Methodist convention votes down equality

Eric Folkerth

The General Convention of the United Methodist Church voted down any new acceptance or equality of its gay and lesbian members.

While still the largest mainline Christian denomination in the United States, the number of Methodists is shrinking in this country and growing overseas. About 40 percent of the delegates to the convention taking place in Tampa were conservatives from Asia and Africa.

Gay and lesbian Methodists as well as allies would like to remove a line from the Book of Discipline that says, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

At their quadrennial conference, two agree-to-disagree proposals were voted down.

One would have changed the Book of Discipline to say gays and lesbians are “people of sacred worth” and that church members differ about whether homosexual practice is contrary to God’s will.

That was voted down 54–46 percent.

Another proposal was voted down 61–39 percent. That one would have acknowledged limited understanding of human sexuality and refrained from judgement of gays and lesbians.

Eric Folkerth at Northaven UMC, the Methodist church with the longest history of welcoming the LGBT community in Dallas, was unavailable for comment today, but previously told Dallas Voice, “After the last conference, we lost members,” and he’s bracing for that again.

—  David Taffet

Stream Fahari’s “The Bull-Jean Stories” with Q-Roc Ragsdale live from Tampa

Back in March, Fahari Arts Institute snagged two Readers Voice Awards for its production of The Bull-Jean Stories. Harold Steward won for directing and Q-Roc Ragsdale took away the best dramatic actress prize for her role portraying a black lesbian in the rural South of the 1920s. The one-woman multi-media show by Sharon Bridgforth has brought Fahari enough attention that it will be performed in Tampa, Fla., at the National Performance Network’s annual meeting on Saturday.

Missed it when it was here? No worries — NPN is streaming all of theirlive  performances on the Internet. NPN has collaborated with #NewPlay TV to present all the performances in real time. Fahari announced in an email today that the piece, co-commissioned by DiverseWorks with the South Dallas Cultural Center and the NPN, will stream Dec. 10 at 7:30 EST, so 6:30 p.m. our time. Just click here to watch then.

—  Rich Lopez

Do you Peru?

Even as fans rallied to help Coco Peru get her next film off the ground, the drag goddess still likes her comedy live

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RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Expect a lovefest when Coco Peru comes back to Dallas for Pride weekend. With memories of a responsive audience, shopping and beef jerky during her last go-round here nearly two years ago, the drag goddess is hoping for a repeat performance. Sort of. She’s back on the road with a new show, but that’s not all the legendary queen has going on.

“Well, we’ve filmed Girls Will Be Girls 2 already,” Peru (aka Clinton Leupp) says. “Right now the writer/director is busily editing. It’s just one of those things: You film it and hope for the best.”

Peru has garnered a significant amount of film work over the years, usually with notable cameos in films like as Trick, but occasionally as the star, as with Girls Will Be Girls. But she admits live performance is where she’s at her best.

“I like to think my show is like watching a theater piece,” she says. “I love film acting, but it’s exciting on a whole other level. There’s not that energy of a live audience and no feedback. So often, comic timing is how the audience is reacting to you. With acting, you mentally feel it out, try it and mostly trust the director. I find sometimes I rehearsed a line so much in my head, it takes me a few times to take direction on it.”

For Girls 2, Peru discovered just how much her fans appreciated her work. As a micro-mini indie, the film went on the website Kickstarter to raise funds. As word got out that the film was in production and that Peru was in it, the money rolled in.

“The movie was completely funded by fans,” she exclaims. “It was just incredible that they would want to pay money! And I must say, most of it came from my fans. I’m just putting that out there.”

Along with funds from Kickstarter, the crew itself was almost all-volunteer. People would just show up, willing to help out. It turned into an actual labor of love.

Along with donated help, the production even received a donated green screen. All the generosity reminded Peru that people are that genuinely kind and that it’s all right to ask for things, which usually embarrasses her. She saw this particular filmmaking experience as a good lesson on many levels.

“Let’s just hope the movie’s funny,” she laughs.

Dating back to the “early ‘90s” — that’s as specific as her website will get — Peru gives much credit to her fans along the way for the success of her career. Even if they come up to once again mention her role in the film Trick, Peru takes none of it for granted. Perhaps it’s cliché for any type of celebrity to appreciate their fans, but she  talks at length about how her fans have kept her driven.

“It’s so overwhelming, whether it’s a movie or my own shows, that they will take time to contact me to tell me whatever it is they are feeling,” she says. “I feel lucky and blessed when they reach out to me and I strive to answer every email. I remember those days that felt so lonely and sad. Growing up gay and feeling rejected doesn’t make a happy life. But when you get over 800 birthday messages on Facebook, it’s amazing!”

She’ll meet a new slew of fans on her current End of Summer Tour, as she’ll visit Tampa and Las Vegas for the first time as a performer. Even with her experience onstage, Peru is still daunted by a new audience, the same way she was before playing Dallas the first time early last year.

“The first time, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” she recalls. “I felt that audiences came wanting to have a great time. You go to certain cities and they have a bit of an edge, but in Texas, it was an immediate love fest on both ends.”

In her new show, There Comes a Time, Peru talks about getting older and reminiscing about her life. Fortunately, Dallas isn’t a punch line in her monologue. The city left a good impression on her and she only hopes to make another one of her own.

“Well, I’m happy to be coming back and they took such good care of me last time,” she says, “but I don’t wanna jinx myself. You never know.”

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

—  Kevin Thomas

GOP Official: Gay pirates are invading Tampa!

Lions and tigers and GAY PIRATES!… Oh my!

Eugene Delgaudio, a Republican official in Virginia’s Loudon County, best known for claiming that gay TSA agents were getting their jollies patting down male passengers’ junk, is sending out a letter to his constituents claiming that radical homosexual pirates have invaded Tampa Bay, Florida, and are roaming the streets. My bags are packed and I’m hopping the first flight to Tampa with my copy of “How To Talk Like A Pirate” safely tucked under my arm. What fun! I am particularly looking forward to some of the novel uses one might make of a parrot during a gay encounter with a pirate.
January 29th is the 106th annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest in Tampa Bay, Florida. By all accounts it is quite some event, opening with a real live pirate ship docking at port, and literally hundreds of people in pirate costumes “invade” the city in groups called “krewes” The event is a full two weeks of seemingly family oriented events

When I think of family-oriented events, real live pirates are pretty much the first things that pop into my mind. Nothing brings a family together like kidnapping, robbery on the high seas, plank-walking, rum-drinking, some fitful sodomy, and, of course, the occasional lash.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

ExxonMobil protest on for Wednesday

Exxon protest in Tampa
Protesters gather outside a Mobil station in Tampa, Fla., on May 21.

Environmental and LGBT groups will gather Wednesday morning outside the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, during Irving-based ExxonMobil Corp.‘s annual shareholders meeting.

For the LGBT groups, the issue is inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the company’s nondiscrimination policy. Mobil included LGBT employees in its nondiscrimination policy and offered domestic partner benefits. But when the two companies merged in the late 1990s, those protections and benefits were rescinded.

—  David Taffet