Labor Day, Walmart and me


Jackie Cote, right, and her wife, Dee

By Jackie Cote

Special Contributor

Labor Day is the traditional end of summer.  For me it’s been a special summer with my wife Dee.

Dee has ovarian cancer, and is now receiving hospice care at our home in New Bedford, Mass. This spring we decided to start ticking items off her bucket list.

We just spent some time in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with Dee’s son and daughter-in-law. There, Dee got to dip her feet in the sand and the water, collect a few shells, and spend time with family. It was fantastic.

Dee’s bucket list is pretty simple: Next we’ll go to New Hampshire, where we’ll take the scenic train route around Lake Winnipesaukee.

It’s been incredibly meaningful to both of us to spend this time together. In our 24 years together, we’ve been through thick and thin, and have always been each other’s rock. Now, when Dee is well enough, we venture out. And when she’s not, we are just making sure to appreciate every minute we have together.

Labor Day is also the day we celebrate ordinary working people. That’s very much me and Dee. For the past 16 years, I’ve served as an associate at Walmart, and for many years Dee was also a Walmart associate.

Unfortunately, on this Labor Day, I’m forced to think about how much employers respect — or disrespect — the people whose labor make their businesses successful. That’s because when I most needed my employer to come through for my family, I was shocked and disappointed that Walmart would not step up, and refused to treat my family with the respect it deserves.

I had always been concerned about Dee’s health, since she had a history of cancer. When we got married — as soon as it was legal in Massachusetts — Dee had been cancer-free for some time. And though we got married primarily for the same reason everyone does — because we love each other — it also meant we would be able to take care of each other financially and legally in the dozens of ways that straight married couples already could.

Starting in 2008 and continuing through 2012, I tried to add Dee to Walmart’s health insurance plan during Walmart’s open enrollment period, in an effort to receive a benefit that was made available to all other married Walmart employees. But when I entered Dee’s gender as “female,” the online system stopped me from going any further.

So I picked up the phone and called Walmart’s headquarters — and I was told that Walmart did not offer health insurance to the same-sex spouses of Walmart employees.

Soon, my inability to insure Dee became more than an insult, when Dee’s cancer re-emerged in August 2012. Over a short period of time, we racked up medical bills in excess of $150,000 that we were unable to pay. In addition to the nightmare of cancer, we endured the stress of being hounded by bill collectors. And Dee particularly felt guilty, being unable to pay the wonderful health workers who were providing her with such good care.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Walmart changed its policy to extend spousal health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of Walmart employees. That’s a good step, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough because Walmart didn’t address the fact that hundreds or possibly thousands of people like me and Dee were greatly harmed when Walmart engaged in discrimination.

The harms we suffered continue this day. It doesn’t address the fact that Walmart changed its policy voluntarily, that Walmart claims it is lawful to discriminate against gay and lesbian workers, and that Walmart could change its policy to again discriminate at any time.

Dee and I want to be able to pay back the medical professionals we owe money to, and we want to be able to focus on Dee’s health without worrying about collection calls. We also want to be able to help other people who are in our situation — former or current Walmart employees married to someone of the same sex, who were unable to get their spouses covered by Walmart’s health insurance plan before Jan. 1, 2014.

That’s why we are working with lawyers at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs to sue Walmart on behalf of all the working families who were harmed by Walmart’s unlawful discrimination. We are hopeful that we can make things right for ourselves and for others.

That would make a meaningful Labor Day.

Jackie Cote is the named plaintiff in the class action lawsuit Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores pending in the federal court in Boston, Mass. Inquiries about the case, including from similarly situated employees, can be directed to

—  Tammye Nash

Operation Jade Helm begins and the crazies … I mean our governor … is on alert

WalMart-250x169Happy first day of Operation Jade Helm, the military operation in which Texas will be taken over by the United States. According to sources, maps in the White House already show Texas as part of the United States.

The crazies are out all over the country this week. But who can blame them? I mean, gay marriage.

In South Carolina, April Lee Yates, 51, started a disturbance in a restaurant and was asked to pay her bill and leave. She said Jesus would pay the bill for her. Jesus never showed up. The woman went to jail.

A Tennessee woman was arrested at a gas station for printing her own money, because she read on the Internet Obama made it legal. Pamela Downs, 45, printed the $5 bill on her home printer and glued the top and bottom together. Police found a $100 bill in her purse and another $30,000 in her apartment.

Donald Trump had to remove a tweet from his Twitter feed because it showed him with soldiers. Upon closer inspection, those soldiers were in Nazi SS uniforms.

In Bastrop, “citizen volunteers” are on patrol, wary of Operation Jade Helm 15. Bastrop County is the county east of Travis County. Obviously, Bastrop is a good staging area to take over Texas, because from Bastrop, U.S. troops can easily overtake Austin.

Oh, wait, no they can’t. None of Austin’s highways are complete and the city is in a constant state of gridlock.

So far, no reports yet of Texans being placed in Walmarts that have been converted to FEMA camps, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised daily briefings on Jade Helm through the summer.

—  David Taffet

Drawing Dallas: Cesar

Budding design student Cesar Augusto Fuerte blends his leather fetish with fashion underwear

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

Name and age: Cesar Augusto Fuerte, 22

Spotted at: Walmart Market on Central Expressway

Occupation: Full-time student, part-time fabric retail

This exquisite Taurus is a full-time student at UNT, studying fashion design and fashion merchandising with a minor in international business. Cesar demonstrated an early talent in art, with a knack for drawing and a keen eye for color. His interest in life drawing led him to consider another creative outlet, fashion design. Cesar’s long-term goal is to design men’s wear, concentrating on men’s underwear. Cesar already designs and sews his own underwear. He gets a secret thrill out of attending conservative events knowing that underneath his dress clothes, he’s wearing provocative skivvies.

The eldest of three brothers, Cesar emigrated from Michoacana, Mexico, with his family when he was very young. His youthful countenance and his friend’s constant referral to him as a “kid” inspired Cesar to play up that boy role and he often dresses up as a school boy or cub scout when he goes out on the town.

Cesar came out formally when he was 16. “Since I came to terms with my homosexuality, I’ve learned to appreciate all types of gay people.” He was in the talented and gifted program at a magnet high school, where his creativity was allowed to flourish. He was vice president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Denton in his junior year, and president his senior year.

He enjoys dancing and socializing. He is a member of the Fashionistas, a non-profit group that helps out up-and- coming designers with parties and charity events. He has also worked behind the scenes with DIFFA for several years as a stylist working with Jan Strimple.

Cesar, like the Emperor. Don’t let his boyish looks deceive you: This tantalizing young man is neither shy nor submissive. He enjoys the look and feel of leather, and finds something empowering about wearing it. He had a “leather and lace” party on his 21st birthday, attended by many of his friends wearing one or the other.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

LOCAL BRIEFS: RCD receives Walmart grant; Dallas Bears present awards

RCD receives Walmart grant

Resource Center Dallas has received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation in support of the Center’s nutrition program for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“This gift … will help provide high-protein foods that are important for the nutritional needs of individuals who use our food pantry and hot meals program.” said Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas.

RCD’s nutrition program, established in 1985, serves people living with HIV who lack the financial resources to support their nutritional and medication requirements. The program includes a food pantry that distributes an average of seven tons of milk, meat, fresh vegetables and canned goods every week.

The Center serves more than 600 hot meals to clients each week.

Dallas Bears present awards

In addition to $46,000 distributed to organizations by Dallas Bears at their banquet on June 25, the group presented several awards.
Spanke Studer was named Bear of the Year.

Patrick Sweeney and Rob Meade received the President’s Outstanding Service Award. Partnership Awards were presented to Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dallas Eagle, Round-Up Saloon, Brick & Joe’s, Ben E. Keith Co. and Big D Bear Dance for their continued support and sponsorship.

The fifth annual “I Care” Randy Franklin Memorial Award for Community Service was presented to Jeffrey Payne of the Sharon St. Cyr Fund/International Mr. Leather, David Hearn of the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund and the DFW Sisters, a mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Oak Lawn Library art show set

The theme of the next Oak Lawn Library art show is Celebration of Animals. Submitted works should depict animals or our relationships with them. The library is also soliciting artists for month-long shows at the library.

This judged show will accept art in the following categories — painting, drawing, print, photography, watercolor and mixed media. Prize ribbons will be awarded for Best of Show and for first, second, and third places, as well as honorable mention in each category.

Artists may submit a maximum of three entries at $15 for the first entry and $10 for each additional work. Entries must be current, new to this event, and prepared by the artist for hanging or for display. Pictures may not exceed 40-by-40 inches.

Artists must be over 18. Intake day is Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 214-382-0202 or email for more information.

—  John Wright

In NYC, gay groups are fighting Wal-Mart

A while back we told you how the anti-gay Wal-Mart plans to take over Dallas by building 12 new stores here. Little did we know at the time that the man who’s taking “credit” for bringing the new Wal-Mart stores to Dallas, former Mayor Tom Leppert, would show his stripes as a back-stabbing homophobe only days later. Anyhow, we just wanted to note that in New York City, LGBT groups are taking stands against allowing Wal-Mart to come into the city — due to the group’s anti-gay employment practices. reports:

Last week, writer Lauren Kelley noted that the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City issued a statement opposing the construction of a WalMart in the Big Apple. Their reasons for opposing WalMart? Pretty straightforward, really: the company receives a dismal grade when it comes to workplace equality, the company’s CEO supported efforts in Arkansas to ban LGBT people from adopting children, and last year, more than 100 WalMart stores announced that they would carry a book championing ex-gay therapy.

Yuck, indeed. Now this week comes word that another heavyweight organization is lending their voice in the effort to keep WalMart out of New York City. That group? The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which issued a statement this week knocking WalMart’s record on LGBT equality.

“With the expansion of Wal-Mart stores comes the expansion of antiquated employment policies that provide little to no protections for, and at times even hostility toward, their LGBT employees,” the Task Force said in a statement.

—  John Wright

Anti-gay Walmart to add 12 stores in Dallas

Walmart plans to open 12 new stores in Dallas, according to a celebratory press release sent out by Mayor Tom Leppert’s office earlier today.

Unfortunately, the LGBT community doesn’t have much reason to celebrate.

Walmart scores a dismal 40 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, based on the company’s treatment of LGBT workers.

The world’s largest retailer was docked 15 points on the CEI for resisting shareholder efforts to add gender identity to it employment nondiscrimination policy. According to HRC, Walmart and ExxonMobil Corp. are the only two top 10 companies that have yet to add gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies.

Also, unlike the majority of Fortune 500 companies, Wal-Mart doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to its employees except where required by law.

Walmart withdrew its support for LGBT organizations in 2007 after conservative Christian groups threatened a boycott. And in 2008, CEO Mike Duke signed a petition in support of banning gay adoption in Arkansas.

In other words, we’d rather shop at Target.

The city’s full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

Christmas Shopping At Wal-Mart Means Browsing ‘Faggoty Vampire Books’ With Your Daughter

Shawn, the mostly anonymous father behind the website (which has a whole section devoted to "expos[ing] the LIES of the Filthy Homosexual Agenda), went Christmas shopping with his daughter at Wal-Mart. They visited the books section. And while we already knew the store stocked anti-gay parenting guides, little did we know it also has a whole shelf devoted to gay vampires. Somebody call the quality assurance department.

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WalMart Selling LDS Anti-Gay Children’s Book

So it appears that WalMart has joined the crusade to 'save' young people from homosexuality and is in opposition to medical and psychological science and standards:

More than 100 WalMart stores in the Intermountain West are stocking a new children’s book aimed at Mormon families to help in overcoming homosexuality. Chased by an Elephant: The Gospel Truth About Today’s Stampeding Sexuality, was authored by Janice Barrett Graham, wife of Stephen Graham, President of the anti-gay organization, Standard of Liberty,  an LDS-oriented educational foundation.

It appears that the attempt of the Mormon Church to make itself appear more mainstream by attacking us is heating up, this time with the help of the ubiquitous WalMart stores serving as outposts of the LDS church in the intermountain west.

In the introduction to the book, Graham claims that she wrote it to “help shed the clear light of truth on today’s dark and tangled ideas about male and female, proper gender roles, the law of chastity, and the God-given sexual appetite.”

Elsewhere, she has her own theories on Gay suicides:

“Could it be that there are hidden factors at work that contribute to gay youth suicides?” she asked.

“How about encouragement to adopt a popularized but unnatural sexual label? How about addiction to soul-killing same-sex pornography? How about being introduced by adults to behaviors too heinous to mention in polite society? How about being told they are forever homosexual and thinking they will never have a normal family life?”

The daemonisaion of gays seems to be the major weapon in the battle of the magic underwear crowd to win mainstream acceptance from conservative Christians; it does appear to have won over the Roman Catholic Church to close co-operation between Salt Lake City and Vatican City, the former using the scheme to achieve acceptance, the latter to take the heat off of its conspiracy to hide paedophiles by scapegoating gays.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Wal-Mart Selling Anti-Gay Kids’ Book

Q Salt Lake reports that over 100 Wal-Mart stores are carrying the anti-gay children’s book written by the wife of the president the Mormon anti-gay group Standard Of Liberty.

Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today’s Stampeding Sexuality by Janice Barrett Graham was written to “help shed the clear light of truth on today’s dark and tangled ideas about male and female, proper gender roles, the law of chastity, and the God-given sexual appetite,” according to Janice Graham in the book’s introduction. The Grahams claim that their son, Andrew, successfully changed his sexual orientation and is now a happily married man.

Andrew Graham has published his own book about being “lured” into homosexuality while a student at Brigham Young.

(Tipped by JMG reader JRN)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright