difficult than for men to come out as gay. She brought just so much love, and she really helped create the little bubble of our relationship, and now I have forgotten your question. Oh, whom else would I like to be with. Ahh, let’s see. Who do I love? Oh, I could totally see this: I shared a plane trip with Uma Thurman once and I thought she was pretty cool. I could see doing a movie with her and having a lesbian relationship — although I’m much too old for her!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Advocates deliver petition urging UMC bishop not to take Dallas minister to trial over gay wedding

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The Rev. Pamela June Webb, left, talks with Bishop Michael McKee’s assistant after she and others delivered a petition with more than 22,000 signatures urging the bishop not to bring a retired Dallas minister to trial for officiating a gay wedding. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Christian LGBT advocates called on Bishop Michael McKee of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Tuesday not to escalate a complaint against a Dallas pastor into a formal trial for presiding over a gay wedding by delivering a petition to the bishop at the North Texas Conference headquarters in Plano.

The petition, started on the website Faithful America, calls on McKee to oppose putting retired United Methodist Pastor Bill McElvaney, who’s 85 and battling cancer, on trial. It originally called for 15,000 signatures, but as of Tuesday when it was handed to Joell Stanislaus, the bishop’s executive assistant, it’d garnered more than 22,000 signatures. McKee was out of the office in meetings, but Stanislaus said she would make sure he received it.

McElvaney, emeritus pastor at Northaven United Methodist Church, married longtime gay couple Jack Evans and George Harris on March 1 at Midway Hills Christian Church. The celebration took place at Midway to prevent Northaven and its current pastor from coming under attack for allowing the ceremony to take place there. McElvaney announced in January that he disagreed with the Methodist Church about same-sex weddings and he’d officiate at them.

A complaint filed by the Rev. Camille Gaston of Richardson came a week later. It requires him to sit down with Gaston and McKee, bishop of the North Texas Conference. Gaston is also the district superintendent of the North Texas Conference.

The parties will meet for a joint resolution to discuss how to replace the issue, ranging from anything from suspending McElvaney to defrocking him if the bishop files charges to take his case to trial. While ministers have been defrocked after a trail before, some bishops have come out publicly that they would not try ministers for wedding same-sex couples. McKee has not.

Shelbi Smith, a junior at Southern Methodist University and co-president of the college’s of LGBT group Spectrum, said as a Methodist she was told growing up that the church is a vehicle to spread love but that homosexuality isn’t compatible with the church’s teachings. But over time, she came to accept her sexuality and realize the church’s mission as to love everyone, including LGBT people.

“It’s about much more than this one case. We need Bishop McKee to follow Bishop McLee’s example of New York to not try the case,” Smith said. “We need that vocal leadership from him if we want to promote leadership in the church.”

McElvaney has asked that people let the process with the bishop play out, asking for “no other response” to the bishop’s letter informing him of the complaint.

Northaven Pastor Eric Folkerth took to his blog this morning to voice his concerns about Faithful America and condemning the action against McElvaney’s wishes.

“‘Faithful America’ has done this, despite the fact that Bill specifically asked for people to take no action on his behalf,” Folkerth writes. “Given all of this, the only assumption I can draw is that “Faithful America” either never bothers to ask, or really doesn’t care, about the actual people involved in their stunt-like escapades. To my knowledge, they have not contacted anyone directly involved with this ‘action.’”

The Rev. Pamela June Webb, an out retired minster and a member of Midway Hills, said she attended the petition delivery because she wants the Methodist Church to become completely affirming of the LGBT community.

“This has been a very important part of my vision, and my hope for the churches to come together and to be more than affirmative,” she said. “ The church’s theme is to have an open door and open hearts and yet so many of the people who could use their love are feeling rejected. So we are praying for the future of the church.”

—  Dallasvoice

SMU students vote down LGBT Senate seat, post anti-gay rants

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A revote on an LGBT Southern Methodist University student Senate seat failed this week.

“The results were 1,107 votes in favor and 1,025 against — meaning it lost by an even larger margin than it did last time,” Spectrum co-President Shelbi Smith said. Spectrum is the university’s LGBT student organization.

“We have been doing a social media blitz, talking to strangers, and emailing all of the supporters who signed our petition,” former Spectrum President Harvey Luna said.

After trying to pass a bill in the student Senate since 2009 to add an LGBT special interest seat, the Senate approved the measure this year for the first time and passed it overwhelmingly. That entailed a change to the student constitution, which takes a two-thirds vote of the student body.

On the initial vote, the measure failed. Students had a week to collect signatures of 10 percent of the student body to bring the issue up for a revote. Spectrum members were successful in collecting enough signatures, but they failed to convince enough students to participate and did not receive two-thirds of the vote.

An anti-gay campaign seems to have raged on YikYak, an app that allows someone to post anonymously.

Luna sent a copy of some of the comments that included statements like, “Yeah, I’m homophobic so what?” and “I hope the gay community uses yik yak because yeah we do hate you and we do want you to know it.”

Others were collected by SMU student Dillon Chapman and can be found here.

—  David Taffet

SMU students will vote again on LGBT Senate seat

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Spectrum’s Kathrina Macalanda solicits a signature from Ryan Patrick McLaughlin

Over the weekend, Southern Methodist University students collected enough signatures to get a revote on whether to add an LGBT Student Senate seat.

After the Student Senate voted in March to add the seat, the student body needed to pass the measure by a two-thirds vote. Only 53 percent voted April 3 for the amendment to the Student Constitution. To get another vote, supporters needed to collect signatures from 10 percent of the student body, which is 1,053 people.

“I am excited to report that we actually surpassed that goal,” former Spectrum President Harvey Luna said. “We collected about 1,400 signatures.”

Normally, the issue would be put to students this week, but faculty is using the website link this week for their own elections. Instead, the amendment to add the LGBT seat will be put to students next week.

“In the meantime, we are going to begin strategizing on advertising the issue on campus — tabling, flyers, buttons, etc.,” Luna said.

 

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Jillian Michaels maximizes time in Dallas with tour visit

Jillian Michaels at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium on April 4. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Jillian Michaels at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on April 4. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Jillian Michaels, out trainer on The Biggest Loser, brought her “Maximize Your Life” tour to Dallas this weekend. As expected, she was spunky, uplifting and demanding all at once, dishing out some tough love in the areas of eating, workout and life habits — all while continuing to tell the audience at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium that Dallasites are so nice. It’s our Southern charm, to be sure.

While the program got off to a late start with traffic delays because of the Final Four in town, the program ran about two hours, giving attendees a quality show that even included a brief Q&A at the end.

While this writer went in looking for motivation in various areas of her life, Michaels told the audience halfway through she couldn’t give them motivation; instead, everyone had to find his or her own internal motivation as external motivation eventually wavers and success wanes. Message received.

But it was an inspiring show with Michaels’ own personal experiences and some Biggest Loser highlights revisited. By the end of the night, she left us wanting more and waiting for the next tour.

If you bought a VIP ticket, photos from the meet and greet can be found here. And if you scroll through them, you’ll find a cameo appearance from finance guru Suze Orman, who was in town and stopped by for a photo.

More photos below.

—  Dallasvoice

SMU students vote down LGBT senate seat

SMUAfter the Southern Methodist University Student Senate voted last week to approve an LGBT student senate seat, the student body voted the proposal down.

Adding a senate seat required approval by two-thirds of the voters. The election was held on Thursday, and only 53 percent of those voting were in favor of adding the seat. Of SMU’s 11,000 students, only about 2,000 voted.

“However, 53 percent is not a two-thirds majority and it does not get us representation in senate,” Shelbi Smith, vice president of SMU’s LGBT group Spectrum, said. “It does not change the everyday reality for LGBT students who are discriminated against at SMU.”

Smith called this a set-back, but explained the proposal isn’t completely dead for this semester.

“Now, we have to collect 1,100 signatures on a petition to get a re-vote,” Smith said. “We are hoping to get the signatures in time to have a re-vote before the end of the semester. Otherwise, we start from ground zero next year.”

She called the vote by the Senate “a huge victory.” In previous years, the Senate voted down the proposal, in some years by large margins. This is the first time the proposal went to students for a vote.

“This is about so much more than a senate seat,” Smith said. “This is about equality. This is about making LGBT people feel welcome and included at our great university.”

—  David Taffet

SMU Senate votes to add LGBT seat after years of battle

SMUThe SMU Senate voted 34-3 to add an LGBT seat to the student governing body, according to SMU’s The Daily Campus. The issue must now go for a vote before the entire student body and requires a two-thirds vote.

This has been a contentious issue that has been debated and defeated every year since first introduced by student Tom Elliott in 2009. Several other Senate seats are reserved for groups of minority students. Others are designated for off-campus residents, specific dorms and frats and sororities.

One issue that previous Senates dealt with is identifying LGBT students — whether they needed to belong to one of the on-campus LGBT groups, if anyone who self-identified as LGBT could participate or if any student, including allies or even opponents trying to throw the race, could simply register to vote in that race.

During this period, SMU was voted a “most homophobic” school by Princeton Review each year, and the high-profile battle over this seat probably added to the perception of anti-gay discrimination on campus.

Elliott graduated in 2010 and now works in Chicago. He remembered how he felt after the defeat.

“It was disappointing since there was such a strong show of support by faculty, staff and students,” Elliott said. “Even with people coming in to talk to the Senate, it failed by a large margin.”

He said after he graduated, freshman Harvey Luna picked up the fight.

Elliott warned that the work’s not over since the student body must vote.

“It’s very important for people working on this to mobilize support on campus,” Elliott said.

—  David Taffet

SMU’s David Chard to chair National Board for Education Sciences

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Dean David Chard

David Chard, openly gay dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, was elected by fellow board members as chairman of the National Board for Education Sciences, effective immediately.

The U.S. Senate approved President Obama’s nomination of Chard to the board in 2012. The 15-member board oversees and directs the work of the Institute of Education Sciences.

“Schools throughout the nation will benefit from David Chard’s leadership of this important board,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His support of evidence-based education practices will help ensure that proven teaching strategies make their way to the classroom.”

The institute collects and analyzes education research data and funds researchers nationwide who are working to improve education outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk. In addition, the institute produces the Nation’s Report Card.

As chair, Chard succeeds Bridget Terry Long from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she is academic dean and the Xander Professor of Education.

“We can’t talk about how important education is to the future of our country when we invest so little in knowing what works and for whom it works in the classroom,” Chard said. “Taxpayer dollars have to be wisely invested in education research, and the results of research must be incorporated into our classrooms and schools.”

Chard is a frequently published education scholar and former public school teacher. He has served as dean of the Simmons School since 2007.  He came to SMU from the University of Oregon, where he was associate dean for the College of Education. Under his leadership, the Simmons School has greatly expanded its research.

—  David Taffet

SMU male rape case dismissed

John David Mahaffey

John David Mahaffey

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed charges against a former SMU student who was accused of sexually assaulting another male student.

John David Mahaffey was arrested in September after the alleged victim told police Mahaffey had forced him to perform oral sex at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house and at a nearby campus parking garage

The DA’s office dismissed the case last week in a one-page motion saying, ““Upon review of all facts associated with the case by Cresta Garland, Assistant District Attorney, it has been determined that there is no probable cause to support an element of the offense.”

UPDATE: The Morning News (subscription only) has more on the story behind the dismissal, including the alleged victim’s reaction.

—  John Wright