WATCH: Houston puts Dallas to shame by staging Texas’ Big Gay Wedding for Valentine’s Day

While North Texas could only muster one same-sex wedding, 20 gay and lesbian couples participated in a mass ceremony on Sunday at Houston’s Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, in a Valentine’s weekend event called Texas’ Big Gay Wedding. View a slideshow from the ceremony by going here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Valentine’s Day recap edition

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. THE GOOD: Legislators in Washington state and Colorado were struck by Cupid’s arrow, as they introduced bills Monday to legalize same-sex marriage and civil unions, respectively. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that 24 Maryland senators have now said publicly that they’ll support pending marriage equality legislation, giving the bill the votes it needs to pass by the slimmest of margins.

2. THE BAD: The Indiana House was scheduled to vote Monday on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but the measure, which is expected to pass, was postponed because some lawmakers who want to go on record supporting the ban were absent. Meanwhile, lawmakers in New Hampshire are moving forward with hearings on a proposed repeal of same-sex marriage, despite polls showing a majority of residents oppose the repeal. And, in Chicago, six activists were arrested when they refused to leave a marriage bureau after a same-sex couple was denied a license.

3. THE UGLY: If you want to get really angry, or need a reminder as to what the struggle for equality is all about, watch the above video of police in Lima, Peru, using violence to break up a Valentine’s Day “Kisses Against Homophobia” demonstration that took place Saturday. According to Living in Peru, one activist needed 10 stitches to the back of her head.

—  John Wright

Quote of the Day: Pat Carlson

Pat Carlson

“There is a continual effort by the homosexual community to push their agenda on the rest of us. The bottom line is they are trying to destroy traditional marriage as we know it in the country and make their lifestyle the norm. They make it seem that anybody who has a problem with it is homophobic.”

Pat Carlson, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, in a Star-Telegram article about marriage equality demonstrations on Valentine’s Day in Texas

—  John Wright

Sam Harris posts free download for Valentine’s

Singer Sam Harris offers everyone a gift for this Valentine’s Day. And today only. He tweeted this a bit ago. Love the Golden Girls reference.

Harris’ Facebook then says this is “the Gospel version of ‘You’ve Got a Friend.’ Link valid Valentine’s Day only! Now’s the time to share the link to friends! Enjoy!” He turns the James Taylor (or Carole King, however you look at it) classic into a whole new spin with the backing choir and heavy beat. It’s always hard to beat the originals, but those aren’t free right now.

Now you can say you didn’t go empty handed on V-Day —like one of my co-workers keeps griping about.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay Valentine’s Day hookup hearts


If you do a Google Images search for “gay Valentine’s Day,” this is one of the top results. It was apparently created by Austin-based graphic designer Rene Flores of Jerkypants. Unfortunately we don’t know of any place that’s actually selling these hearts, but we couldn’t resist sharing.

—  John Wright

Women’s Chorus holds open auditions

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas is holding open auditions for singers interested in joining its ranks. Rehearsals will begin on the next two Mondays — Feb. 14 and 21 — promptly at 7 p.m. at the Sammons Center on Harry Hines near Oak Lawn. Anyone who’d like to check it out is invited to sit in.

Valentine’s Day, though? OK, the timing isn’t the best, but then again, maybe it’s a great way to network and meet other eligible ladies in the mod for romance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A look at what the newly famous gay couple from our cover story is doing for Valentine’s

KC, left, and Larry Jansson

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I seem to be the only romantic in the Dallas Voice office. Valentine’s Day was my anniversary.

To counter the lack of Valentine’s Day cheer around here today — senior editor Tammy Nash and wife Sandra will be going to the gym together, advertising director Leo Cusimano did Valentine’s things with his kids over the weekend, classifieds manager Greg Hoover thinks a poker game tonight might be fun — I spoke to Larry and KC Jansson. Fast becoming Dallas’ most popular romantic couple, we featured them in the cover story of Friday’s Dallas Voice.

“So of course you know we are romantics,” Larry said.

Duh.

Yesterday they checked into the W-Dallas hotel, where they held their wedding reception in December 2009.

“It was so cool to be here again,” he said. “This place will always be special to us.”

But of course that wasn’t all of the romance.

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Gay and lesbian couples participate in Valentine’s Day mass wedding in San Antonio

Each year a mass wedding is held on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio. But this year for the first time, the event included nearly two dozen same-sex couples, KENS-TV reports:

It was a first for the grassroots movement. They quietly filed in with almost 150 couples who had marriage licenses. All of them listened as Joe Sullivan, an ordained minister and Valentine’s Day officiator of many years, gave instruction as well as advice.

The ceremony had ended and the same-sex couples had exchanged rings, vows and kisses before Sullivan was made aware his crowd of newlyweds was different this time.

“They don’t have a license,” Sullivan said. “If they took vows, it really means nothing.”

But the same-sex couples said they walked away feeling just like they were married anyway.

The thought of gay and lesbian couples in the event did not seem to bother some of the participants.

“In this day and age — whatever it is — I know my religion and faith in God,” newlywed Mark Aguilar said.

The San Antonio action is one of dozens of demonstrations planned across the country calling for marriage equality on Valentine’s Day, according to GetEQUAL. We’ve posted a list of events in Texas after the jump. As far as we know, nothing is planned in North Texas, although a lesbian couple that had been turned away from a private wedding chapel because of their sexual orientation married in a public ceremony Friday at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. Publicist Kris Martin sent over the below photo of the couple, Tina Shaft and Tiffany Fenimore, posing for a NoH8 photo after the wedding, and the Dallas Observer has a nice write-up about the event. “They are a wonderful couple with a very supportive family,” Martin said in her e-mail. “I felt like mother of the brides.”


—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Cop resigns over anti-gay posts; gay spider monkeys to get Valentine’s Day treat

Elton and David, gay spider monkeys

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A sheriff’s lieutenant in Colorado has resigned after he was caught posting racist and anti-gay comments on news websites using his work computer. For example, here’s what Lt. Jeff Engor of the Douglas County sheriff’s department wrote below a story about the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” in December: “New miltary [sic] slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way! Be as gay as you can be! Aim for a high hard one, Air Force! Join the Navy, see naked men!” There’s no word on whether Engor was simultaneously crusing Manhunt on the same computer.

2. A zoo in the UK is preparing a special Valentine’s Day treat for two gay spider monkeys. The monkeys, who share an enclosure, have been a couple since last March and have since been renamed Elton and David, after Elton John and his partner. For their first Valentine’s Day together, the zoo has announced that it will be giving the monkeys a romantic meal of fruit and nuts. Wow, talk about a brilliant marketing scheme. No one had even heard of these monkeys before!

3. As we noted below, our new so-called anthem, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” was released this morning. But seriously, and we don’t mean to sound like haters here, but if it’s really a gay anthem, why is Gaga partnering for the release with Target?

—  John Wright

Love on the down load

Phil Hendricks, the mind behind Manhunt.net and now Gaydar.net, says online dating can be about more than just hook-ups

MIKEY ROX  | Contributing Writer
mikey@paperroxscissors.com

We all have our Stuart Smalley moment: That nadir of self-esteem where we feel unloved and wonder if anyone will ever ask us out again. And we also can feel invincible, as if the world is full of men seeking out someone just like us. Or maybe it’s just about getting a date for Valentine’s Day.

Whatever your mood — especially this time of year — it’s wrong to think online gay social sites are all about hookups … though there certainly is that, too.

Phil Henricks, the marketing guru currently with Gaydar.net and previously a creative mind with Manhunt.net and M4M World, is a pioneer in online dating. And he doesn’t think it’s fair to say all sites are created the same — just like gay bars, there’s something for everyone.

Henricks talks about Gaydar.net’s humble beginnings (it started so the founders’ friend could land a man), whether online dating among gays is more about Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, which political circle has been caught quietly cruising for men and why its new mobile app is more than just another Grindr.

Dallas Voice: You have quite a history as the man behind the curtain of the world’s most popular dating sites — Manhunt, M4M World, and now you’re head of North American marketing at Gaydar. Is it true that that site was started because the founder’s friend wanted a boyfriend? Did he find one? Phil Hendricks: Yup. Necessity was the father of this invention. Gaydar began in June 1999 because the founders, Henry Badenhorst and Gary Frisch, had a friend who was desperate to find a boyfriend but didn’t have the time or interest in trawling gay bars. They recommended [the search engine] Excite, which had a personals page where one could post a profile, but it took the poor guy two weeks to get a response. Henry thought he could do better and created a personal site just for the gay market. Five months later, Gaydar launched and their friend got his boyfriend.

Great story, but be honest: Is Gaydar geared toward relationships, or are the people who are using it really just looking for hookups? I like to think of Gaydar as an online version of a typical gay bar, whereas I think of other sites as closer to being online versions of a bathhouse. At Gaydar you have people who are looking for a date, looking for love, looking for a quickie, looking to flirt or just watching the boys go by, just as you would at a gay bar. Cliché as it sounds, Gaydar is what you make it. There’s something for everyone.

Gaydar.net Exec Phil Hendricks

It seems like there are no lesbian dating sites — or at least not as many as there are gay dating sites. Why do you think that is?  There are very few lesbian dating websites. It’s a smaller market, but also I think girls prefer to meet under more traditional circumstances, such as being introduced through friends, girl bars, parties, events, cruising Home Depot. That said, Gaydar does indeed have — ta-dah — a lesbian dating site. It’s called GaydarGirls.com. It’s comparably smaller than the men’s site and not as heavily marketed, but busy nonetheless.

What’s the most popular time of day for users to log on? Can you pinpoint it? Like, for example, the third Wednesday of the month at 3:53 p.m. I have been in industry for 10 years and it is the same at every site. Believe it or not, Monday nights are hot. They’re almost always the busiest of the week. Sundays from 5 to 11 p.m. is second, followed by Tuesdays.

What your main demographic? Old, young, top, bottom? Gaydar is a very welcoming site — a friendly gay bar, if you will. There are all types, ages and sizes of guys. That said, we’re really welcoming to guys age 24 and younger, who get totally free, full-access membership. We figure younger and college guys could use a break and we could use the eye candy. As for demographics, as of six months ago, 20 percent of our members are total tops, 15 percent are total bottoms, and 65 percent are versatile.

Anybody famous have a profile on the site? You don’t have to say their name out loud, but a clever little blind item wouldn’t hurt. And then whisper the name in my ear. Apparently, Gaydar is big with British Members of Parliament, the discovery of which has been catnip to the press. They found photos of one in an act too disgusting to describe in a family newspaper.” But it’s Boy George who got Gaydar into the gossip columns after his arrest for [falsely imprisoning] a rent boy he met on Gaydar. Google it.

Who’s the person who approves them and their requisitely racy photos. I’m sure he’s seen it all. Can I shadow him for a day? Nuns. Seriously, it’s a room full of people. All kinds — gay, straight, men, women, out of work MPs  — who go at it, 18 hours a day. With over 6 million members posting in nine languages, including photos and video, it’s a daunting task — but Gaydar soldiers on.

What does it take to get disapproved? I’m sure you’ve got a story. Gaydar prides itself on its relaxed stance when it comes to profile text, so we prefer not to censor. Members can pretty much say whatever they want. When it comes to photos, of course, they have to be of the member [as in, the person in the profile] and images of children, penetration, ejaculation and sex with animals or office supplies are forbidden. We have had very few issues with member photos. We have a sexy, frisky, but well-behaved crowd.

Office supplies? I don’t even wanna know. Are you required by law to save the chat logs and e-mail between members? I bet some of those are a doozy. Logs are kept, but only for the protection of the site and our customers. Only in the case of a major harassment complaint are the logs opened, and even then they can only be accessed by the customer service director. We are exceedingly strict about guarding our members’ privacy. True, it’d be the ultimate fly-on-the-wall moment, but it’ll never happen. Your secrets — and lies — are safe with us.

Where is the future of the Gaydar site headed? A couple years ago Manhunt.net launched OnTheHunt.com, which facilitates real members hooking up on film, and the sudden popularity of Grindr sort of revolutionized the way gays connect on and offline. What’s next? Gaydar and porn? Uh, no. We’ve no interest in whoring out our members for profit. Works for some, but it’s just not what the Gaydar brand is about. Gaydar is about fun, meeting, dating, as well as gay culture. We have GaydarNation.com, which is our huge gay entertainment site, plus there’s GaydarRadio.com, with half a million listeners. Mobile technology also gets us hot. We just launched the Gaydar app for the iPhone, which was an immediate hit since we were the first major gay dating site to offer a fully integrated app, allowing app and web users the exact same access to its profiles and options. The Android Gaydar app should be ready shortly after Valentine’s Day! Beyond the app, we’re giving the website an extreme makeover, which will be really fun. Look for that in early summer.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright