Oversold conference on LGBT aging looks for ways to improve lives of elders

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Mayor Henry LaRosiliere, left, with Dawnetta Miller, middle, and Jeannie Rubin

The second annual Summit on LGBT Aging packed the meeting rooms in one of Southern Methodist University’s Plano campus buildings on Saturday, July 23.

“In the 90’s, the idea of aging just didn’t resonate with many of us,” said GALA NTX President Jeannie Rubin in opening remarks to the conference. “We have become the LGBT aging community we never thought would exist.”

Rubin introduced the opening speaker, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere.

While LaRosiliere wasn’t there to provide solutions, he was there to offer his support in “a city that believes everyone matters.”

He said that all elderly communities have concerns about affordable housing, their finances and health, but acknowledged the LGBT community has “an extra layer you have to contend with.”

“As a city, we will continue to foster our relationship” with the LGBT community, LaRosiliere said, “and find ways we as a community can collaborate.”

Aging Coalition founder Cannon Flowers said in the LGBT community, people on the margins are treated harshly. He defined the margins as those under 21 and those over 45.

“We discriminate in our own community,” Flowers said.

University of North Texas LGBT researcher Bart Poche gave some of the statistics. Currently, about 143,000 aging LGBT people live in North Texas. That number will grow to more than 200,000 over the next decade. Of those, some groups are more marginalized than others. One in three transgender people have been turned away from shelters and are four times more likely to live below the poverty line than the community in general, for example.

One problem addressed at the conference was discrimination in healthcare and housing. Some LGBT elders go back into the closet so they’re not discriminated by healthcare workers or in assisted living.

In a breakout session on improving the social lives of elders to improve their health and quality of life, lots of ideas emerged. Among the suggestions was a buddy program that was successful during the height of the AIDS epidemic. The program would pair a younger person with an older person to help with a variety of needs.

Flowers said during the break out that it’s the policy of the Coalition not to recreate or reinvent services that were out there. So he liked a suggestion at existing groups help create social events targeted at or inclusive of LGBT elderly. One example came from someone from DIVA, the volleyball organization. They recently held a volleyball event for people 45 and older that brought together former DIVA members and others who hadn’t played the game in years.

A breakout session on housing addressed problems faced by LGBT elders in assisted living and nursing care. While most facilities welcome LGBT residents, that welcome is often not much more than acceptance. No programming is available at any facility in the area that addresses LGBT interests.

Moderator Robert Emery noted that the Coalition is creating an equality index this year that will be sent out to all senior facilities in North Texas.

Other panels address transgender, legal, caregiving and legislative issues.

Mike McKay, former Resource Center CEO and current regional manager for the Peace Corps, said, “One thing we all have in common is we’re all aging.”

He summed up the conference with three takeaway ideas:

Change: Figure out how you can change to make your life better as you age.

Connect: Connect to your community by working together with others, through organizations, churches or friends.

Contribute: Whether that’s financially or with your time, especially on legislative issues in the upcoming legislative session.

A Tarrant County summit will be held in Arlington on Nov. 12.

—  David Taffet

Dallas prayer services, Tyler memorial gathering set

ORLANDO-STRONG

AT SMU

SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and the SMU Office of the Chaplain and Religious life will host A Midday Service of Lament and Prayer in Response to the Tragedy in Orlando, at noon Wednesday, June 15, in Perkins Chapel, 5901 Bishop Blvd.

Dr. Mark Stamm, professor of Worship at Perkins, and SMU Chaplain Steven Rankin will lead the service, which is free and open to the public.

AT RESTLAND

Restland Funeral Home will host an Interfaith Hour of Prayer on Thursday, June 16, beginning at 7 p.m., to give those grieving over the Sunday morning shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando an opportunity to pray for the victims and their families.

Those of all faiths are invited to come light a candle and say a prayer for the victims and their families. There will be a guest register available for attendees to sign, and that book will be sent to Orlando to be shared with the survivors and the families of all the victims.

The service will be held at Restland Memorial Chapel, 130005 Greenville Ave. For information call 972-238-7111.

IN TYLER

Also on Thursday, TAG (Tyler Area Gays, East Texas PFLAG, Pineywoods Voice/Tyler Transgender Support Group, East Texas Islamic Society and Life Covenant Church will join forces to hold a peaceful event, pledging non-violence, to remember and honor the Orlando victims. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Bergfeld Park in Tyler.

The groups “welcome all to stand in a united front against hate, intolerance and senseless violence here and across all borders.” The event will include the reading of the names of all 49 people killed in the attack, following by a moment of silence.

—  Tammye Nash

Gay SMU Dean David Chard named president of Wheelock College

David ChardDavid Chard, the first dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, will become president of Wheelock College in Boston in July 1.

Chard, who is gay, will be the college’s 14th president.

Founded in 1888, Wheelock College focuses on preparing students for careers in education, social work and child life.

“Chard stood out not only for his outstanding leadership at Southern Methodist University, but for his innovative thinking, focus on diversity and inclusion, and lifelong commitment to education,” said Kate Taylor, chair of the Wheelock College Board of Trustees.

SMU President Gerald Turner praised Chard’s work elevating the Simmons to national prominence.

“David Chard has been the ideal dean to build the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development as a national resource with a particular impact on our community,” Turner said in a statement. “He has led programs and attracted research funding that will strengthen the quality of education through evidence-based practices. He has made the Simmons school a strategic partner with the community in improving education opportunities for under-served young people. He is a national leader in education. We wish him the best of success at Wheelock.”

One of those strategic partnerships includes the SMU Center for Family Counseling at Resource Center. The partnership, which has been operating since 2008, allows graduate counseling students to provide counseling services under the supervision of doctoral licensed university faculty and staff at Resource Center.

“David is a very, very, very good friend,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said. “I was introduced to him early on when I was at Resource Center and he was at SMU. We’ve worked closely together and also developed a business relationship.”

Cox, who also serves on the Simmons School’s executive committee, said Chard’s being openly gay was a positive step for the university.

“His being openly gay was instrumental in raising awareness of and influencing positive efforts regarding the LGBT community,” Cox added. “When you have a seat at the table, you have a say.”

Chard will also be one of the few out leaders of a private, four-year college or university in the country. Others include Sterling College’s Matthew Derr, president of the rural environmental liberal arts college in Vermont and Nancy Roseman, president of Dickinson College, a Pennsylvania liberal arts college.

Chard was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education in 2012 and elected chair. The board oversees and directs the work of the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Steven Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be appointing an interim dean prior to Dean Chard’s departure from SMU. A search committee will look for Chard’s replacement through the 2016-17 school year.

—  James Russell

Meadows Museum accepting applications for Moss/Chumley Award

Screen shot 2015-11-03 at 12.54.40 PMThe Meadows Museum at SMU is accepting applications through Nov. 11 from area artists for the Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award.

The award is given annually to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited professionally for at least 10 years and who has a proven track record as an active community advocate for the visual arts.

The cash prize for the award is $2,500.

The competition is accepting entries in the genres of drawing, painting, sculpture, assemblage, construction, video, photography, performance and installation. To be eligible, an artist must live in either Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant or Wise county.

Download an application here. If you have questions, call Nicole Atzbach at 214-768-4490 or email her at natzbach@smu.edu. Or call Shelley DeMaria at 214-768-4246, or email her at sdemaria@smu.edu.

The winner will be announced at a private museum event Dec. 9.

—  Tammye Nash

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