Texas Rangers pitcher Robbie Ross and wife pose for NOH8 photo

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Texas Rangers pitcher Robbie Ross and his wife, Brittany, both Christians, posed for a NOH8 photo to speak out about how their support for LGBT people is part of their faith.

Ross wore a bracelet that said, “In Jesus name I play,” and showed off two tattoos with Bible verses Mark 9:23and James 4:10.

Ross told Outsports he and his wife wanted to how that they as Christians support the fight for LGBT equality and wanted the picture to portray that.

“Being in sports, and being around all kinds of different people, you just want to accept everyone for who they are,” Robbie told Outsports. “My wife Brittany and I are Christians, and we believe we as Christians should love everyone and show everyone love, and if this is the best way to do it, then we want to support them.”

“It genuinely breaks my heart,” Brittany said. “We’re all human, and we can all take things from the Bible and twist them however we want. You can basically take a verse from the Bible and say it’s OK to beat your wife, but the world says that’s not OK, so that’s what we go with. And I think the world is saying that gay people in the community are OK. Jesus came to love people. He never persecuted anybody. There are a lot of confusing things in the Bible, and I think if anything is confusing and it promotes hate, then you’re taking it the wrong way.

“Being gay shouldn’t just be tolerated, it should be celebrated that people can embody who they truly are,” Brittany added. “I think that’s the main thing.”

The Texas Rangers haven’t always been supportive. A homophobic tweet last year sparked controversy. Before that, the team was supposedly going to shoot an “It Gets Better” video for LGBT youth, but ended up making an anti-bullying PSA without mentioning LGBT issues.

—  Anna Waugh

Rangers record anti-bullying PSAs — without telling gay youth ‘It Gets Better’

In my post the other day about a homophobic tweet sent from Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland’s account, I mentioned that a team official told Instant Tea last year that the Rangers would consider filming an “It Gets Better” video, but they never did.

This week we again reached out to the official, Rangers executive vice president for communications John Blake, who responded by pointing out that three Rangers players did in fact record anti-bullying PSAs as part of a campaign unveiled last month.

“These PSAs and the pledge campaign have been very well received in school systems throughout the area and the state of Texas,” Blake said in an email.

Rangers players Elvis Andrus, David Murphy, and Michael Young filmed the PSAs, which can be viewed here.

“The public service announcements were created in August and are currently being distributed to school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for their use,” according to a press release. “Murphy and Young taped the messages in English while Andrus filmed a Spanish version.

“The Rangers are encouraging all students 14 years of age and older to make an anti-bullying pledge for this school year at texasrangers.com/stopbullying,” the release states. “All students who make this pledge can download a special full color anti-bullying poster of Elvis Andrus, David Murphy, and Michael Young. Students can also share the pledge with their friends through Facebook and Twitter. The PSA’s will also be distributed to local media outlets and are available for viewing online at texasrangers.com/stopbullying.”

I suppose this is better than nothing, but I can’t help but wonder why the Rangers wouldn’t simply join all of the other MLB teams that have filmed “It Gets Better” videos — which are, of course, specifically geared toward LGBT teens. Here’s the response to that question I got from Blake:

“The aim of our campaign is to deliver a message that all forms of bullying are abhorrent,” Blake said. “We wanted to reach the widest possible audience and encourage students all across the Dallas/Fort Worth area to take a stand against all forms of bullying.”

—  John Wright

Hunky Rangers pitcher Derek Holland denies calling Twitter heckler ‘fag’

Derek Holland was featured on SWOONWORTHY.net’s list of 5 Sexy Rangers last year.

As the Texas Rangers try to clinch the AL West championship and home field advantage in the playoffs, they’re dealing with a distraction caused by a homophobic tweet sent from starting pitcher Derek Holland’s Twitter account on Sunday.

The tweet from Holland’s account, shown above, said “ur a fag” and was sent in response to someone who said: “7 runs in 6-2/3. Horrible! But hey at least you’ve got that really good impression of Harry Caray. You’re a waste of space.”

Holland denied sending the tweet and said he was either on the mound or in the dugout during Sunday’s game against the Angels when the tweet was sent. He said the only other person who has access to his account is his fiancee. From the Associated Press:

“I honestly don’t know. I know it wasn’t myself,” Holland said. “I’ve talked to my family and my fiancee and they all said the exact same thing: It wasn’t them. I have no idea. All I know is MLB is taking care of it and they’re going to help me out and figure out who it was. I was blindsided by it. I had no idea.”

Rangers [general manager Jon] Daniels called it a “serious issue, it’s an unacceptable term to use.”

“We found out shortly thereafter. Obviously we take something like that very seriously,” Daniels said. “It’s not a term or a sentiment we endorse in any way. We asked Derek about it. He was not aware of it happening. He had been out during the game. We alerted MLB about it so while we’re doing our own investigation they can do one as well. We continue to follow up on that at this time. Derek says he didn’t do it. He’s not sure how it got out, obviously. That’s what we’re looking into.

“I don’t know if he was on the mound or on the bench. He was in a spot you wouldn’t think it would be possible.”

Major League Baseball reportedly is investigating the homophobic tweet. The Toronto Blue Jays recently suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur in Spanish.

It’s good to see Daniels calling this incident “serious” and acknowledging that “fag” is an “unacceptable term,” but it’s a little disappointing that Holland, in his denial, didn’t specifically condemn the use of the slur.

It’s also worth nothing that John Blake, the Rangers executive vice president for communications, told Instant Tea last year that the club would consider filming an “It Gets Better” video, but they never did so.

—  John Wright

TCU day with Chick-fil-A sparks upset

Texas Christian University is partnering with Chick-fil-A today to give free food to TCU fans sporting their Horned Frog attire.

Patrons who visit two Fort Worth locations near the university wearing TCU attire will be given a free original chicken sandwich or an eight pack of nuggets.

The event is part of TCU Athletics Big 12 Days of Summer series and drew some debate on the athletics department’s Facebook page.

Alumnus Marlon Figueroa, who is gay, said the event shouldn’t have occurred because it is inappropriate during the recent controversy with the chicken chain over gay marriage and President Dan Cathy’s anti-gay comments. He said he wants TCU to end its relationship with Chick-fil-A and not partner with the company in the future.

“I think that TCU represents a lot of people and by partnering with TCU it’s alienating a lot of people,” he said. “Our values to be inclusive are not in line with Chick-fil-A.”

Aaron Hampton, president of TCU’s Gay-Straight Alliance, told Instant Tea that the partnership sent the wrong message to students.

“It’s not just about local businesses partnering with TCU, it’s about TCU working with an organization that works to deny equal rights to citizens,” he said. “So by working with them it sends a message to TCU students that while TCU is supposedly ‘open,’ they appeal to the masses and do not stand firm in their assertion that the campus is a safe place to discuss ideas and not have some ideas shoved down people’s throats.”

TCU’s Director of Communications Lisa Albert told Instant Tea in an email that the event was to promote the university’s entry into the Big 12 Conference.

“TCU is promoting its entrance into the Big 12 through a variety of events planned months ago,” she wrote. “The University does not support political or personal statements associated with any of our event hosts.”

TCU, which is affiliated with but not governed by the Disciples of Christ church, has been progressive recently and made strides with LGBT students, said the Rev. Steve Sprinkle, an openly gay professor at Brite Divinity School on TCU’s campus.

Sprinkle said the event comes at an interesting time when Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced it would attend the company’s appreciation day Aug. 1. LGBT advocates have planned kiss-ins across the country for Aug. 3. He said the company is partnering with institutions that would help it sell its products.

He added that TCU can choose what companies to partner with for events and that the event could’ve been planned before the controversy.

Chick-fil-A will also be giving away products Saturday at Texas Rangers ballpark. Spokesman John Blake said the company is a corporate sponsor of the Rangers and the possibility of disassociating from them “hasn’t been addressed.”

The Texas Rangers were considering filming an “It Gets Better” video last year but Blake said nothing has been planned.

“We’ve talked about doing something that would target bullying but it’s not been one yet,” he said.

—  Anna Waugh

Ellis County Observer Publisher Joey Dauben sits in jail with no attorney for almost two months

Joey Dauben

It’s apparently pretty unpopular in Navarro County to be Ellis County Observer Publisher Joseph Glen “Joey” Dauben, judging from his difficulty in getting a court-appointed lawyer assigned to his sexual assault of a child case.

Dauben, whom the Dallas Observer and D Magazine featured in stories last year about his gonzo style of journalism in coverage of small-town issues and missing child cases, has been sitting in the Navarro County Jail under $200,000 bond since Dec. 19. In a story dated Dec. 20 about Dauben’s arrest and high bond being set in Judge James Lagomarsino’s court, the Corsicana Daily Sun noted that Dauben had declared himself indigent and filled out paperwork requesting a court-appointed attorney.

Dauben, 30, is accused of molesting a 15-year-old male during a church trip four years ago in 2007. The Texas Rangers investigated the allegations of the youth, who is now 19, and filed the charges against Dauben.

In a handwritten letter Dauben sent to me on Feb. 9 from the Navarro County Jail in response to a letter requesting an interview, Dauben said he still had not had the benefit of legal counsel. “As of this letter, on Feb. 9, I have yet to see a lawyer on this case,” Dauben said in the letter.

Dauben goes on to say he filed a request on Dec. 20, as was reported by the Corsicana Daily Sun, and that he refiled it recently after continuing to languish in jail without seeing a lawyer.

—  admin

In other Rangers news, The Onion reports attempts to woo Oswalt with the Round-Up

While everyone is focusing in on Josh Hamilton’s fall off the wagon, The Onion reported today of the Texas Rangers work to bring in popular free agent Roy Oswalt. The guy has stated he wants to play in Texas, so what better way to show him what Texas (Dallas, really) is all about than to take him to the Round-Up? Take that, Boston.

The Onion posted this story today in which the team gives him a unique look at Dallas nightlife with visits to Havana, Zippers, Sue Ellen’s  and the Round-Up.

According to Oswalt, despite the “kind of weird” nature of the conversation, his visit started much as any recruiting visit might. The former Astros and Phillies ace was met at the airport by team officials, including current manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels, as well as two handsome, clean-cut young men who identified themselves only as “Tex” and “Kevin.”

A visit to the Ballpark in Arlington followed, during which Washington and Daniels espoused the benefits of living in an “exciting and open-minded” town such as Dallas, and Tex and Kevin repeatedly asked to see his arm, praised its muscularity, and offered to rub it or ice it down if needed.

“Then,” Oswalt said, “oh, God, then they took me out on the town.”

The last official thing we know about Oswalt is that he’ll likely sign with St. Louis Cardinals, another team he wanted to play in. At least, that’s what this blog speculates. Perhaps they had a better bar scene.

—  Rich Lopez

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

RCD calls for baseball to add sexual orientation protection in new contract

Now that the World Series is over, Major League Baseball is going into contract negotiations. And Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center Dallas, is calling on baseball Commissioner Bud Seelig to include LGBT issues in the bargaining process.

“I ask as an LGBT fan and on behalf of the center that you both please add sexual orientation provisions to MLB’s new CBA [collective bargaining agreement], and encourage each team owner that has previously not done so to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression nondiscrimination protections to their team’s employment nondiscrimination policies,” McDonnell wrote.

He points out that the National Football League added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy earlier this summer. The National Hockey League has had the provision since 2005 and Major League Soccer since 2004. Also, nine teams have produced “It Gets Better” videos.

More than half of all MLB teams — including the Texas Rangers — have held LGBT fan days.

Baseball would be joining “nine of the Fortune 10 companies, 48 of 50 of the Fortune 50 and 89 percent of the Fortune 500,” McDonnell wrote.

The new NFL nondiscrimination clause reads:

There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.

That contract was written by Ted Olsen, representing the players, and David Boies, representing the owners. Olsen and Boies are better known as the attorneys who teamed up to win the Prop 8 case in Appellate Court. That decision is on hold until a ruling is made on standing by the California Supreme Court.

—  David Taffet

A very gay Rangers post for good luck

The above shot of Rangers right fielder Nelson “Nellie” (that’s really his nickname) Cruz — who’s hit a record-tying eight home runs in the postseason but probably should have made the final out Thursday night — was part of Sports Illustrated’s The Body Issue in 2009. And the below shot of Rangers ace C.J. Wilson — who very well might see action in Game 7  tonight — has been floating around on Facebook in recent days, though I’m still unsure of its origin. Meanwhile, today’s quote of the day comes from gay blogger Jim Buzinski at OutSports in his Game 6 recap: “I wonder if former Rangers owner George W. Bush prematurely hung a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner with two outs in the ninth.” Just ouch. But for the record, if the Rangers lose tonight, you can’t say this post jinxed them. That honor has already been reserved for Fox 4.

—  John Wright

Aim for the outfield

Gay chef Abraham Salum tests his Beard dinner and hits a home run

Sea-bass-Desiree-Espada

BASS PRO | The sea bass was the star of the test menu Abraham Salum plans for his upcoming James Beard House dinner. (Photo courtesy Desiree Espada)

While the Texas Rangers are vying for the American League pennant, the World Series for one local foodie is going on right now.

Chef Abraham Salum already has a solid local reputation for his inventive cuisine, but this month, he gets called up to the bigs. As any chef knows, that means one thing: Cooking at the James Beard House in New York City.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is “to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence.” That means inviting cooks to strut their stuff at a variety of events, including the chance to prepare a meal at the JBF House. The invitation alone is an honor, and one Salum will be executing on Oct. 21.

But before the big night, Salum — chef-owner of both his eponymous Uptown eatery and neighboring Komali — tested the waters on his planned JBF dinner with a preview tasting.

The evening began at Komali, with passed hors d’oeuvres. Items on deck included seafood tostadas, Lebanese style arancini balls, caprino royale Texas goat cheese and country butter biscuits with chicken fried chicken.

Next at bat: A full four courses with wine pairings, plus dessert, served up in the Salum dining room.

The lineup was luscious: Chilled cream of corn, seared diver scallop with pickled beet carpaccio, oven roasted sea bass and braised pork jowls combined for an inventive menu with mango bread pudding as a sweet closer.

It’s next to impossible to choose one favorite from this team, though the oven roasted sea bass, served over pumpkin bisque, shaved Brussels sprouts and Spanish chorizo saute topped the heavyhitters list. The fish was sweet and flaky; a sprinkle of dukkah dust formed a delicious crust on top. The chorizo and the sprout lent the perfect amount of spice and texture to the creamy bisque.

I also fell in love with the mango bread pudding served per the chef “Mexican style,” with prickly pear sauce and queso cotija ice cream. Even a bread pudding skeptic like myself would not be not ashamed to admit to devouring every morsel.

Chefs get to the Beard House, named after the late gay gourmand, having established a national or regional reputation marked by use of high-quality, seasonal and/or local ingredients with demonstrated excellence in a particular discipline as well as the recommendations of his or her peers. As Chef Salum’s test dinner proved, the local gay chef is set to knock his JBF debut right out of the ballpark.

— Jenny Block

…………………….

TASTING NOTES

The-Family-Place-CupcakeBurgers and Burgundy, the DIFFA foodie fundraiser introduced two years ago, is back for its third installment on Sunday. The combination of red wine and gourmet burgers, featuring culinary creations from chefs including host John Tesar (The Commissary), Matt McCallister (Campo), Tim Byres (Smoke) and Teicchi Sakurai (Tei An), descends on One Arts Plaza from 4 to 7 p.m., Oct. 9. (If you don’t like wine, Grey Goose vodka cocktails will be poured.) Tickets are $75, and available at all participating restaurants or online at DIFFADallas.org.

Sprinkles Cupcakes has a history of leveraging the sale of their indulgent treats into charitable benefits, and the next one is near and dear to many queer hearts. From Nov. 1–6, 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of dark chocolate cakes adorned with a lavender dot, above, will go to The Family Place to combat teen bullying. Show youth “it gets better” while scarfing down a moist Sprinkles cupcake. It doesn’t get better than that.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas