KY jolly: Gay man to lead major Southern city

This just in from the Victory Fund:

Kentucky’s second-largest city has elected an openly gay man as its next mayor. Vice-Mayor Jim Gray was victorious tonight in his second campaign for the city’s top job, beating incumbent Mayor Jim Newberry.

BREAKING: Lexington, Kentucky elects openly gay mayor [Gay Politics]




Good As You

—  admin

From The Southern Comfort Conference: Interview With Allison Robinson

I have about four or so interviews from the Southern Comfort Conference (SCCATL — the conference Pam’s House Blend baristas attended last month in Atlanta, Georgia) accomplished, and I’m just beginning to process these videos.

I feel very honored (and a bit humbled too) in calling Allyson Robinson my friend. This video below — the first I’m posting from SCCATL — is an interview of the HRC’s Allyson Robinson. She is the Associate Director of Diversity for the Human Rights Campaign, and a board member of the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE). In the interview we discuss what she does in those positions not only for the transgender community, but for the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.

Allyson’s personal history seems incredibly interesting to me. She’s attended West Point, graduating after four-years of schooling there. She then served in the Army as a Patriot Missile Battery Officer for an additional five-years — so total time committed to U.S. Army was nine-years. After her service, she became a American Baptist Minister in Portugal — later completing seminary.

Near the end of the video, Allyson and I discuss privilege — she discussed it in terms of ethics and morality. Her take on privilege seems a very powerful statement to me. Her quote on privilege from the video (emphasis added):

Autumn: Now you have a comment that you make…You have a concept about what you with privilege. I’m always fascinated — You mentioned something about if you have privilege, what do you do with it?

Allyson: Well, this kind of rose out of the same issue of representing a community. Whether it’s to an organization as a diversity officer in the context of a training event, and being there as an example of the trans community.

I recognize very clearly — largely because of the work that I did in ministry in some of the poorest communities in Europe where the first context of ministry for us was that I have a tremendous amount of privilege. And then when I transitioned, my privilege only became clearer.

I tell a story about — I was living in Texas at the time when I first began my transition, and driving home from an event one evening. Very, very late. Presenting as female when I hardly ever presented as female, and having this thought of “What would happen if a Texas State Trooper pulled me over right now for speeding?”

I suddenly became the safest driver in all of Texas.

Autumn: *Laughs*

Allyson: And when I called my sister the next day to tell her about this experience, she said “Well, honey, I’ve always done this when I drive at night. I’ve always had to be concerned about these things.”

It was a recognition moment — a light bulb moment for me — about my male privilege.

And so, taking that awareness and that understanding, and filtering that through the kind of ethical training that I had in ministry, I came to the conclusion that really the only ethical thing — the only moral thing — to do with privilege, when you know you have it, is to give it away. To give it away on behalf of people who have less than you do.

It’s a powerful statement — this statement on what to do with the privileges one knows one has — that very much resonates with me.

The batteries in my video camera went dead right pretty much right after that comment by Allyson, so the video ends rather abruptly. I didn’t do a second take to add my usual my closing comment of “So this is Autumn Sandeen with Pam’s House Blend, with Allyson Robinson saying ‘Bye!’” So, if the abrupt end bothers you, you can just mentally add that sign-off comment right after the interview ends. Emoticon: Toothy smile
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Greetings from Southern Comfort in Atlanta

Greetings blenders from balmy Atlanta, where the 20th annual Southern Comfort Conference is about to get underway.

There is something for everyone on the SCC. Whatever your connection to the transgender community – whether you are transsexual, a cross dresser or in between; a spouse, a partner or a family member; straight, gay, bi or omni-sexual; post-op, pre-op or non-op; young or old; married or single; FtM or MtF – if transgender is an issue in your life, you are welcome!

Autumn and I arrived on the scene today, and Pam will join us tomorrow.  Posting will be a bit light until Thursday evening due to the untimely spillage of coffee on Autumn’s laptop, which happened after Amtrak lost her luggage and before she learned that our hotel reservation was MIA.  After hearing Autumn’s tale of travelers woe cheerfully retold, the hotel graciously upgraded us to a suite.

In the mean time, here’s a little teaser photo posted to the Blend from one of the Crown Plaza’s much appreciated lobby computers.  Monica Helms and Autumn Sandeen are modeling the temporary interview studio now set up in the Pam’s House Blend suite.  Monica was our first interview guest.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Southern Style Granite won’t work with gay people

My first diary entry!

I live in Baton Rouge.  And I love Louisiana, and honestly, most of the people here are wonderful people.  But then you see something like this:

http://rjwblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/anti-gay-baton-rouge-granite-co-in-stone-age/

For those who don't click the link, it's the story of a gay couple being refused service at a granite shop (Southern Style Granite) for being gay.  It's kind of become an issue in the gay community around here.  I'm not in the market for granite, or really in the know, but I thought I could at least speak up. 

This is why its upsetting that our city council couldn't even pass the One Baton Rouge resolution this summer (more here: http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/99499484.html.  Its our local paper's piece about it…try not to gag as you read the comments).  One Baton Rouge was nothing more than basically our city council saying that Baton Rouge welcomes and appreciates its LGBT community.  It was a gesture, not even an ordinance.  But people said we didn't need it, and etc etc; meanwhile, FIFTY-FIVE pastors felt motivated to take out an entire page ad speaking out against the One Baton Rouge resolution (pdf of the document here: http://lafamilyforum.us/docs/10-LFF-0017.pdf). One of the shining quotes: “This is our point: homosexuals deserve love and forgiveness but not special recognition in something the Scripture is clear about being sin. We believe you are being encouraged to press an agenda that has long-range implications. We plead with you to drop this agenda. It will divide good-hearted citizens whose consciences are offended by a resolution that is wholly unnecessary.” 

Clearly, the resolution was NOT unnecessary, and Southern Style Granite's actions are FAR from good-hearted.

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Growing Up a Gay Southern Baptist

Crossposted From RepealNOW.

I was born to very young parents, my mother was eighteen and my father was seventeen. Actually, I was three months old at my fathers High School graduation. The idea of religion was not something that began very strongly in my childhood. My father, after joining the Air Force, moved to Oklahoma and my mother and I soon followed. Being that my parents were young it wasn't until I got older that we began going to church. I remember my first trip to church that I remember with my aunt and uncle. I remember many things from that time, one of them was accepting jesus into my heart.
I spent the next decade trying to be the best christian I could be. My parents had moved back to a small town from which they grew up when I was ten and I began attending Pisgah Baptist Church. Pisgah was a Southern Baptist denominational church led by a great pastor named David. David used to speak to me something fierce. I remember my faith sparkled with passion during that time. Maybe that is why David is today the Executive Director of the Missouri Branch of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now I do not know what Dr. Tollivers personal views are on the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” but I can tell you that I remember these words coming from his mouth at the pulpit.
“Homosexuals CAN not get into heaven, they will burn eternally in hell.”
I remember that moment, and I will never forget it. That was the moment that my personal relationship with what I now call, “so-called” god began to fade.
I continued to attempt to grow as a strong christian. I was good friends with David's son, and actually sang in a praise band with him. His wife Myra was the Choir Director for the church, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in her productions. I loved the missionary trips that we went on and leaned on this family for a while.
I sometimes wonder if had the people in that church known that I was gay would they have treated me as they did? Would they have treated me badly? I know my parents never thought they would have a gay son, and they did not know how to deal with it at first, but they feel much different today. I think, or hope Dr. Tolliver would do the same if his son Adam were ever to come out as a gay man.
This brings me to the present. I am in the army serving in a war zone staring at pictures of the man who's few words propelled me to become the person I am today. Had he not put me on the journey of self-hatred, I would have never studied so much, or questioned so much, and most likely would still be a member of the church.
But there he is, put me in the shoes that I am now, and still trying to take me out of those shoes, now boots. The Southern Baptist Convention is by far the largest group supporting the effort to stop repeal of “don't ask, don't tell.”
“If a policy makes it more difficult–in fact, discourages–one of the groups that provides one of the largest numbers of chaplains to the military from continuing to engage in chaplaincy ministry, that should raise significant concerns for them about the … spiritual well-being of our men and women in uniform,” said Barrett Duke, vice president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

I do not think that all nor most Southern Baptists are bad people, just as I feel about the Mormon Church, but I do believe that the institution of the Church has way too much political power in our daily lives. I spent many years of my life trying to “fix” myself for god. Then I gave up, on god, and the church. Now I am fighting the forces of the same church to serve my country.
When does it end? When do we quit relying on these fables and myths to determine the laws of our country. I am all for freedom of expression, but to an extent. That extent is when it intrudes on my life. When it encroaches my privacy, and my livelihood.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Readers Voice Awards – Travel


RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST BED AND BREAKFAST


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-522-4692
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.
DaisyPolkInn.com

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block

 



BEST ROMANTIC GETAWAY
New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
NewOrleansCVB.com
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT

 

A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs.
aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow

 


BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
888-872-8356
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Travelocity.com

BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
972-241-2000
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BestGayCruises.com


BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN
La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
800-642-4271
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
LQ.com


BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN
Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
800-774-1500
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Hilton.com


BEST DALLAS HOTEL
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
888-625-5144
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
WHotels.com/Dallas


BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE
SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
800-258-3826
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
SuperShuttle.com

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
888-875-7596
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
RainbowRanch.net

BEST LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATION
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
214-747-6660
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.
JFK.org

BEST LOCAL TOURIST TRAP
West End Historical District
214-741-7180
DallasWestEnd.org

BEST VACATION SPOT TO GET LAID
Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:
Palm-Springs.org


BEST EXOTIC DESTINATION
Hawaii
Official tourism site: GoHawaii.com

‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ DESTINATION
Jamaica
Visitor Web site: ComeToJamaica.com

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

—  admin