2nd suspect arrested in attack on Derek Whitener

Dallas police have arrested the second suspect in the Jan. 14 attack on Derek Whitener, actor and artistic director with the Firehouse Theatre in Farmer’s Branch.

Police arrested the first of two suspects on Friday, Jan. 27. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile. The second suspect, 17-year-old Zantrell Sauls, is being charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, according to NBCDFW Channel 5.

Whitener was on his way home after performing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Jan. 14, when he stopped at the Target store on Haskell. As he was walking into the store, he was approached by two young men, one of whom was carrying a wooden rod.

Whitener went inside the store and reported the two to an off-duty police officer a security guard, who then went outside and told the two suspects to leave the premises. But when Whitener left the store, just a few minutes past 11 p.m., the two attacked him as he walked toward his car, striking him in the head with the wooden rod.

Whitener suffered a fractured skull and was taken to Baylor Hospital, where he underwent brain surgery. He finally left the hospital last Saturday, Jan. 28.

—  Tammye Nash

Arrest made in assault on Derek Whitener

Derek Whitener

WFAA Channel 8 is reporting that police have arrested one of two suspects in the Jan. 14 attack on Derek Whitener that left the theater director/actor with injuries that required him to undergo brain surgery.

The first suspect, a juvenile, was taken into custody tonight (Friday, Jan. 27). The second suspect remained at large as of 10:30 p.m.

Whitener, artistic director at Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, stopped at the Target on Haskell Street on his way home after performing in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”at the theater. Two young men approached him, one carrying a wooden rod. He went past them into the store and reported them to the police officer working security inside. The officer and a Target employee then went out and told the two young men to leave the premises.

But when Whitener left the store later, the two suspects attacked him. One beat him with the wooden rod, leaving him with a fractured skull and injuries that impair his ability to speak and his motor functions.

The suspect still at large is described at about 5’9” and 150 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie and red jeans at the time of the attack. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 214-671-3639 or Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS/

Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help pay Whitener’s medical expenses.

The man in the black hoodie and red-and-blue jeans, above right, is still at large.

—  Tammye Nash

Socially conscious shopping tips for the Dallas holiday shopper

Armani

While Neiman’s gets a miserable score, gay Giorgio Armani scores a shameful zero

If you’re still holiday shopping and want to make sure your LGBT dollars are going to companies with the best policies for its employees, one place to look is Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

It’s been out for awhile, but for the holiday shopping season, I’ve pulled out some highlights for local Dallas shoppers.

Department stores

Let’s say you’re looking for something from a local department store. That’s a no brainer, because what’s more gay than Neiman Marcus?

Well, local and gay friendly? J.C. Penney for one. Plano-based J.C. Penney gets a 95. Neiman’s scores a miserable 15. In the 1950s, Jack Evans was once fired from the store because he was gay. They couldn’t do that now or they wouldn’t have a staff, but they also offer few protections and no benefits to their LGBT employees.

So if you’re counting out Neiman’s, what about the rest of NorthPark’s anchors? Macy’s and Nordstrom get 100 percent. Dillards? Not so much. 30.

If you’re shopping at the Galleria, the new Belk gets a failing 15.

Elsewhere in NorthPark

Abercrombie, American Eagle, Gap, Nike and Tiffany rate 100

Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren: 90

Aeropostale: 85

H&M: 70

J. Crew: 30

Foot Locker, Donna Karan, Burberry, Guess, Urban Outfitters: 15

Ann Taylor, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Versace, Express, Skechers: These are the ExxonMobils of the mall that offer no protection and no benefits to their LGBT employees. And Versace was gay and so is Armani. I guess just because you’re gay (or built your retail empire on the reputation of someone who was) doesn’t mean you don’t say fuck you to those who work for you or your LGBT customers. If Armani just had a no-cost nondiscrimination statement that included sexual orientation and gender identity, he’d get a 15. Shame on him for not saying, “Of course we won’t fire our gay, lesbian and transgender employees.”

Local chains

What about other local chains? Pier 1 and Radio Shack are both based in Fort Worth. Radio Shack: 30. Pier 1: 15.

Do the Dallas-based The Container Store or Michaels do better? Both rate a pitiful 15.

Strip centers:

Shopping for the lesbian on your list may be easy this year. Home Depot gets a 90, but, across the street, Lowe’s only gets a 30.

Target: 100

Office Depot and Staples: 100 (Office Max: not rated)

Ross: 70

Bed, Bath and Beyond go below: 30.

Big Lots: 15

Dollar stores

Dollar stores aren’t all the same. Family Dollar and Dollar Tree rate just 30, while Dollar General gets a more respectable 70.

Drug stores

Both CVS and Walgreens rank 100.

Groceries

Safeway (which owns Tom Thumb) gets 100.

Kroger rates 85.

Whole Foods could do better with a 75.

Central Market: 40.

Trader Joe’s: 30.

Aldi, Fiesta and my favorite local supermarket Rio Grande: not rated.

—  David Taffet

The AFA isn’t happy with corporate America

The hate group American Family Association isn’t very happy with corporate America.

Not only did J.C. Penney feature a gay Dallas couple in a recent catalog, but the Plano-based company doesn’t seem to really care what the AFA has to say about it.

On its website, the AFA says JCP is now blocking emails from its alert system and advises members to send messages from their personal accounts instead.

And now the AFA is annoyed at Target, too. For Pride month, Target is selling several Pride items and is donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Family Equality Council up to $120,000. The AFA doesn’t want you shopping there either.

And AFA announced that they sent petitions to Home Depot for “extensive support for homosexual activism and direct the company toward neutrality in the culture war.”

AFA doesn’t specify what the beef is, but apparently some lesbians work there. And they get equal benefits.

The group is asking people to boycott Home Depot and pray for Chairman Frank Blake, then print a copy of the petition and “distribute it at Sunday school and church,” because nothing says love your neighbor like distributing petitions at church calling for hardworking people to get fired.

And look out for that radical group AARP. They’re apparently using member resources to “advocate for immoral behavior.” The AFA claims that the AARP’s LGBT resources pages links to “articles on personal finance, travel and other issues of interest.” Shocking.

Of course, AFA would like us to get back to traditional marriage as it’s existed since biblical times … as depicted in this photo released by the Israeli Defense Forces this week in honor of Pride month:

—  David Taffet

Bleeding purple

Ex-TCU football star Vincent Pryor to accept award for courageously coming out to teammates in 1994

Vincent.Pryor1

GAME-CHANGER | Former TCU football player Vincent Pryor, left, said he had become suicidal by his junior year until his future partner Alan Detlaff, stood before their social work class one day and announced that he was gay and was beginning a group for LGBT students called TCU Triangle. They would later meet again at JR.’s in Dallas, and have been together ever since.

ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

Vincent Pryor will be in Austin on Wednesday, Feb. 29, to accept the Atticus Circle Award for his courage to come out to his football team his senior year at Texas Christian University in 1994.

Atticus Circle, a group that educates and rallies straight people to advocate for LGBT equality, selected Pryor for the award because “he showed an extraordinary amount of courage to come out as a gay athlete,” Executive Director Ruth Gardner-Loew said.

Pryor said the recognition for inspiring other youth athletes was an honor, but his journey to the confident, gay football player standing before a group of teammates and strangers and owning his sexuality was long and painful.

Vincent.Pryor4

FINDING HIS GROOVE | Pryor set the school’s single-game sack record against Texas Tech only a few weeks after coming out.

Knowing he was gay since about the third grade, Pryor said growing up Southern Baptist in San Antonio made him begin to constantly worry that school kids would eventually find out and pick on him.

Instead of being the inevitable target, he became the bully, picking on effeminate boys because he was “trying to destroy that thing that was inside of me.” But his façade was shattered one day in seventh grade when one of his victims confronted him in the bathroom about why he tormented people like himself.

“Then he kissed me on the lips,” Pryor recalls about the life-changing day. “And then I knew.”

Although the two of them became friends and Pryor ended his ridiculing days, the fear of people knowing he was gay stayed with him.

Then came days at TCU as a linebacker, where he would go on to set the record of 41⁄2 sacks in a single game against Texas Tech in 1994, only a few weeks after revealing his sexuality. His record still stands today and helped TCU earn a conference title and bowl game invitation at the time.

While the Texas school appealed to him for the access to family back in San Antonio, as well as the family atmosphere of the campus, Pryor worried that his closeted life would be revealed.

“The whole time what I was trying to do was basically hide in plain sight because I always knew

I was gay,” he said. “I just didn’t want anybody to know about it.”

His confidence in his closeted persona was shattered at the start of his sophomore year when a new defensive coach began a meeting by asking if anyone on the team was gay. Pryor said he remembers the coach asking the question repeatedly, and while questions of his sexuality had arisen with little interest in girlfriends, he worried the coach was singling him out.

“Each time that he said it his voice got angrier and his face turned red,” he said. “I was petrified.”

Depression consumed Pryor as the coach’s anger over possible gay players continued to seep into his thoughts throughout the season, leading him to eventually decide that he wouldn’t return to TCU the next year.

“When that coach did that, made that proclamation to the meeting room, it was pretty frustrating and I remember getting really, really depressed,” he said. “I don’t talk too much about it because it was such a dark time, but I actually thought about killing myself.”

Admitting that he actually had a plan to commit suicide by junior year, he said he found courage in the welcoming atmosphere at TCU to

Vincent.Pryor3

ROSY REUNION | Pryor, shown at the Rose Bowl with Super Frog in 2011, now hopes to tackle the stigma of being gay in sports. ROSY REUNION | Pryor, shown at the Rose Bowl with Super Frog in 2011, now hopes to tackle the stigma of being gay in sports.

push through to the fall of junior year, with the most inspirational event happening shortly after the semester began.

It was Pryor’s current partner Alan Detlaff that stood before their social work class one day and announced that he was gay and was beginning a group for LGBT students called TCU Triangle.

After class, Pryor expressed interest in Detlaff’s group, saying that he supported the LGBT community, and they discussed his sexuality on the phone that night.

Several years after the two graduated, they ran into each other at JR.’s in Dallas and began dating. They live together in Chicago now.
“We saw each other at the bar, and the rest is history,” Pryor said. “We started talking, and here we are 13 years later.”

Pryor’s time in the support group gave him strength, while the rumors of his sexuality started in the locker rooms and hallways, until he eventually agreed to be a speaker at a conference on campus about homosexuality. Many of his teammates were present, but Pryor said his worries about the ridicule he would face afterward never came true.

“I was concerned that I would not be accepted as one of the guys and that people would treat me differently, and none of that happened,” he said.

Even the same coach who once tried to call him out supported him after asking if the declaration was true, and later hugged him on the field after a game and told him he was proud of him, something that will always stay with Pryor.

“That was vindication enough for me, and I really felt like I could be 100 percent. I felt like I could be who I needed to be,” he said. “I’ll never forget that.”

The stigma of being openly gay in sports is false, Pryor said, adding that in his circumstances in 1994 of a gay football player at a Christian university coming out and still being successful on the field is an example that being truthful about sexuality will not hinder someone’s passion or achievements.

“What I can do is live my life out, loud and proud and serve as that beacon and I think the stereotypes will change,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Dallasvoice

Drawing Dallas • 02.10.12

JaQuanFNL_2Lanky dreamboat LaQuan Brown is the ideal Valentine

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: LaQuan Brown, 18

Occupation: Student

Spotted at: Target Cityplace

At 6-feet-5, slender, romantic dreamboat LaQuan catches eyes everywhere he goes. A creamy blend of two cultures — his mother is of Dutch descent, his father is African-American — LaQuan certainly stands out in any crowd. His exotic and handsome look recently captured the attention of a modeling scout for Krave magazine, a fashion, lifestyle and entertainment publication for men of color; he was recently selected to model for an upcoming issue.

This intelligent and contemplative Scorpio was born in Oak Cliff and raised throughout Dallas. He enjoys outdoor sports of all kinds, including (predictably) basketball, but also running and taking contemplative walks. He’s also talented at freestyling, and can rap about any subject on the spur of the moment.

LaQuan’s career goal is to obtain a doctorate in psychology, and eventually become a therapist/counselor for at-risk teens.

—  Kevin Thomas

HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: Last minute gifts and stocking stuffer roundup

COUNTING IT DOWN

Whether you need to give to the coworkers, neighbors or just add to the gift stock pile by stuffing the stocking, these might help out on your decision making.

SPIRITS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Moon Mountain vodka makes this holiday season more “green” that is certified organic by the USDA. Made in America, the artisanally crafted vodka is made from Midwestern corn, but in small batches creating the right taste to make it the perfect spirit to toast the season. The vodka is priced at $19.99.

Available at major spirits retailers.

FORGET SANTA

These Biscoff cookies are a surprisingly addictive treat, that it may be hard to give away. The crispy biscuits with the caramel flavor are ideal with coffee or even on their own. And a welcome alternative to usual holiday sweets with their light touch. Made from Belgium, these treats are vegan and contain 0 grams trans fat and 0 cholesterol per serving. So your recipients will be quite happy about these. Coming in a variety of counts and packages, these Biscoff Cafe Totes house eight packages of two. So you can get one for yourself and then try to give the other one away. You could leave them out for Santa but try not to eat them before he does. Ten percent of the purchases of this item go toward Teach for America. A set of three is priced at $16.95.

Available through Biscoff.com.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

For the Star Wars gamer geek — er, loved ones — comes this quirky stylus set. Made for Nintendo DS products, Star Wars fans can have their very own Clone Wars with these character-designed stylus lightsabers.  The stylus can be used for DS Lite, XL and 3DS and is for ages six and up. Priced at $9.99.

Available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other major video game retailers.

 

GAY FILM FEST

Breaking Glass Pictures has made gift giving for your LGBT movie fan rather enticing. The company that distributed the locally-made Ticked Off Trannies with Knives is offering a 30 percent off purchases made during the holiday season. Stack up on indie gay movie faves like Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical and the 30th anniversary edition of the gay classic Taxi Zum Klo. Head to the site withthe promotion code “holiday” and snag a bargain on the films. Hey, you might even get one for yourself.

Available at BreakingGlassPictures.com.

 

 

 

BRUSH AWAY

Expect an eye roll if you give kids a toothbrush, but once they start handling his Arm & Ammer Spinbrush Proclean, they might get more on board. The battery-operated brush is a simple, but effective way to keep those pearly whites, um, white, with the appeal of being a whirring gadget. Don’t talk about how better it is than a manual toothbrush and dental health. Yawn for days. Hype up the dual action technology, the durable body style and what a grown-up “toy” it is. Because, of course, adults can use it to. Retails between $8–9.

Available at retailers nationwide.

 

—  Rich Lopez

HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: The Gaydar Gun

RICK PERRY — YOU’D BETTER HOPE NO ONE AIMS AT YOU

“You have cocktail forks… and use them!” “You’d trade it all for a date with an ice skater.” These are just some of the assessments the Gaydar Gun can make when aimed at the people to detect the precise degree of their queerness (“No more guessing!” it promises) on the rainbow scale, from Rob Halford to Liberace’s poodles. A piece of novelty amusement, the Gaydar Gun is a great toy for parties, conversation starter while people watching and just a good source of bitchy comments.  (You can even switch the sex of the target to make sure the shade you’re throwing is gender-appropriate.)

Retails online at GaydarGun.com and other sites for $30.

—  Rich Lopez

HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: AirDog toys by Kong

UP IN THE AIR

Kong’s Airdog line is for those dogs with an athletic bent. OK, they all can jump and run, but these toys will give them a good workout. The line is made from tennis ball material that doesn’t irritate a dog’s gums and teeth. For the dog who can’t help but likes to get wet, toss the Fetch Stick with rope that floats high on the water for Fido to fetch easily. The Squeaker Stick speaks for itself and is also made with the same materials, as are all the items in Kong’s AirDog line. The items in medium size are priced at $8.99–$9.99.

Available at PetSmart, PETCO and Target retailers.

—  Rich Lopez

The growing problem of workplace bullying

Phyllis Guest
Taking Notes

Bullying isn’t just confined to teens; adults in the workplace are targeted, too

I recently met a remarkable woman who has a lot to say about a kind of adult bullying that hits straights as well as LGBTS, that hurts men as well as women, that harms older and less connected workers the most, and that is so pervasive it’s called “The Silent Epidemic.”

Esque Walker, who lives in Corsicana and drove up to Dallas recently to give a Saturday morning presentation on workplace bullying, has an undergraduate degree in health information management, a masters in healthcare/health information management and a doctorate in public policy and administration.

She also has a score of certifications and areas of expertise.

She has been working diligently for the passage of the Texas Healthy Workplace Bill, authored by Dr. David Yamada of the Workplace Bullying Institute. It’s hard going, as you can imagine.

So far, Dr. Walker has been unable to even get a meeting with Gov. Rick Perry. Perhaps he is too busy campaigning. More likely, if his many aides have put her name and credentials before him, he has retreated into his good-hairyness.

Remember: He scraped through Texas A&M with Ds; she has a Ph.D.

But the governor is not the only impediment to getting this bill in place. So far, Dr. Walker and her associates have spoken with a great many Texas state senators and representatives. Not one has agreed to sponsor the bill.

Dr. Walker was herself the target of workplace bullying some years ago. But instead of simply taking the abuse — as most women and many men have done over the years — she aligned herself with others who understood the issues involved.

So, what are the issues?

To begin, Dr. Walker asserts that adult bullying is based on the bully’s need for power and control. It’s closely linked with competitiveness; the bully may resent the target’s appearance, education, personality or any number of facets of the other person’s being. He or she definitely does not want the target to advance.

So how do you know you are targeted, assuming the bully does not actually taunt or threaten you, as happens so often to children and teens?

You start with power disparity; the bully may have a higher status, longer tenure or perhaps corporate protectors to give him or her a sense of strength.

Then you look at four other criteria: repetition, duration, intensity and escalation.

Workplace bullying, says Dr. Walker, usually plays out in a predictable way. First, the bully criticizes you or gets someone above you in the pecking order to do so. Next, the bully involves others, usually four to six people who may see you as a threat or just want to curry favor with the boss.

Then, no matter what you do, it is not enough or not good enough, and coworkers are not allowed to “help” you. Eventually you are fired — after being told, “You are not a team player.”
Here’s how it looks by the numbers:

• 62 percent of bullies are men (who may bully other men, straight women or, of course, LGBTs).

• 58 percent of targets are women.

• 18 percent of adult suicides in the European Union are attributed to workplace bullying.

• An estimated 1 million Texans are bullied at work every year.

As the economy has worsened, pushing out older workers has become the norm; counselors report the escalation, although putting a number to the pain is virtually impossible.
So what to do if you are the target?

First, document everything, with specifics of person, time, place and comment or event. Second, do not go to your organization’s human resources person or department; HR works for the company and could care less about you.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your union representative — if applicable — can help; the latter may be especially important in education and medicine, where power disparities and bullying are common.

The Workplace Bullying Institute (WorkPlaceBullying.org) publishes a newsletter and other materials that can offer insight plus specifics. The Dallas Public Library has books by Gary Namie and Ruth Namie, Ph.D.’s known for their groundbreaking research and writing on workplace “jerks, weasels and snakes.”

And of course Out & Equal has done and continues doing great work on behalf of our community.

Final thoughts: The worst that can happen is that Texas will continue to allow vast amounts of cruelty in offices, factories, fields and stores. The best that could happen is that our next Legislature will pass the Healthy Workplace Bill, recognizing the problem, mandating anti-bullying education, and allowing victims to sue.

Meanwhile, if a workplace bully is making you frightened and depressed, find a counselor in whom you can confide. And don’t wait ’til tomorrow. Do it today.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and is a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens