SMU sends 18 to Midwest LGBT conference

Iowa State University is hosting the 2012 Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay Transgender Ally College Conference Feb. 10-12. One student from Texas Women’s University, 17 from Southern Methodist University’s LGBT group Spectrum and an SMU professor are attending, according to the Daily Campus. Spectrum Co-President Harvey Luna put the group together after attending last year’s conference, according to the SMU newspaper.

Karen Click at SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives called it a national conference for student leaders. She said this is the second year SMU has participated.

“They come back inspired to create change on campus,” she said.

Registration for the event is $80 per person and the group chartered a bus from Dallas.

“The SMU Student Senate paid for them to go,” Click said.

The MBLGTACC conference began in 1991 and takes place annually in the upper Midwest. The goal is to learn new strategies to face problems LGBT students face on campus daily.

Two weeks ago, Youth First Texas hosted a conference of North Texas gay-straight alliances.

—  David Taffet

“Country Gravy” dishes out relationship advice at Theater LaB Houston

Julia Laskowski and Patti Rabaza play the fiesty southern ladies with an opinion on everything

Anyone who’s lived in the south long enough knows this woman. She may be found at the local beauty salon, or in the canned foods aisle at the Piggly Wiggly, and her attendance at church potlucks is mandatory. Wherever you find her she knows exactly what you’re doing wrong in your relationship and how to fix it. From January 13 through 29 you can see her and her friends in all their glory in Country Gravy and Other Obsessions at Theater LaB Houston (1706 Alamo), produced by Magic Butterfly Productions. Co-writers and stars Julia Kay Laskowski and Patti Rabaza play two Texas women who decide that their myriad opinions on matters of the heart qualify them to lead a relationship seminar. When their antiquated attitudes meet real-world relationships musical hilarity ensues.

The original production features Aaron Ellisor on the piano and is directed and choreographed by Michael Tapley. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling the theater Box Office at 713-868-7516

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‘Hold Your Peace’ Dallas premiere tonight at Angelika

Free movie? Yes, please

When Southern Methodist University alum Wade McDonald set out to make his debut feature film, the one thing he didn’t want to do was make a “typical” gay film: No naked boys as the selling point, no ridiculous gay-angst drama, no coming-out story. McDonald loves romantic comedies and wanted to make his own — just with men.

His plan worked. The result, Hold Your Peace, seems to have resonated with audiences.

Read the entire article here.

DEETS: Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Free (passes at Buli or Skivvies). HoldYourPeaceMovie.com.

—  Rich Lopez

ANNIVERSARY • CUEVAS-CUSIMANO

Leo-and-Tony-30-yearsCUEVAS-CUSIMANO |  Tony Cuevas and Leo Cusimano celebrated their 30th anniversary on Monday, Sept. 12. Cuevas works for Southern Methodist University. Cusimano is advertising director for Dallas Voice. The couple live in Oak Cliff with their two sons, Elijah and JJ.

—  Kevin Thomas

Applause: Stage pink

Queer highlights from the upcoming theater season

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Anticipation should be strong for the upcoming theater season in general. Ambitious shows like Giant, The Tempest, West Side Story and Hairspray all dot the stage horizon.
But we also like to see some of our own up there. As we look over the upcoming offerings from local theater companies, we always ask, “Where’s the gay?”  In addition to Uptown Players’ first  Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival, here are some of the others.

……………………….

Fall

Although the Dallas Opera canceled the opera she was set to star in, lesbian soprano Patricia Racette will still perform at a TDO gala. (Photo Devon Cass)

Singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik gave an indie music flair to the musical adaptation of the 1891 play Spring Awakening. Set in 19th century Germany, Awakening follows a group of youths as they discover more about themselves and their rapidly developing sexuality.

The original Frank Wedekind play was controversial in its day, depicting abortion, homosexuality, rape and suicide. Now the show just has an added rock ‘n’ roll score. Along with Sheik’s musical perspective, Steven Slater wrote the book and lyrics in this updated version which debuted in 2006 on Broadway and won the Tony for Best Musical. Terry Martin directs.

WaterTower Theater, 15650 Addison Road., Addison. Sept. 30–Oct. 23. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

It’s almost un-Texan if you’re gay and not familiar with Del Shores’ tales of Southern discomfort.  Southern Baptist Sissies and Sordid Lives are pretty much part of the queer vernacular in these parts, but Shores got his start way back in 1987.

How will those northern folks take to Shores work (And by north, we mean past Central Expressway past LBJ)? Jeni Helms directs Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will for McKinney Repertory Theatre this fall. As the family patriarch suffers a stroke, the Turnover family gathers as they wait for his death. This family may just put the fun in dysfunctional.

McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. Sept. 30–Oct. 7. McKinneyRep.org.

WingSpan Theatre Co. will produce one of the greater comedies of theater-dom this fall: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with Nancy Sherrard sparring over the gay wit’s price bon mots as Lady Bracknell.

Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Oct. 6–22. WingSpanTheatre.com.

Although A Catered Affair might sound a bit like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it has the added flair of Harvey Fierstein’s wit. That’s because he wrote the book for the show alongside John Bucchino’s music and lyrics. The play is based on the Gore Vidal-penned 1956 film The Catered Affair starring Bette Davis.

When Jane and Ralph decide to get married, Jane’s mom Agnes wants to put on an elaborate spectacle of a wedding. The truth is, she can’t afford it and Jane isn’t all too thrilled about a huge affair. As in most cases, the wedding planning is more about the mom than the daughter and Agnes soon realizes the fact. Jane’s Uncle Winston — the proverbial gay uncle — is left off the guest list and is rightfully pissed. But as most gay characters, he rallies to be the voice of reason and support.

Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street, Ste.168. Oct. 13–Nov. 12. Theatre3Dallas.com.

Lesbian soprano Patricia Racette was going to be featured in the production of Katya Kabanová but unfortunately the show was canceled by the Dallas Opera. But fear not. Dallas will still get to bask in the greatness that is her voice as Racette will perform An Evening with Patricia Racette, a cabaret show with classics from the Great American Songbook for a patron recital.

Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Nov. 9. DallasOpera.org

………………………….

Spring

Nancy Sherrard will star as Lady Bracknell in WIngSpan Theater Co.’s fall production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ perhaps the greatest comedy ever written by theaterdom’s gayest wit.

Kevin Moriarty directs Next Fall for the Dallas Theater Center next spring. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, the play centers on Luke and Adam, a couple with some unusual issues. What’s new about that in gay couplehood? Not much, but when Adam’s an absolute atheist and Luke’s a devout Christian, the two have been doing their best to make it work.
The comedy played on Broadway in 2010, garnering Tony and Drama Desk nominations. And now Dallas gets to see how, as DTC puts it, “relationships can be a beautiful mess.”
Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. April 13–May 6. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

Perhaps the most surprising queer offering this next season is Theatre Arlington’s production of The Laramie Project. The show usually creates quite a stir — at least it did in Tyler, thanks to Trinity Wheeler — so how will this suburban audience handle it? Doesn’t matter. Props to T.A. for taking Moises Kaufman’s play about the tragic bashing and death of Matthew Shepard to its community.

Theatre Arlington, 305 W. Main St., Arlington. May 18–June 3. TheatreArlington.org.

Usually the question with MBS Productions is “what’s not gay?” Founder Mark-Brian Sonna has consistently delivered tales of gay woe and love that are sometimes silly and sometimes sweet, but always a laugh.

This season is no different. Playwright Alejandro de la Costa brings back drag queen Lovely Uranus in The Importance of Being Lovely. The last time we saw Uranus, Sonna wore the stilettos and pink wig in last season’s Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp.  This time around, Uranus graduates to leading lady status as the show is all about her as audiences follow her through the changes she makes in her make-up, wigs and men.

Stone Cottage Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. July 16–Aug. 11, 2012. MBSProductions.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Can Marriage Be Saved From Southern Christians?

NOM’s at it again. National Organization for Marriage continues to push a push a false, ridiculous message that their cause of stopping gays from getting married is in some way linked to an epidemic of single-parent homes. Tweeting this just minutes ago:

#USA #Today: children need mother and father to thrive; out-of-wedlock births are out of control. #NO4M #Marriage #TCOT

Turns out a new study has some interesting empirical data for these culture warriors. Seems the problem isn’t the gays. It’s the Christians, from the deep south.

Cross-Posted at Daily Kos, please rec if you can.
The Daily Texan report Conservative Christians divorce more, study says

Divorce is more common among conservative Christians and young people, according to a recent study.

University of Iowa sociology professor Jennifer Glass presented her study on skyrocketing divorce rates in regions highly populated with conservative Christians to an overflowing crowd in Burdine Hall on Friday.

“Politically and religiously conservative states, especially in the Deep South, exhibit higher divorce rates than politically and religiously liberal states in the Northeast and Midwest,” Glass wrote in her study.

National Organization for Marriage has been been pushing this false meme since forever, from the amicus brief filed they (pdf)

Single parenthood began its rapid spread during the 1960s, when elite attitudes toward sex, marriage, divorce, and parenthood were undergoing a dramatic change. . . . In the space of a decade we moved from thinking that society ought to discourage extramarital sex, and especially out-of-wedlock births, to thinking that such efforts were an unwarranted infringement on personal liberty.

James Dobson of the Family Research Council warned us in 2004:

The legalization of homosexual marriage will quickly destroy the traditional family.

We’ve already seen evidence from the Scandinavian countries that de-facto homosexual marriage destroys the real Mc Coy. These two entities cannot coexist because they represent opposite ends of the universe.

Meanwhile, in the known universe, turns out same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage co-exist very nicely. Wall Street Journal reported statistic compiled by the US Census shows the state that first started marrying gays in 2006, Massachusetts, continues enjoys the lowest divorce rate in the country (and it’s going down). In fact, other marriage equality states like Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. all fare quite low.

Meanwhile the 31 states that have passed gay marriage bans, Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada, Arkansas, West Virginia are in the highest bracket. It seems your work to “save marriage” is actually, counter-productive.

Just stop with the lying Maggie. Stopping gays from getting married with have no effect on the divorce rate of heterosexuals or the number of children being raised in single-parent homes. The empirical data suggests quite the opposite, in fact.

If you’re interested in slowing the trend of single-parent homes, maybe turn your money, legislative meddling and busy-body activity to Southern states with lots of Fundamentalist Christians?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Southern Conservative Christians Divorce More

So, now that we know via this study that conservative Christians in the deep south divorce more, what are we going to do, as a nation, to save the institution of marriage?

Divorce is more common among conservative Christians and young people, according to a recent study.

University of Iowa sociology professor Jennifer Glass presented her study on skyrocketing divorce rates in regions highly populated with conservative Christians to an overflowing crowd in Burdine Hall on Friday.

“Politically and religiously conservative states, especially in the Deep South, exhibit higher divorce rates than politically and religiously liberal states in the Northeast and Midwest,” Glass wrote in her study.

So, while conservative Christians claim their marriages are superior because “God is (supposedly) in the mix,” they are getting divorced at higher rates than their more progressive counterparts. Facts never get in the way of conservatives claiming their behavior is superior and that they are somehow the authority on, well, just about everything. It would be nice if actual informative facts from a study like this would end the debate with conservative Christians about gay marriage, but I’m not going to hold my breath. You see, they have faith their marriages are superior to gay marriages no matter how many times they’ve been divorced, and all logic and facts be damned.




AMERICAblog Gay

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Southern Poverty Law Center is making wingnut Matt Barber delirious

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

m barbdr You want to hear the funniest reaction from the religious right to the Southern Poverty Law Center profiling them for their anti-gay lies? Check this out:

Sometimes the most effective way to deal with a bully is to simply pop him in the chops. While it may not shut him up entirely, it usually gives him pause before he resumes flapping his toxic jaws. It also has the effect of showing the other kids in the schoolyard that they have nothing to fear. Though the bully struts about projecting the tough-guy image, he's typically the most insecure pansy on the block.

Such is the case with the bullies over at the fringe-left Southern Poverty Law Center. Having been recently “popped in the chops,” if you will, for a series of hyperbolic and disingenuous “anti-gay hate group” slurs against a dozen-or-so of America's most well respected Christian and conservative organizations – the SPLC now finds itself publicly struggling, outside of an extremist left-wing echo chamber, to salvage a modicum of mainstream credibility.

In response to the SPLC's unprovoked attacks, a unified coalition of more than 150 top conservative and Christian leaders across the country has launched a shock-and-awe “Start Debating, Stop Hating” media blitz to educate America about the SPLC's ad hominem, politically driven smear campaign.

The mainstream pro-family conglomerate already includes presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner, former presidential contender Mike Huckabee, four current U.S. senators, three governors, 20 current or newly elected members of the House of Representatives and many more.

As the controversy wears on and the facts become public, the moribund SPLC has understandably become increasingly defensive, strongly suggesting that it has come to regret this gross political overreach.

That passage is by the right-wing Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber in a recent column published by World Net Daily.  It's obvious that Barber has obsessed over gay sex so much that he is losing leave of his senses.

Barber's entire piece is empty hyperbole from a man claiming to win a poker game while he is playing with a dud hand.

What Barber calls a media blitz is an ignorant campaign by groups who don't want admit their wrongdoings teaming up with a bunch of shortsighted legislators and conservative leaders who themselves have engaged in ugly spin doctoring against the lgbt community . Their campaign hasn't resonated anywhere except for the lgbt community where we are rubbing our hands with glee while salivating over the notion that these individuals so easily (and stupidly) have put their necks on the chopping blocks and are waiting for us to come down with the axe at our leisure.
You see for the first time, the issue is not about whether or not lgbts have the right to equality. That's something which never needed to be argued. The issue is now, and deservedly so, why are these so-called moral groups saying these untrue and thereby unChristian things about the lgbt community.

Not exactly “shock and awe,” is it?

But what's even more hilarious is the fact that Barber actually accuses the SPLC of taking comments out of context:

. . . the SPLC has begun to grease the skids. Quotes cherry picked, taken out of context and misapplied are a powerful tool of the propagandist. Such are the Maoist techniques of the SPLC.

It's interesting how Barber uses that opening to claim that SPLC distorted a comment he made about hate crimes. But he conveniently ignores how the SPLC calls him out regarding the following comment he made:

There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

I would love to hear how that comment is a distortion. Or how about these from other religious right groups profiled by SPLC:

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Then Barber does the standard religious right dodge – citing statistics from the CDC and other health organizations regarding health issues affecting the lgbt community.

Of course Barber conveniently omits the fact that the none of these organizations ever said that the lgbt orientation is indicative of bad health. They have said that homophobia leads to lgbts not getting the information or health care that they need. What Barber is doing is no different than a racist citing health organizations to claim that the African-American community is inferior.

Finally, Barber says the following, which pretty much nails down the fact that he has gone delusional:

Indeed, the SPLC and its allies are flailing violently as they swim upstream against a torrent of settled science, thousands of years of history and the unwavering moral precepts of every major world religion.

It's little wonder they've resorted to childish name calling.

Well Barber ought to know about name-calling. And the irony that he actually talks about “settled science” when he and his organization has gone against “settled science” when demonizing the lgbt community is the very height of audacity.

But lastly, Barber seems to have his fingers in his ears and his eyes closed.  It's sad really. While the Family Research Council tries to fight SPLC, Barber has actually convinced himself that the SPLC and the lgbt community is retreating in this controversy.

Hardly.

The lgbt community has had an excellent year. In courts, we've beaten DOMA and Proposition 8, gay adoption in Florida is now allowed after over two decades, George Rekers, a peddler of anti-lgbt propaganda was taken down, then there is that very interesting that happened this weekend. What was it? Oh yeah, the repeal of DADT after 17 years.

The lgbt community, nor the SPLC, aren't swimming upstream. We are coasting on a hot wave.

And you and your side are coasting, too.  But in the other direction. All of your phoniness about being moral and pro-family while engaging in a 20+ year of lies and propaganda against the lgbt community is finally coming to light.

You aren't just flailing. You are already dead on the water.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Family Research Council plans to go on tour against the Southern Poverty Law Center

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Another interview with another "friendly" publication and the Family Research Council puts its foot in its mouth.

The organization and its leader, Tony Perkins is still steaming over the anti-gay hate group designation given to it and several other religious right groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This week, the organization ran full page ads in Politico and the Washington Examiner calling the designation into question but conveniently not directly addressing the charges that they deliberately spread anti-gay propaganda and junk science to smear the lgbt community.

The ads also had the signatures of over 150 conservative leaders, including over 20 members of Congress.

Yesterday during an interview with Tucker Carlson's Daily Beast, FRC's Perkins made an interesting comment:

“We’re not afraid to debate the issues,” Perkins said in a phone interview. “We are not running from the debate. We are confident on the issues we advocate for based on empirical, peer-reviewed research.”

The comment is highly ironic seeing that the last time Perkins did have a debate on the issue – on the news program Hardball with the SPLC's Mark Potok – he distorted data to make the inaccurate claim that pedophilia and homosexuality is connected. He also cited an organization, the American College of Pediatricians. It was later discovered that the ACP is not a legitimate medical organization but a sham group created to push religious right distortions about the lgbt community.

Hardball's host, Chris Matthews, was forced to give a clarifying statement regarding the ACP on a later broadcast.

 

Since that time, Perkins has pretty much avoided debates, appearing on "friendly" news programs such as  Fox and Friends.  Nor has he been directly addressing SPLC's charges.

That seems to have been left up to the other anti-gay groups listed by SPLC. But unfortunately, their spokespeople haven't been doing such a good job.

This week during an interview with the Concerned Women for America's Martha Kleder, Peter LaBarbera (head of Americans for Truth, another organization cited as a hate group) actually admitted to citing bad studies in order to smear the lgbt community.

Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (yet another group cited by SPLC's for its spreading of anti-gay propaganda) has made statements during interviews and columns that have, to many, justified SPLC for calling his organization and several others out.

During the same Daily Beast interview, Perkins said the organization plans to go on a nationwide tour to get more signatures for its letter. He also said:

We’re going to full-speed but not in the direction they want us to. The left wants to say these issues are beyond debate. If we, as a country, decide there is no debate, it becomes a totalitarian state.” 
 SPLC didn't respond to the Daily Beast's request for a comment * (see below), but the organization already put out a statement regarding the Family Research Council's campaign:
(FRC's letter) was a remarkable performance, given that it was precisely the maligning of entire groups of people — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people — that caused the SPLC to list groups like the FRC.

. . .  Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

Personally, I am all for FRC taking their letter on tour.  That would give the lgbt community the opportunity to ask them several questions such as:

Please explain how the following statements are an example of upholding "Judeo-Christain" moral views:

•Gays should be exported from the country;

•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;

•"Moral perverts" need to be kept out of the military;

•There is nothing "conservative" about "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'";

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•"Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict."



Hat tip to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch.

* Even though SPLC didn't respond to the Daily Beast's request for a quote, the site had an obligation to at least report the fact that SPLC did address FRC's letter. That's what a credible journalist would have  done. Or have I answered my own question in terms of why the Daily Beast didn't report on SPLC's reponse to FRC?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Instead of Helping The Poor, Southern Poverty Law Center Is Being Mean To NOM

Joining the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins in refudiating its addition to the Southern Poverty Law Center's updated list of hate groups, the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown calls his group's inclusion "an absurd distraction emanating from a once-great organization’s real mission." Wait, is he talking about SPLC's attack on NOM, or the Human Rights Campaign's? (NB: SPLC has some of its own questions to answer about its "real mission.")


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