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

Query • 11.05.10

How will Tuesday’s elections affect the LGBT community?

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Karen McCrocklin — “Now, more then ever, we need to make progress personal. Changing hearts and minds is the most effective on a one-to-one basis. Whatever the political climate, we can continue to create change by living openly, authentically and unapologetically.”

Jade Esteban Estrada — “Many LGBT community members will step up and see how easy it is to lose our recent gains and will become more passionate in their leadership, visibility and activism. I believe it will stir the pot and get them more involved.”

Wendy North — “It will make people either move to Canada or get working to effect change. Write opinions to the paper, social media or tell everyone you know how you feel. Change happens slowly. Start now!”

Terry Loftis — “Nationally things will move forward albeit probably at a slower pace than before. I don’t think the American public see our efforts as the big threat.”

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dallas BiNet marking ‘Celebrate Bisexuality Day’ with mixer at Bronx

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

The local chapter of BiNet will mark Celebrate Bisexuality Day on Thursday, Sept. 23, with a mixer at 6 p.m. in the back patio area of The Bronx on Cedar Springs Road.

Nationally, this is the 19th annual event according to BiNet USA.

“We’re getting together to bring visibility to bisexuals in North Texas during Pride,” said Latisha McDaniel. “We’re trying to make the B not silent anymore.”

She said bisexuals often just blend.

“They just lump the B’s,” she said. “We’re either in a same-sex relationship or we’re in a straight relationship,” so bisexuals are often seen as either gay or straight.

McDaniel said that coming out as bisexual is often risky in any relationship. In the gay and lesbian community, she said that bisexuality is often treated as a transitional phase.
“We’re treated as 2 percent milk, kind of lukewarm,” she said.

McDaniel said she has even been asked why she cares about marriage equality.

“It’s as if bis come to the gayborhood for their kicks and then go home,” she said.

Morgan O’Donnell said she has been with DFW BiNet since April.

“I had been in a job that was fairly supportive,” she said. “I left that job and didn’t have support. When I went to BiNet, they went all out to welcome me.”

She said DFW BiNet’s support group meets the first Saturday of each month at Resource Center Dallas to discuss issues of particular concern to people coming out and living as bisexual.

“We’re considered to be sitting on the fence,” O’Donnell said, adding that is the number one issue bisexuals regularly address to straights as well as to gays and lesbians.
“It helps to be with a group of people who share similar experiences,” she said.

O’Donnell said that the event at The Bronx is for allies and supporters as well as bisexuals and those who are questioning.

“The evening will give people an opportunity to celebrate their bisexuality,” O’Donnell said, adding that she hopes the event brings more visibility to DFW BiNet.

A $5 donation at the door is suggested. Reservations are not required but are suggested since seating is limited. Reservations can be made on the group’s Facebook page found under DFW BiNet.

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

—  Michael Stephens

SC Pride hangs rainbow banners in Columbia to increase lgbt visibility

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

 

Photobucket The upcoming SC Pride festival is what everyone is talking about in Columbia and a key move by the organization coordinating the festival is a good reason why:

Displaying a multitude of colors, the rainbow flag is now hanging from lamp posts on Main and Gervais Streets. The brightly colored banner is a sign of diversity and acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

“It definitely will promote the event, but I also hope it makes people realize that there is a strong LGBT community that exists in Columbia,” said Vice President of Center Operations Santi Thompson with the SC Pride Movement.

Thompson adds that for the first time in the organization's 21 year history, the rainbow flags will fly in downtown Columbia in celebration of this weekend's SC Pride Parade and Festival.

The flags not only had to be approved by the City of Columbia, but the organization also had to get clearance from businesses along the two streets.

“I think the flags being flown on Main Street and Gervais Street make people excited and will help them realize it’s not as backwards as we think,” said Thompson.

For many lgbt South Carolinians who have to live with the stereotype of our state being backwards, these flags and the increased visibility they bring are a like bursts of fresh air. It also reveals the steady pace the SC lgbt leadership has been working to make things better for our community.

The banners also caught local anti-gay leaders by surprise. Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council was asked about the banners and all he could muster is the following:

“I think the mistake the city has made is being knee deep in agenda for a specific organization promoting a specific kind of lifestyle,” 

If you ask me, he is probably upset. Up until yesterday, he probably thought he had the easiest job in the state.

For more information on the SC Pride week, especially Saturday's festival featuring 80s diva Taylor Dayne, go here. Full disclosure time – I will be one of Saturday's speakers and will also be receiving the Order of the Pink Palmetto.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Fairness Fort Worth forges ahead

David Mack Henderson

Fairness Fort Worth began as a reaction to the Rainbow Lounge raid but has evolved into an ongoing organization working for local equality.

David Mack Henderson, one the the group’s organizers, sent word that at their Aug. 26 meeting, they will reveal their new logo.

In addition, they’re rolling out a membership campaign with incentives for charter membership. The group should gain visibility in the upcoming weeks, participating in the Dallas and Fort Worth parades and with a booth at the Fort Worth picnic.

At the meeting, they’ll provide an update on some of the things they’ve been working on:

** Update on city of Fort Worth policy directives and domestic partner benefits

** New outreach to FWISD on Anti-Bullying Project

** Local hospital LGBT policies

The general meeting is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth, 76104. Everyone is welcome.

—  David Taffet