Out & Equal to hold 2011 convention in Dallas

Out & Equal, the national organization that champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people, will hold its annual convention at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas in 2011, according to an e-mail we received Tuesday from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“I am happy to officially announce that the contract is in and it’s official. Dallas will be hosting one of the largest GLBT conventions in the country and one of the first in Dallas!!!” wrote Veronica L. Torres, directory of diversity & community relations at the CVB. ”This convention will bring over 8 MILLION dollars in economic impact to Dallas!!! This is INCREDIBLE! We are so excited to see all of our community come together to make this happen. This convention will continue to build a platform for Dallas to stand on and show that we ARE a great city for GLBT business and conventions with a strong community to support it!!!”

According to Out & Equal’s website, the annual convention “boasts more than 2,300 attendees who participate in over 125 workshops and caucuses all designed to create an inclusive workplace. The abundance of activities and nationally celebrated keynote speakers result in an experience that has been described as ‘an enlightening watershed of information.’”

This year’s Out & Equal convention, known as the Workplace Summit, will be held in Los Angeles in October.

—  John Wright

Picking apart today’s press release on Dallas Pride from the Convention and Visitors Bureau

OK, so I shouldn’t criticize. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau means well. They want to attract people to Dallas. They want to attract gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people to Dallas. I’m just not sure they’re really comfortable with that idea. From the press release DCVB sent out today:

DALLAS (July 15, 2010) – The Dallas lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is gearing up for the city’s 27th annual gay pride celebration. This year’s theme, “One Heart, One World, One Pride”, will highlight the direction of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and subsequent Pride Festival at Lee Park on September 19, 2010.

Hmmm. Well, if the LGBT community is your audience, you don’t really have to explain to them what LGBT means.

“Dallas appreciates and celebrates its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, and September is the perfect time for visitors to enjoy one of the nation’s largest pride parades and the many other festivities throughout the weekend,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If only that were more true, but good quote.

Dallas Pride weekend offers numerous events across the city. The highlight of the weekend is the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Now in its 27th year, the parade is expecting to include nearly 2,000 marching participants and draw more than 40,000 spectators from across the nation and around the world. Immediately following the parade will be the Pride Festival at Lee Park. For more information and a schedule of events, please visit www.dallasprideparade.com.

Not held when anyone else holds Pride, so if you didn’t get your fill in your own hometown, come to ours. We celebrate in September to commemorate our own history, not to celebrate something that happened in New York City. Also, it’s a little cooler then.

Like many gay pride celebrations, Dallas Pride roots back to the late 70s when up to 300 men and women marched through downtown Dallas waving flags and shouting gay rights slogans. The Dallas Tavern Guild adopted the parade from volunteers in 1982 and named it the Texas Freedom Parade in 1983. The organization remains committed to making the celebration grow each year.

This year, grand marshals of the Parade will include Erin Moore, known for her work with the Dallas Young Democrats organization, and Paul Lewis, the long-time organizer of the Parade who also worked with Alan Ross for many years.

Oops. Dallas Young Democrats? Erin? Young?

Beautiful and sexy, maybe. But shouldn’t that read Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, one of the largest Democratic groups in North Texas? But she’s better known for her work forcing the city and many of its agencies to write equality into their non-discrimination policies. But I understand. “Erin Moore, known for forcing equality down the throats of often unwilling agencies,” just doesn’t have that press release ring to it.

Lewis is also loved in the community for heading the PWA Holiday Gift Project. And served on the board of OLCS and threw Daire Center dinners. Just wanted to mention. He’s done a lot. His commitment to the community is more than a once-a-year parade thing. But they’re right. He coordinated it for years.

Just as it has for the past 27 years, the Parade will begin at Wycliff Avenue at 2 p.m. and march down Cedar Springs Road to Robert E. Lee Park.  The celebration will continue with a festival that includes vendor booths, live music performances and more.

For more information on Dallas’ LGBT community and to book a trip to Dallas, complete with a customized itinerary, visit www.glbtdallas.com.

Nice. OK, so maybe if I were writing the press release, I would have included a quote from a gay person. I might have mentioned something about the entertainment or a lesbian venue or something the transgender community is planning.

And I wouldn’t have been afraid to mention that all these activities take place in Oak Lawn. I know part of Oak Lawn was renamed “Uptown” by developers and real estate people to dissociate all that new development from the queers. (Look at a city plat — there’s no such thing as “Uptown.” Up to the corner of Central and Fitzhugh is Oak Lawn.) But when your intended audience is LGBT, not mentioning Oak Lawn is kind of odd.

And unfortunately, glbtdallas.com doesn’t really give much information on the LGBT community of Dallas. No links to community businesses other than bars. Art galleries are listed, but no list of gay- and lesbian-owned galleries. No list of LGBT-owned restaurants and stores. No link to the city’s award-winning LGBT newspaper.

But no one asked me.

—  David Taffet