Resource Center schedules DADT repeal reception

Gainer to donate his SLDN archive to the Phil Johnson Library

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Resource Center Dallas will hold a reception on Sept. 20 to mark the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

As part of the event, gay Air Force veteran Dave Guy Gainer will donate his archive of material related to the repeal to the Phil Johnson Library housed at the center.

“I’m reducing the fire load at my house,” Gainer joked.

The donation includes photos, Congressional reports, studies, hand-outs and newspaper articles that fill a number of boxes.

“It’s one of the largest donations we’ve ever gotten from one person,” said Resource Center Dallas Strategic Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell.

Gainer retired from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant before DADT went into effect. He has served as a board member of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network since 2005.Before that he was chapter president of American Veterans for Equal Rights before becoming regional and then national vice president of that organization.

Gainer called the end of DADT the “beginning of a new era.” He said he hopes his donation will help researchers studying the policy as a piece of history.

He said he has already been contacted several times by students writing papers and theses on the topic of gays serving in the military.

“If we can’t tell our stories as a community, we can’t hope to be truly a part of a bigger society,” Gainer said. “It’s important to give documents like these to research libraries to tell our stories factually.”

The reception at the Resource Center runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

McDonnell said the event would honor not just military personnel that were discharged under the DADT policy but all LGBT veterans.

“We specifically want to get word out to get LGBT vets here to say ‘Thank you for your service,’” McDonnell said.

SLDN is compiling a list of events that will take place around the country on Sept. 20, the day that the repeal becomes final. A number of parties are scheduled around Texas.

Most of the celebrations in the state will take place in bars, and after the Resource Center reception, the party in Dallas will move to Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Houston will mark the day with a celebration at JR.’s Bar and Grill, 808 Pacific Street from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The San Antonio repeal party begins at 6 p.m. at Sparky’s Pub, located at 1416 N. Main St.

The organizer of the Austin event wrote that they “expect active-duty service members will attend from Fort Hood and other nearby installations, along with scores of our supporters. Please bring your friends. Anyone 18 and older may attend.”

The statement is signed by “Brigadier General Virgil A. Richard, United States Army (Ret) and Chaplain (Colonel) Paul W. Dodd, United States Army (Ret).”

Ironically, Austin will mark the first day that military personnel can openly speak about being gay or lesbian at a bar called Hush.

Hush is located down the street from the Capitol at 408 N. Congress St. The event begins at 6 p.m. Food will be served and each person who attends will get a free drink.

P-FLAG El Paso organized that city’s celebration with several local LGBT groups. The party will take place at San Antonio Mining Company, 800 East San Antonio Ave. Cake and champagne will be served.

DADT was enacted in 1993 as compromise legislation. Previously gay and lesbian servicemembers who were outed were given dishonorable discharges. The new law was supposed to end anti-gay witch hunts in the military.

The repeal legislation was passed in December 2010. Then each branch of the service had to certify that it had prepared for the change.

On July 22, after the head of each branch of the service had signed off that it was prepared for the repeal, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president and the secretary of defense certified to the armed services committees of both houses of Congress that the military was ready for final enactment.

According to the legislation, the repeal goes into effect 60 days after certification, which falls on Sept. 20.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Uncertainty remains over future funding for ASOs

Clerical error rectified by Dallas County, but some agencies worry that more cuts are coming

Steven Pace

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Although initial reports of cuts in federal funding for meals programs for people with HIV/AIDS turned out to be a clerical error,  at least one Dallas County AIDS service agency still worries that cuts are coming.

Resource Center Dallas Strategic Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell said, “We’re still trying to assess the numbers and trying to see where we are.”

McDonnell said that the food pantry and meals program are not fully funded through government programs.

The agency also relies on a number of other grants from organizations like Mazon and on canned food drives run by community groups and businesses.

“We go into this budget year with a certain amount of uncertainty,” McDonnell said. “We are hopeful there are no cuts. It’s hard to determine if there will be.”

He added that the center will need all those who have supported its programs in the past to continue to do so into the future.

With federal and state governments slashing their budgets, McDonnell said that money could be cut at any time from the programs.

“Until we see the check in our hands,” they don’t count on the money, he said. “We’re doing the best we can, planning in an uncertain future.”

But the grant that comes through Dallas County has been restored for the immediate future for the Resource Center and AIDS Interfaith Network.

AIN relies on the grant money for a third of its meals program budget.

“The county did respond and did rectify the mistake,” AIN Executive Director Steven Pace said.

AIN has a weekday breakfast and lunch program and provides some weekend meals for persons with HIV. Resource Center Dallas runs a hot lunch program during the week.

Pace said that with grants of this type, there is always a degree of uncertainty. Even though the money has been restored for seven months, Congress can decide to cut funding to any program at any time.

He said it is just something nonprofit organizations that rely on government funding live with.

Because of a clerical mistake, funding for meals programs was moved to food pantry programs for the new fiscal year.

When AIN and RCD received emails confirming state grants that are funneled through Dallas County, the money for meals programs was omitted from the budget.

However, the money did not show up in the RCD grant budget even though that agency runs both meals and food pantry programs.

The state fiscal year begins Sept. 1 and final documentation needed to be back to the county by Aug. 12.

When Dallas County found the error, a new email was sent to the agencies. Pace worried at the time that he was missing the deadline to submit his budgets and documentation, but he has been assured the agency would not be penalized.

He said he promptly adjusted his figures and submitted the necessary paperwork to assure no interruption in funding.

RCD also readjusted its figures and resubmitted the paperwork.

Some years, grants are renewed from previous years. Other years, agencies must rebid to receive their funding. This year, money was renewed for seven months and agencies will have to rebid for the final five months.

Although the state funding year begins Sept. 1, the Ryan White fiscal year begins April 1.

“We appreciate that Dallas County corrected the error so quickly,” Pace said.

Even with lag time in receiving the additional funds, Pace said the meals program will continue uninterrupted, thanks to a recent $25,000 grant from the MAC Cosmetics AIDS fund.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Resource Center raffling off Lady Gaga tickets

Resource Center Dallas’ Rafael McDonnell just sent out notice that the center will be raffling off tickets to Lady Gaga’s show at the American Airlines Center in March:

We’re doing it again! Resource Center Dallas is raffling off two LUXURY SUITE tickets and parking for the Monster Ball Tour starring Lady Gaga March 14 at the American Airlines Center. You may remember that we held a similar raffle last summer for Lady Gaga’s July concerts at AAC. The raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. Only 500 raffle tickets will be sold. The winner will be announced at the Pride Pharmacy Toast To Life Gala Feb. 26. People can buy their tickets to win now by going here .

If you snag those kind of seats for Gaga for $10, that would so be the bargain of the year. In case you missed it last summer, here’s some “Telephone” from her Dallas show:

—  Rich Lopez

DFW International Airport adds LGBT protections

The front door to North Texas just became a little more welcoming for the LGBT community.

DFW International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, has adopted new policies protecting its employees from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rafael McDonnell, strategic communications and programs manager for Resource Center Dallas, said the policies took effect today after RCD representatives first approached DFW International Airport officials several months ago. Sexual orientation and gender identity were added to the airport’s nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies by executive order, and the changes didn’t require approval from the airport’s board.

DFW International Airport has about 1,700 employees.

“Both Dallas and Fort Worth have nondiscrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity,” McDonnell told Instant Tea. “It’s not something revolutionary or new. The two city owners, for lack of a better term, already provide these protections.

“They refer to DFW as the economic engine of the region. You talk to tourism people, and they refer to DFW as the front door to the region, so this is vitally important.”

McDonnell said convincing airport officials to add LGBT employment protections was a collaborative effort between representatives from Resource Center Dallas and Fairness Fort Worth.

In addition to the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, the airport’s six top carriers, as well as numerous hotel and rental car companies that serve the facility, have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies, he said.

To read the new policies, click here.

—  John Wright