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

Gay teens get their own Valentine’s Day dance; now they just need a photographer and a florist

LGBTQ youth in North Texas are getting their very own Valentine’s Day dance this year.

Chapters of the Gay Straight Alliance from five high schools in Dallas and Collin counties are coming together for the first-ever “Love Conquers All Ball,” hosted by LULAC #4871 and Youth First Texas.

The event will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at Youth First Texas, and a $2 requested donation at the door will benefit the Trevor Project.

Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC #4871, said all teens ages 14-18 are invited regardless of whether they’re members of GSAs — and regardless of whether they have dates.

Garcia also said organizers are looking for a photographer to take digital images of the couples, as well as a florist who can donate 50 to 60 flowers. Those interested in providing photography or flowers should e-mail jessegarciadallas@gmail.com.

A full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

Johnny Weir shocks the world and comes out

Johnny Weir

In the most shocking coming out since Sean Hayes confirmed he was gay a year ago, U.S. figure skating champion Johnny Weir came out this week. Weir had never denied being gay. He had just never confirmed it.

Weir has not avoided the LGBT community at all. In October, he was presented with the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award and had also been given a similar award by Equality California.

He has raised money for the Trevor Project and appeared on Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List.

Last year, Weir was on the U.S. Olympic figure skating team for the second time. He and Michelle Kwan are the only two skaters to ever be named Skater of the Year more than once. In 2001, he earned the title World Junior Champion. He was U.S. National Figure Skating Champion three times from 2004 through 2006.

Weir has a new book coming out Jan. 11 called Welcome to My World.

—  David Taffet

Spinning his wheels?

Gay racer Evan Darling needs major sponsors to keep his motor running

mikey rox  | mikey@paperroxscissors.com

EvanDarling1
REVVED UP | As NASCAR’s only out racer, Evan Darling stands out — but still can’t nab a sponsor.

Professional racecar driver Evan Darling is at a crossroads in his career: His engine is revved, but he’s running out of gas.

“The LGBT community has been very supportive and happy to see me doing what I am for the community — just not financially,” says the 42-year-old openly gay NASCAR athlete.

A lack of sponsorship may force the adrenaline junkie to trade in his fire suit for a grease monkey’s jumpsuit sooner than later.

“Things are not looking good for next season and I may have to go back to being a mechanic,” admits Darling, who competes in NASCAR’s Grand Am series. “I have had many say I would not get support, and I would hate to prove them right. I will always put effort into trying to get sponsors and race on a pro level — and

I have put all of my resources into it over the last few years. But the well is dry.”

Darling had his first pro race in April 2007, finishing 7th out of 37 starters, and raced Daytona in 2008. He was also on the Out 100 list in 2007.

But since 2009 he’s been almost raceless on the circuit. He’s secured local sponsors in Florida races, but none big enough to foot the $450,000 price tag needed to fund a full season. If he doesn’t snag the money before Jan. 5, he’ll miss the first race of the season and probably have to go back to being a full-time mechanic.

“I’m at the end of my financial ability to survive and will need to start over,” he says.

It’s not been for lack of effort. Darling approached LGBT political supporters with the promise of using their money to place a Trevor Project logo on his car to bring awareness of the initiative, but such supporters are not typically interested in sporting events… odd, considering that Gay Inc. makes a big stink about wanting pro athletes to live and play out-and-proud.

“I told my publicist I would be way more popular if I wore a pink sequin blouse under my racing suit,” Darling quips. “But that’s not me — I’m a regular guy that happens to be gay.”

Much to the chagrin of his teammates. Professional sports are notoriously homophobic, perhaps none more so than NASCAR, which is perceived to cater to rednecks, rappers and religious organizations — groups not particularly fond of the LGBT community.

“Many people have made derogatory remarks about my sexuality. I was fully expecting that going in [to racing],” he says. “I am a mechanic by trade and have had to put up with this mentality my whole life, so it’s not new to me.”

In fact, Darling’s dealt with bigots since childhood. His father, an attorney, represented the Irish-American war veterans in preventing Boston’s LGBT community from participating in its annual Veterans Day parade. His brother Brian is director for U.S. Senate Relations for the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, which famously feuded with Rosie O’Donnell on Larry King Live. Even his mother is still in denial about her son’s sexuality. But at least he can shrug that last one off.

“Things are a bit better now between us,” he says. “I visit them at Christmas and sometimes if I am in the area I stop in. I also call them every week as they’re getting up there in age.”

Darling’s tepid relationship with his family is indicative of how he’s approaching this new chapter in his life — one that may see him fixing cars instead of racing them. Much like his parents, he suggests, NASCAR just isn’t ready for a gay driver — and, as he’s realized, changing the minds of the unwilling is an uphill challenge.

“I think it would be great for the sport and the LGBT community,” he says, contemplating what would happen if someone like Sprint Cup superstar Jeff Gordon came out of the closet. “[But] there would be huge fallout from the NASCAR community. It would be very difficult for anyone that came out with that kind of career. I’m sure it would be interesting to see how his sponsors would react.”

The reality is, some of his current sponsors would certainly abandon him. But with the media frenzy an announcement of that caliber would create, new sponsors would surely step up to the pit, checkbooks in hand — probably none faster than Gay Inc. Because as Darling knows all too well: “It’s all about the bottom line” …. even if that should be, “supporting the community that supports you.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

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

WATCH: FCKH8 bashes back against gay bashing — what took so long?

While other causes are a little more on the sentimental side, I have to say the FCKH8 campaign has gotten my attention in under three minutes. Cursing kids shooting the middle finger — hilarious! Proceeds from the sales of their merch benefit the Trevor Project. T-shirts emblazoned with “Don’t B H8n on the Homos” among other clever items are too good to pass up. I’m digging the hoodie, although purple isn’t my color.

The campaign released its latest video on Sunday and while it’s fun to watch, it is so NSFW.

—  Rich Lopez

Finally, a chance to win Joel Burns’ underwear

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns has sat with Ellen, and if you play it right, he’ll sit with you. Burns, whose anti-bullying video became an Internet sensation, is himself the prize at the Thursday performance of Fort Worth’s Amphibian Stage Productions’ presentation of No Child… . The play, written by Nilaja Sun and directed by Rene Moreno, is a one-woman show about a teacher trying to make a difference in an inner-city school. The Nov. 11 performance of the play is devoted to the Trevor Project, which seeks to help at-risk LGBT youth. Twenty percent of that evening’s box office will go to the Trevor Project, and those in attendance that night can enter to win the “Lunch with the Hon. Joel Burns” raffle. He’ll also offer a pair of Ellen Show boxer shorts he autographed for auction.

You can find out more at AmphbianProductions.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

See the new Harry Potter movie early, support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

OK, how many Harry Potter fans do we have out there? And how many of you are chomping at the bit to see the new movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″?

It comes out at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 18, but here in the Metroplex, you have a chance to see the movie four hours early and at the same time contribute to a good cause: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I think it is a fitting fundraiser, considering the commitment that the film’s star, Daniel Radcliffe, has made to The Trevor Project and the many times Radcliffe has spoken out for LGBT rights.

The screening will be held at the Rave Theatre in Northeast Mall in Hurst. Tickets are $16 each and are available online at MugglesForLife.webs.com.

—  admin

Yet another gay teen suicide?

Alec Henriksen

Another teen who may have been gay has taken his own life — and this time he was from Utah, where a Mormon apostle just a few days ago called same-sex attraction “unnatural” and “impure” and said it can be changed.

We’ve long been saying on this blog that those in positions of power who spew homophobia have the blood of gay teen suicide victims on their hands — and we can only hope the reality of this will finally take hold in the mainstream.

PrideInUtah.com reports that 18-year-old Alec Henriksen, a Utah native who was a student at Earlham College in Indiana, was found dead on Sept. 30:

Alec Henriksen was a brilliant young computer programmer. And while suicide is always a terrible idea, I want to use his death as a call-to-action for anyone who cares for these young people. Please, help them. Love them for who they are. Put them in touch with the Trevor Project if possible.

PrideInUtah.com adds that the website from which it obtained the information about Henriksen’s suicide — and presumably about his sexual orientation — has since been taken down.

However, Instant Tea found this statement on the Earlham College website confirming Henriksen’s death. The statement says his body was found on property belonging to Earlham Cemetery, and that no foul play is suspected. We also found Henriksen’s obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune.

If it turns out that Henriksen was not gay, our point remains. And if he was gay but someone is trying to cover it up, it would be typical of how Mormon culture deals with gay teen suicide — which is a big problem in Utah.

If Henriksen was gay, his death would bring to at least six the number of gay teen suicides that have been reported nationwide in recent weeks. Of course, it’s safe to say the real number is considerably higher.

—  John Wright

Daniel Radcliffe speaks out on teen suicides in PSA for The Trevor Project

Lots of celebrities have been speaking out over the past week or so on the subject of the teens who have killed themselves after being bullied. Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter film series, has added his voice to the discussion in the form of a public service announcement for The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.

Because I am a Harry Potter fan, I am sharing Radcliffe’s video here:

—  admin