Coleman’s suicide prevention bill headed to governor’s desk

Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, announced Thursday night, shortly before 7 p.m., that the Texas House has accepted Senate amendments HB 1386, giving the bill final approval and sending it to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk for signing.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

The legislation, authored by Coleman and fellow Democrats Reps. Jessica Farrar of Houston and Marissa Marquez of El Paso, is intended to help prevent youth suicide by allowing school districts to implement suicide prevention programs that help school officials recognize the early warning signs of suicide and to notify parents to intervene if necessary, according to a press release from Coleman’s office.

Coleman said, “I’m extremely proud of this bill. This is one of my most important legislative priorities. We’ve heard too many tragic stories of children and teenagers who have taken their own lives due to emotional distress. This loss of life can be prevented. It’s important that we let parents know of any early warning signs in their child’s behavior so that they can prevent a bad outcome. It is the parents who can best care for their children.”

Sen. Rodney Ellis, another Houston Democrat, has sponsored the bill in the Senate. He called the measure “a small step in the right direction to aid school districts in identifying and aiding those students who are at risk of suicide.”

—  admin

Local Briefs

Valentine’s dance set for GSAs

LULAC Rainbow Council is partnering with Youth First Texas to host “Love Conquers All Ball,” a special Valentine’s weekend dance for gay straight alliances in Dallas and Collin counties.

The “Love Conquers All Ball,” will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. GSA students, Youth First Texas members and LGBTQ teens ages 14 to 18, are invited. Chaperones will check I.D. at the door. A $2 donation will be requested and donations will go toward The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. For information, call 214-879-0400.

TREE staging LGBT awareness week

Trinity River Equality in Education presents “a week celebrating the LGBTQA community at TCC [Tarrant Community College] Trinity River Campus” Feb. 14-17.

On Monday, Feb. 14, there will be a tree dedication ceremony at Trinity River Plaza, on the patio across from the bookstore, at 12:30 p.m., an on Wednesday, Feb. 16, English faculty and Justin Brumit present a discussion of William B. Turner’s A Genealogy of Queer Theory ay noon in TREF 1402.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, there will be a TREE panel discussion, “A Conversation About LGBTQA Youth in our Community,” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Action Suite, fourth floor TR. Also on Thursday, there will be a reception featuring the LGBTQA artists participating in the Synergy Art Show, at 5:30 p.m. in the TR Art Gallery, TREF 1311.

Ongoing exhibits include a LGBTQA books and film display in the library, TREF, 2302; and the Gay Straight Alliance’s poster display at the TR Campus.

For more information contact the Student Life Center at 817-515-1197.

TWCOD holding open rehearsals

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas will hold open rehearsals for women interested in joining the chorus on Monday, Feb. 14, and Monday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. both nights. Interested singers are invited to sit in on a rehearsal, meet with members of the chorus and learn more about becoming a member.

Prior experience or the ability to read music is not a requirement for membership. Regular season rehearsals are held every Monday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd. Members are expected to attend every rehearsal. The chorus performs a season of three concerts annually, and this season will perform at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center as well as a special concert at the Texas Discovery Gardens.

To sign up for one of the open rehearsals, call 214-520-7828 or e-mail at twcdoffice@twcd.org.

GAIN holding Valentine’s social

GAIN, a program of Resource Center Dallas that provides learning, social and entertainment opportunities for LGBT seniors, will hold its second annual Valentine’s Social Thursday, Feb. 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Good Eats Restaurant, 3888 Oak Lawn Ave. The event will include heavy hors d’ouevres and a cash bar.

For more information, call 214-528-0144 or e-mail gain@rcdallas.org.

TDWCC holds February meeting

The next general meeting of Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will be Monday, Feb. 28, at 6:45 p.m. at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco, in Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148.

The agenda includes planning for the upcoming Legislative Lobby Days, with members presenting information about the state legislative agenda and issues that are important to TDWCC.

The goal is for members to commit to attend one Lobby Day this legislative session.

Political appearances

Rep. Jessica Ferrar of Houston will appear at a fundraiser for Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats at the home of Mark Sadlek and Steve Habgood in Kessler Park on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Farrar is the newly elected House Democratic Leader and wrote House Bill 604, which would repeal Texas’ sodomy law eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared it illegal.

Information on her appearance is available at their website DallasSYD.org.

Dallas mayoral candidate David Kunkle is the guest speaker at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas monthly meeting on Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Avenue. Kunkle is the former Dallas Police Chief.

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt will speak at the LULAC 4871 Dallas Rainbow Council meeting at Havana’s, 4006 Cedar Springs Road. Hunt decided this week to run for reelection to her current council seat rather than seek the office of mayor.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright

Joel Burns to speak prior to screening of ‘Trevor’ to mark Human Rights Day in Fort Worth

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns will speak tonight prior to a film screening to mark Human Rights Day put on by the city’s Human Relations Commission. One of the three films screened will be Trevor, about a gay 13-year-old who attempts suicide. The 1994 film inspired the founding of the Trevor Project, the national organization focusing on crisis and suicide prevention for LGBT youth.

“Movies That Matter: A Night of Human Rights Films” will be at Betsy and Steve Palko Hall, in the Amon G. Carter Lecture Hall on the TCU campus. Estrus Tucker, chairman of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, will also speak. The other films screened will be Crossing Arizona and 12 Stones.

Burns will speak during an informal reception that begins at 6:30 p.m. The film screenings begin at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served. Seating at the screenings is limited. To ensure seating, RSVP to humanrelations@FortWorthGov.org.

For more info, go here.

—  John Wright

An important Pride event we somehow overlooked: Trevor Project fundraiser tonight

Chris Heinbaugh, the openly gay chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, sent out a message earlier this week encouraging people to attend a fundraiser this evening (Friday) for the Trevor Project, the national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth. Heinbaugh is on the host commitee for the event, which somehow got left out of the Pride schedule we posted earlier. Anyhow, here’s an excerpt from Heinbaugh’s message:

“20 years ago, I lost a close cousin to suicide when she was 16, and can never begin to understand what struggles pushed her to such a desperate and irreversible decision. Sadly, these tragedies don’t seem any closer to an end. I have been stunned to see in the news recently examples of kids, some very, very young, who have taken their lives after being relentlessly bullied, many times being taunted for being gay, or being perceived as gay.

“Clearly, this weekend is loaded with plenty of celebration and fun. But it’s also a reminder of how much work we have to do… and the wonderful organizations out there fighting the good fight. They need our support.”

The fundraiser will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Craighead Green Gallery, 1011 Dragon St. in Dallas. Tickets are $50 at the door, and you must be 21 to attend. Here are some more deets from the FB page:

Enjoy complimentary drinks in celebration of Dallas Pride. Mix & mingle with local professionals dedicated to The Trevor Project’s life-saving work throughout North Texas. Eco-Friendly cocktails provided by VeeV. The evening also includes a raffle drawing with prizes ranging from $200-$600 in value.

—  John Wright