Advocate names Putin its Person of the Year

December 2014 - Vladimir Putin LOIt’s just the first week in November, but The Advocate magazine — the long-standing publication about gay issues — has just released its December/January edition, in which it picks its Person of the Year, and this time out, it’s Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

Not exactly a powerhouse in favor of gay rights, but that’s not the point.

Like Time magazine, The Advocate selects its winner based on his or her influence in gay life and newsworthiness … for good or bad. Time famously selected Adolf Hitler its Man of the Year in 1938, to great controversy. This fact isn’t lost on The Advocate, which placed its title over Putin’s face … in a way intentionally reminiscent of a Hitler moustache. (You can read the story here.)

While I respect the boldness of the choice, Dallas Voice tends to be more positive (and more local). We will select our LGBT Texan of the Year based on the out Texan who has made a positive impact on gay issues. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 12.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s the gayest city in America?

rainbow_flag_1024_768You know what the gayest city in the U.S. is, right? It’s San Francisco … or maybe Palm Springs. Fort Lauderdale has to be up there, and Key West. And don’t forget P’town. Of course, we can’t discount the Big Apple. Point is, it’s one of those, definitely.

Nuh-uh. Try Washington, D.C.

San Fran doesn’t even make the top 10, according to The Advocate. In fact neighboring Oakland fares better. That’s because The Advocate uses a metric that’s based on complex criteria, instead of “most bathhouses,” “largest gyms” and “hottest men in tank tops and cut-offs” (my own formula).

I supposed D.C., where I grew up, makes sense. I mean, c’mon, we’ve all seen that pic of Paul Ryan with a dumbbell (I mean a weight, not Sarah Palin), and Capitol Hill is a veritable gay bar of closet cases.

Anyway, here’s list, ranked 1–15.

Washington, D.C.

Pasadena

Seattle

Cambridge, Mass.

Atlanta

St. Louis

Madison, Wisc.

Salt Lake City

Oakland

Arlington, Va.

San Francisco

Rochester, N.Y.

Orlando

Long Beach. Calif.

Pittsburgh

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy meets with college leaders about LGBT issues

Chick-Fil-A-Hates-Fags

With Chick-fil-A fights breaking out on campuses across the country, including several in North Texas, company CEO Dan Cathy reportedly met with college leaders to discuss LGBT issues in Atlanta on Thursday.

It was Cathy whose anti-gay comments earlier this summer sparked the protest. The details of Thursday’s meeting were brief and given by an unnamed source, but centered around “diversity, hospitality, and the opportunity to find common ground,” according to the source.

Cathy is trying to repair relationships with colleges in an effort to further expansion plans for more on-campus locations across the country, many at large schools.

The University of North Texas was the first of five area colleges to start a petition calling for the university to remove the restaurant from its student union. UTA later followed and members of UTA’s GSA are preparing to present the petition and a resolution to school officials.

SMU officials have already said they would not remove the restaurant from its campus. Kim Schroder, UNT’s associate director of retail dining services, told its student newspaper that the on-campus location wasn’t going anywhere soon.

Schroder said the petitions from a UNT student and a separate one created by an alumnus have not affected business, and the university’s five-year contract with the company would make removing it soon impossible.

—  Dallasvoice

Texas lesbian dresses as cow, protests Chick-fil-A with homooo message

A Texas lesbian activist donned a cow costume Wednesday with her wife in tow to protest Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay views.

Just Kusko stood outside an Austin Chick-fil-A with a sign that read “Don’t hate the homooo!” She publicized her protest plan on Facebook and posted pictures, which went viral.

“These pictures have really taken off,” she told The Advocate. “And what’s funny is, it all started as a simple Facebook status. I was just sick and tired of hearing about how Chick-Fil-A could promote such hate, denouncing me as a human being. Seeing all of my friends comments on Facebook just broke my heart. And to think, of all those chicken sandwiches I ate. I actually was paying for my own demise.”

Wednesday was designated as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and Dallas residents flocked to area restaurants, according to The Dallas Morning News.  A nationwide same-sex kiss-in day is planned for Friday.

Equality Texas is asking those who will no longer eat at Chick-fil-A to donate the cost of sandwich meal to their organization. The recommended donation is $6.50 but other amounts can also be donated.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas dad Cooper Smith of J.C. Penney ad fame writes heartfelt op-ed about Father’s Day gift

Cooper Smith, right, and Todd Koch were special guests Gay Bingo in the Rose Room on Saturday, June 16.

While many dads may have had the normal joys of fatherhood to celebrate Sunday, Dallas dads Cooper Smith and Todd Koch celebrated the public’s support for their family, which was featured in J.C. Penney’s June catalog.

Smith wrote an op-ed about the experience, highlighting the “gift of overwhelming love and support” that he and Koch received this Father’s Day.

The ad has made international news, leading to hundreds of supportive messages from gay and straight couples, Smith writes in the piece published on The Advocate’s website:

While we had no hesitation in doing the ad itself, we initially girded ourselves for a negative backlash. To our surprise, the response to our famiy has been overwhelmingly positive — shockingly positive, in fact.

We’ve received hundreds of emails, Facebook posts, Twitter comments and cards in the mail from everyone from long-lost friends and classmates to complete strangers in remote parts of the United States and beyond, each filled with heartfelt sentiments of support and acceptance. We’ve even heard from celebrities and other public figures.

Sure, there have been some pretty hateful comments and notes, too. But they’re nothing we haven’t heard our whole lives. More importantly, they’ve been eclipsed at least 100-to-1 by the positive ones.

Smith and Koch were special guests at Gay Bingo in the Rose Room on Saturday, where they spoke about the flood of media attention. CNN featured the family in a segment Friday, focusing on advertisers’ inclusion of same-sex couples lately from J.C. Penney’s lesbian couple in May to Gap and travel agencies. Smith said in the CNN interview that he thinks it is the first time gay dads have been featured with their children in an ad by a national company. Watch the segment below. The couple was also interviewed by The New York Times last week but that article has yet to be published.

—  Dallasvoice

“The Advocate” lists 15 gayest cities in America, leaves off Houston

The Advocate has come out with a list of the 15 “Gayest Cities in America” using a set of criteria that is… (what’s the best way to say this?) …”unique.” The list uses a point system based on nine criteria, assigns points for each and then divides the total points by the population living inside the city limits:

The Advocate's criteria

The winning cities range from Denver, CO at 15th (with 9 points and a score of 0.00001499) to Salt Lake City, UT in 1st place (with 6 points and  a score of 0.00003218). With a population of 2,099,451 (according to the 2010 census) Houston would have to score 32 points to make the list. Clearly the criteria are designed to favor smaller cities (Austin’s the only Texas city to make the list, coming in at 13th (with 12 points and a score of 0.00001518)), but part of the joy in making up meaningless lists for the internet is that you get to make up the criteria. So, based on the Advocates own criteria, how does Houston fair?

—  admin

3 months later, Donnie Pangburn’s encounter with ‘A-List Dallas’ cast member goes national

Dallas resident Donnie Pangburn has written an op-ed piece for The Advocate — the national LGBT mag — about his infamous encounter with A-List Dallas cast member Phillip Willis during a fundraiser for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS at Jack’s Backyard back in June. If you’ll recall, Pangburn’s story began as a letter to the editor of Dallas Voice, in which he alleged that Willis, who was selling raffle tickets at the event, referred to people with HIV as “those poor, sad, old people.” In his op-ed for The Advocate — which, interestingly, doesn’t identify Willis or the show by name  — Pangburn fills us in on some of his activiities since the controversy broke:

For my part, I’ve created a Facebook page called “How Would You Know?” to help stomp out the stigma of HIV and AIDS and provide education on where to get tested. It’s not going to solve the world’s problems on its own, but my intention is to offer a one-stop shop (if you will) full of facts, stories of encouragement, breaking news, and the list of needs that goes on and on.

I’ve also developed a Youth Community Forum where education will come directly from physicians and vaccine researchers, or others who just want to tell their stories — like I have. I now understand what it means to be “called.” No one chooses their calling: it chooses you. I am just a small-town Kentucky-bred man who is, let’s face it, a nobody. But like any of us can, I come with a voice of passion, a desire for hope, and a fire burning inside me to change the world.

If my one little voice can do all this in less than three months, imagine if everyone spoke up and said “Enough.” What would be the state of the world in reference to HIV and AIDS? Would there be any stigma at all?

Sadly, Pangburn’s new Facebook page, “How Would You Know?,” has far fewer fans (117) than his old one, “Boycott LOGO’s A-List Dallas” (639). But in case you’re wondering, his next Youth Community Forum is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Resource Center Dallas.

—  John Wright

WATCH: 8 GetEQUAL activists arrested at Capitol

The Advocate reports:

The direct action group GetEqual staged a sit-in in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon as part of an effort to push House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take a vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would outlaw workplace discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

—  John Wright

DADT update: Senate panel may debate repeal in open session Thursday afternoon

Kerry Eleveld at The Advocate reports via Twitter that a Democratic aide has told her the Senate Armed Services Committee will take up the proposed repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” Thursday afternoon in an open session. The committee initially planned to consider an amendment that would repeal the ban on open service in closed session, Eleveld says. Think Progress’ Wonk Room is reporting that the open session has been requested by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who’s threatening to join a Republican filibuster of the repeal if it makes it out of committee to the floor. McCain wants this afternoon’s committee proceedings to be televised.

Meanwhile, Keen News Service is reporting that a House debate on the DADT repeal likely won’t take place until Friday.

And finally, DADT repeal advocates Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo have announced a hunger strike. Here’s their press release:

FASTNG FOR EQUALITY & DIGNITY STATEMENT BY DAN CHOI

Immediately following congressional mark-ups on the National Defense Authorization Act 2011, Captain James Pietrangelo and I will commence a fast in pursuit of Equality and Dignity. We have three demands of President Barack Obama.

DEMAND #1: End the Comprehensive Working Group “Study,” which insults the dignity of all Americans.

DEMAND #2: End “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” discharges forever.

DEMAND #3: Replace all discriminatory regulations in the military with a comprehensive non-discrimination policy.

Choi added in a Twitter post that, “Some are prepared to spend Memorial Weekend in prison.”

For the latest Associated Press story on the DADT repeal, go here. Stay tuned to Instant Tea throughout the day for updates.

—  John Wright

BREAKING NEWS: Deal possible on DADT

The Advocate is reporting that representatives from Congress, the White House and LGBT groups were working on a deal this morning that would allow a legislative repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” to go forward this year. The proposed repeal of the military’s ban on open service is expected to be considered in both the House and Senate later in the week. From The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:

LGBT groups met with officials at the White House while legislative affairs representatives from the White House and the Department of Defense met with the House and Senate leadership offices on Capitol Hill along with those of Rep. Patrick Murphy and Sens. Carl Levin and Joseph Lieberman.

A White House aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed the White House meeting. “Our understanding is that Congress is determined to act this week and we are learning more about their proposal now,” said the aide.

A Democratic leadership aide called the development “promising” but said discussions were ongoing. The House Democratic leadership is expected to meet about the proposal later this afternoon.

According to one person familiar with the White House meeting, the proposal that is being considered would legislatively repeal the statute this year, but the current policy would remain in place and implementation of repeal would not occur until after the Pentagon’s working group study is finished in December. Further, completion of repeal would require certification from President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral Mike Mullen that the new law will not have a negative impact on readiness, recruitment, retention and other key factors that affect the military.

Also this morning, we received an update on the DADT repeal from Dave Guy-Gainer, a Tarrant County resident who serves on the board of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. I’ve posted Guy-Gainer’s update after the jump.

—  John Wright