Southwest Airlines honors Pride month with video featuring gay trans man employee

Ethan Avanzino is a gay trans man working for Southwest Airlines. This month, the Dallas-based airline honored National LGBT Pride month with this video featuring Ethan. “Southwest celebrates me and all my uniqueness,” Ethan says.

A post on the Southwest Airlines Facebook page notes, “Southwest Airlines University is a place where Employees come to learn and grow. One Southwest Employee shares his passion for his work, and the love and respect shared between him and his Southwest Family.” And in a comment, “We are dedicated to providing our Southwest Family a work environment where they can be themselves and be recognized for the unique perspectives they each bring forward.”

Thanks Southwest, for celebrating Pride with us.

—  Tammye Nash

Southwest Airlines brings in Jason Collins for Pride Month event

Collins at Southwest

Jason Collins

Former NBA player Jason Collins is headlining Southwest Airlines’ LGBT Pride Month Celebration today (Wednesday, June 24), at the airline’s Dallas Love Field headquarters.

Collins will will “share his personal journey as an openly gay player in the NBA,” according to a statement released this week by Southwest. The statement noted that the airline’s 2015 Pride event focuses on “Pride in Your Authentic Self,” and will include discussion on being an effective ally for the LGBT community. The event is open to employees of Southwest Airlines and Accenture.

Ellen Torbert, Southwest Airlines’ vice president of diversity and inclusion, said the airline is “proud of our commitment to the communities we serve. We have been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and are pleased to champion their work to promote inclusive environments, and we are proud of the relationships we have with our local, regional and national community partners. These nonprofit organizations work hard to make a positive difference in the LGBT community.”

Southwest Airlines, now in its 44th year, has more than 47,000 employees and

—  Tammye Nash

Richard Branson crowdsurfs for Virgin at Love


Sir Richard, body surfing at The Rustic

If I ever thought I’d never live to see a British knight crowdsurf after a tequila shot, I would have been wrong.

On Monday night, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group (a minority shareholder in Virgin America, but the visionary behind its service) was in Dallas at The Rustic, trying to garner support for the ability of the airline to begin flying out of Love Field when the Wright Amendment expires this October.

It seemed like a done deal when I reported it about two weeks ago: There were some formalities, but the agreement has been reached. But a campaign to prevent the flights out of two gates at Love (to L.A., S.F., NYC and D.C.) led Virgin and Branson to hurriedly schedule this schmoozefest to generate buzz for their “Free Love Field” campaign (including website and petition). You can hear part of Branson’s speech below.

Branson In Dallas

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Southwest is sharin’ the Love … with a Virgin

VA at LoveIt’s official: Starting this fall, Dallas will make Love to a Virgin.

The seven-year-old Virgin America airline, which has been flying out of DFW Airport since 2010, will take over two gates at Love Field in a deal with American Airlines. It’s something of an inside deal, since Donald J.  Carty, chairman of VA since its inception in 2007, used to be the head of AMR, AA’s parent company.

To introduce the new routes and schedules, VA is using a promotional $79 fare this weekend for its nonstop flights out of Love to not only L.A. and San Francisco, where it has long serviced via DFW, but also New York and Washington’s Reagan National.

And for those who haven’t flown Virgin, it is a delight, with the lighting of a disco, music, wired seating and wifi available on all flights.

The Wright Amendment, which has long stifled long-haul flights out of Love Field, expires in October. A multi-million dollar renovation of the history airport has been underway, and should be all but finished by the time the new service begins.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fly coast to coast from Oak Lawn’s Love Field this fall

Wright_MAP__2_Oak Lawn residents can look forward to plenty of additional noise this fall when the Wright Amendment expires and airline service to both coasts resumes after 38 years.

On Monday morning, Southwest Airlines announced 15 new nonstop destinations it will add to its schedule from Dallas Love Field beginning in October.

The city of Dallas, which owns and operates Love Field, recently completed a renovation and expansion of the main terminal in anticipation of additional service.

The Wright Amendment restricted flights from Love Field to other Texas cities and the four contiguous states — Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. A few destinations beyond those states have been added over the last decade.

The law was passed, ostensibly, to protect DFW Airport, but its sponsor, Rep. Jim Wright of Fort Worth, wanted to make sure flights were accessible to his side of the Metroplex and didn’t favor Dallas. The Wright Amendment has been in effect since 1979, three years after DFW Airport opened.

Five new nonstop destinations will be added on Oct. 13:

Chicago — Midway
Las Vegas

Ten new nonstop destinations will be added on Nov. 2:

Ft. Lauderdale
Los Angeles — LAX
New York — LaGuardia
Orange County/Santa Ana
San Diego
Washington — National

Southwest is a corporate LGBT ally and received the Corporate Ally Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at Creating Change in Houston on Sunday.

—  David Taffet

GLBT Chamber announces recipients of 2012 Business Excellence Awards

Rob Wiley P.C.

Rob Wiley

The Law Office of Rob Wiley, Jeremy Bradford, Cooper Smith Koch, Kristopher Parker and Southwest Airlines have been named recipients of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business Excellence Awards.

The awards will be presented during the eighth annual Business Excellence Awards Dinner: A Tapestry of Business Equality on April 25 at eM The Venue.

“The Awards Review Committee had the nearly impossible task of choosing only six honorees from many excellent nomination; they did an outstanding job,” said Ron Watterson, chairman of the North
Texas GLBT Chamber Board of Directors. “Each year the Chamber awards are said to ‘recognize the best of who we are as business and community leaders.’ I believe that this year’s recipients have defined a new standard of excellence in business and service to the community.”

Here’s more on the recipients:

—  David Taffet

GLBT Chamber hosts Business Expo, a chance to “get away from the elections”

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce expects this evening’s Business Expo at the Melrose to be its largest.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to meet GLBT chamber members and allies,” Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda said.

He said this year’s event will feature more exhibitors than ever and has expanded beyond just the ballroom into the Oak Lawn Room as well.

A broad spectrum of businesses and organizations will be represented. Community groups like AIDS Arms and C.U.R.E. will have tables. Southwest Airlines and major banks as well as professional services such as attorneys and therapists will be represented.

The event began as a mixer for Chamber members but has grown to an events attended by hundreds, Vedda said.

“Following the election, a large number of people in the community should be in a good mood,” he said. “Thankfully we can get away from the elections now.”

He invited people to come for a cocktail and meet and mingle with some local LGBT businesspeople. Valet parking and the event are free.

Melrose Hotel. Nov. 7. 4:30–7 p.m. Free.

—  David Taffet

Concert Notice (kinda): Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey to perform DJ set at Winstons


Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey of Uh Huh Her

Unless you are a lesbian living under a rock, you know who Leisha Hailey is. And if you don’t she played the character Alice in the Showtime series The L Word. Hailey made national headlines back in September when she and partner/bandmate Camila Grey were kicked off a Southwest Airlines plane for “excessive kissing.” Hailey tweeted about the incident and called for a boycott of the Dallas-based airline.

Since the debacle, Hailey and Grey have been concentrating on their band Uh Huh Her. Hailey and Grey are scheduled to guest DJ at Winstons Supperclub Aug. 19 as part of the Modern Love Tour.

The Modern Love Tour features world renowned DJ’s Kim Anh and Saratonin. The duo started this tour in celebration of this year’s Pride and are slated to travel to cities around the US and Canada. Other high-profile artists on the tour include singers Sia and Austra.

“We are in the age of Modern Love, let’s celebrate that love and celebrate our freedom to be out and proud,” as stated on the website. Hey, we agree.

Early bird tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the door with meet and greet tickets available for $75. Reminder, this is not an Uh Huh Her concert, but a guest DJ set. We got to see them way back in October as part of the Keep A Breast tour. But this night should be interesting to see how the two dish out music as DJs over creating music as Uh Huh Her.


—  admin

The 10 most viewed posts of 2011


Hate crime victim Burke Burnett

In this coming Friday’s Year in Review issue of Dallas Voice, we’ll recap all of the top news and entertainment stories from 2011. But for now, below are the 10 posts from this year that generated the most page views on

1. Gay man stabbed with broken beer bottle, thrown onto fire in apparent hate crime in Reno, TX

2. Larry and KC Jansson found love in the midst of anti-gay ‘reparative’ therapy

3. LISTEN: Southwest Airlines pilot’s anti-gay, mysoginistic rant over stuck cockpit microphone

4. PIC OF THE DAY: Gov. Rick Perry deep-throats corn dog at the Iowa State Fair

5. Anthony, your wiener isn’t that big a deal

6. WATCH: Rick Perry’s anti-gay Iowa ad

7. An open letter to the Texas A&M Student Senate, signed ‘An Aggie No More’

8. New rumor: Is Rick Perry ex-gay?

9. Southwest Airlines pilot James Taylor of Argyle apologizes for anti-gay, misogynistic rant

10. VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech today on LGBT rights

—  John Wright

Southwest CEO on lesbian actress’ removal from flight: ‘We’re not trying to dictate social norms’

Gary Kelly, CEO of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, is standing behind an SWA flight crew’s decision to remove lesbian actress Leisha Hailey and her partner from a plane on Monday after they were observed kissing.

After Hailey, who starred in The L-Word and is a member of the band Uh Huh Her, called for a boycott of the airline on Twitter, SWA released a statement describing the kissing as “excessive.”

Hailey responded with a statement saying it was “one, modest kiss,” before the airline issued a follow-up saying the couple was removed from the flight during a stop in El Paso due to their “aggressive reaction,” including loud use of “profane language.”

Hailey’s publicist tells Instant Tea that the actress isn’t doing interviews about the incident, but Kelly (pictured) discussed it with The Houston Chronicle on Wednesday.

“We’re not trying to dictate social norms,” Kelly told the Chronicle. “Any of us have boundaries that we think people should behave within. …

“I think our people try very hard to accommodate the needs and the wishes of our customers, and they make judgments of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate,” Kelly said. “In all cases, we do the best we can to take care of our customers and if we can’t get them where they need to go, obviously we’re apologetic for that. … 

“It’s very difficult to script out exactly how one should deal with any particular circumstance.”

—  John Wright