Jim Schutze on anti-gay bullying

DV contributor Phyllis Guest alerts us to Jim Schutze’s post on bullying over at Unfair Park. And this paragraph pretty well sums it up:

“Kids become bullies as expressions of their parents’ values. They think it’s OK — actually, they think it’s a good thing — to knock a gay kid’s teeth down his throat down by the gym because their parents have signaled to them it’s a good thing. Blood on their cuffs when they come home at night means they won’t turn gay themselves. They must kill the thing their parents fear. Like turning American. Or black. Or white. Whatever.”

—  John Wright

Angela Hunt isn’t running for mayor, and James Nowlin isn’t dropping out of the District 14 race

James Nowlin

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a staunch LGBT ally who represents the heavily gay District 14, tells Unfair Park that she’s opted not to run for mayor in 2011, and will instead seek re-election to her council seat.

But James Nowlin, the openly gay candidate who announced plans to run for Hunt’s District 14 seat when it looked like she’d run for mayor, says he doesn’t plan to withdraw from the race and will challenge her in May.

“Angela made every indication that she was running for mayor, and our campaign team moved forward, and as we were moving forward we received tremendous support from voters across the district,” Nowlin said Wednesday. “Her waiting put the district and the potential candidates in a very awkward position. I’m in to to win it and I’m moving forward to the May 14 election.”

Another potential candidate in District 14, Jim Rogers, has said he won’t run if Hunt seeks re-election. But Nowlin, who was appointed to the Police Review Board by Hunt, said the seat belongs to the voters and he wants to give them a choice.

“I’m not running against anybody,” Nowlin said. “I’m running for the district, and this is about putting the district first.”

The filing period for Dallas city elections begins next week.

—  John Wright

WATCH: ‘Glee’ auditions this weekend in FW

“The only qualifications are that you are over 18 and that you can play high school on TV,” says Darren Criss, who plays Blaine on the show. But you’ll want to download and fill out an application, and be prepared to sing at least 16 bars a cappella of one of these songs:

“No Air” (Jordin Sparks)
“Hate on Me” (Jill Scott)
“Alone” (Heart)
“One of Us” (Joan Osborne)
“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (from Dreamgirls)
“Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” (Poison)
“Baby One More Time” (Britney Spears)
“Gives You Hell” (All American Rejects)
“Don’t Rain On My Parade” (Barbra Streisand)
“To Sir, with Love” (From To Sir, with Love)

The audtions are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Norris Conference Centers-Fort Worth, 304 Houston St.

For more info or to pre-register, go here.

Via: Unfair Park


—  John Wright

Dallas City Council resolution condemns bullying, notes that LGBT students are often the victims

As Unfair Park first reported last week, the Dallas City Council on Wednesday will consider a resolution to condemn all bullying, harassment and intimidation at schools in the city. The two-page resolution, submitted by seven council members, notes that “children and youth with disabilities and children and youth who are lesbian, gay, or trans-gender, or who are perceived to be so, [are] at particularly high risk of being bullied by their peers … ”

The resolution was submitted by Angela Hunt, Pauline Medrano, Delia Jasso, Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Steve Salazar and Tennell Atkins. If you’ll remember, Michael Piazza, executive director of Hope for Peace and Justice, addressed the City Council and requested just such a resolution three weeks ago (you can watch video of Piazza’s remarks here). Since then, the Dallas Independent School District’s board of trustees has opted to move forward with a new bullying policy that would specifically protect LGBT students. So at this point the City Council resolution is like icing on the cake. And just in case you really like icing, we’ve posted the full text below.

—  John Wright

Why doesn’t DISD’s proposed new anti-bullying policy specifically protect LGBT students?

Edwin Flores

Via Unfair Park, we noticed that the Dallas Independent School District’s board of trustees is considering a new anti-bullying policy.

Which makes sense in light of all the recent bullying-related suicides across the country. DISD Trustee Edwin Flores tells Unfair Park that the district needs to make its policies more specific and comprehensive. What doesn’t make sense, though, is the fact that nowhere in the proposed policy does DISD spell out the types of bullying that will be prohibited, such as bullying based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, and bullying based on gender identity and/or expression. In short, the proposed new policy, as written, DOES NOT specifically protect LGBT students.

If trustees truly want to be more specific and comprehensive — rather than just trying to score a few political points — they need to spell out what types of bullying will be prohibited. After all, it’s legal to fire someone for being in gay in Texas precisely because sexual orientation isn’t included in state employment law. Likewise, the absence of sexual orientation from DISD’s anti-bullying policy could be construed to mean that it’s OK to bully someone for being gay.

DISD has a nondiscrimination policy, passed in the 1990s, that includes sexual orientation BUT NOT gender identity, which explains why the district can so openly discriminate against a transgender girl who wants to run for homecoming queen. The nondiscrimination policy passed in the 1990s is non-inclusive of transgender people, and Andy Moreno is in some ways paying for it today.

The LGBT community shouldn’t allow DISD to put yet another non-inclusive policy on the books. How many more gay teen suicides will it take before the district addresses the real causes?

Trustees are set to discuss the proposed policy during their regular meeting, at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 14 in the board room at 3700 Ross Ave. in Dallas. There will be an opportunity for public comments at the start of the meeting. Also, contact info for DISD trustees is available here.

—  John Wright

Steve Blow’s controversial blog post was also homophobic

In case you missed it, Dallas Morning News Metro columnist Steve Blow is under heavy fire for a blog item he posted yesterday about a Rowlett priest accused of inappropriately touching girls and women. Here’s what Blow’s original item said:

This is sad to say, but it’s almost refreshing to read about a priest accused of good, old-fashioned heterosexual perviness.

The dreadful stuff between priests and boys has been going on for so long that I almost forgot that some priests have more mainstream sexual hang-ups.

Again, I say, it’s time for a married priesthood.

In response to the ensuing outcry, the post was pulled from The DMN’s website, and Blow apologized. CBS 11 provides a recap of some of the criticism:

Bethany Anderson at D-Magazine’s FrontBurner blog responded by questioning his wording.

“I’m not so sure the women and girls molested by this priest find it refreshing,” she wrote. “Perhaps a better choice of words, friend?”

And at the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park, Andrea Grimes called the post a “rape joke.”

“A penchant for molesting women and girls who are members of your church is not a ‘sexual hangup.’ It’s a crime. They are not asking for it. They did not consent,” she wrote.

I don’t disagree with Anderson and Grimes, but one thing no one has mentioned is the fact that Blow’s post was also patently homophobic. In saying that it’s “refreshing to read about a priest accused of good, old-fashioned heterosexual perviness,” Blow implies that pedophilia is somehow worse when it involves an adult male and an underage boy. Blow’s post also serves to perpetuate the myth that pedophilia and homosexuality are somehow linked, which is simply not true.

For the record, here’s Blow’s apology:

“If you have to explain humor, it has failed. My attempt here at some sardonic humor has obviously failed with a number of readers. I apologize,” read his post. “No offense was intended — except toward pervy priests of any persuasion.”

—  John Wright

Carrie Prejean is getting sued

Robert Wilonsky posted on Unfair Park that Carrie Prejean is getting sued by a local P.R. firm. By the sounds of it, Miss Prejean owes a hefty chunk of change to A. Larry Ross Communications. The local, Christian-based firm was trying to help do some damage control after her ill-fated response to Perez Hilton’s same-sex marriage question at the 2009 Miss USA caused a windstorm.

The firm is claiming she owes them over $64,000.

—  Rich Lopez

Federal judge: Sodomy ruling doesn't protect gays from 'hatred, contempt or ridicule'

Over at Unfair Park, Robert Wilonsky gives us an update on a lawsuit brought by a former Love Field security guard who claims he lost his job after Dallas radio host Rickey Smiley accused him of being gay on the air last year. Plaintiff Henry Robinson says he’s straight, and as such, he claims Smiley’s statements were defamatory. Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor denied Smiley’s motion to dismiss Robinson’s lawsuit, and in doing so the judge raised an interesting question.

In his ruling, O’Connor notes that in Texas, “the imputation of homosexuality has historically been defamatory per se as it imputes the crime of sodomy.” However, he adds that, “No case appears to address whether imputation of homosexuality continues to be defamatory as a matter of law in the wake of Lawrence (the U.S. Supreme’s Court’s 2003 ruling overturning the state’s sodomy statute].” But O’Connor concludes that, “At a minimum, though, judicial caution requires the court to acknowledge that the imputation of homosexuality might as a matter of fact expose a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule.”

So, in other words, even conservative judges like O’Connor (a George W. Bush appointee) acknowledge that being gay exposes people to hatred and discrimination. But why is this fact only brought up in the context of a straight person suing someone for accusing them of being gay? Shouldn’t this be grounds for equal rights and protections under the law? Or, as “John M.” puts it in the comments to Wilonsky’s post, “If we are going to acknowledge that homosexuality expose(s) a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, it seems kind of hard to defend the idea that things like marriage equality are only a matter of tradition and not the result of said hatred, contempt and ridicule.”

—  John Wright