Youth group opens in Denton

Wat.-Rev-Pam

Rev. Pamela Wat

The LGBTQ youth program in Denton met for the first time on Friday, Oct. 21 at Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The Rev. Pamela Wat reported a good turnout of teens, young adults and adult volunteers.

Beginning Nov. 4, the church will be open every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for OUTreach Denton. All LGBTQ youth and allies are welcome. Once that meeting becomes established, a Wednesday night gathering once a month may be added.

Wat said that they went through a list of activities that Youth First Texas has done successfully.

“The thing they wanted to do is hear adult coming out stories,” she said.

“For some, that night was the first time they had met an out LGBT person.”

Before the meeting, Wat was worried that the youth who attended would be afraid to talk.

“But they were open, sharing, talking,” she said. “They let their guard down and the healing started immediately.”

The initial group included mostly teens ages 14 through 17. Older students in Denton have GLAD, the college group at University of North Texas.

Wat said she thought most of the teens that attended came from safe environments. She said that some drove themselves, but most were dropped off by parents.

“We need to do more outreach to spread the word without spreading where we might get negative attention,” she said. “We haven’t broken into the school system yet.”

At its first regular meeting, the group will work on fliers and a website.

“At some point, we expect to affiliate with Youth First Texas,” Wat said, “but at this point we’re continuing under the name OUTreach Denton but following the same policies and procedures that YFT sets out.”

Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1111 Cordell St., Denton. Fridays at 7 p.m.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

What’s Brewing: Daniel Hernandez, bigoted N.C. lawmaker, Palm Springs gay sex sting fallout

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. President Barack Obama and Daniel Hernandez Jr. — the gay intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — disagree about whether Hernandez should be called a hero. Thus far, however, discourse between the two has remained civil. Hernandez, who sat next to Obama during Wednesday night’s memorial service in Tucson, also spoke to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann after the event. In case you missed the service, Obama also announced that Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time in the hospital. And as Bill Maher put it, now it’s time for the rest of the nation to open its eyes. Watch Obama’s full speech here.

2. The government shouldn’t spend money to treat people with HIV/AIDS who “caused it by the way they live,” according to Instant Tea’s official Bigot of the Day, North Carolina State Rep. Larry Brown. “I’m not opposed to helping a child born with HIV or something, but I don’t condone spending taxpayers’ money to help people living in perverted lifestyles.” (Winston-Salem Journal)

3. When the Dallas Police Department conducts one of its gay sex stings, it’s business as usual. But when it happens in Palm Springs, Calif., all hell breaks loose.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Pearland teen beaten to death, body burned in possible anti-gay hate crime

Joshua Wilkerson

A man charged in the murder of a Pearland teen told authorities he beat the victim to death and burned his body after the victim made sexual advances toward him.

Hermilio Moralez, 19, was charged Thursday with murder in the death of Joshua Wilkerson, 18.

Wilkerson’s body was found Wednesday night in an overgrown field in Fort Bend County after a 24-hour search.

ABC 13 in Houston reports:

Authorities now say that Joshua Wilkerson, 18, was beaten with a large wooden rod and that his body was burned. Hermilio Moralez, 19, is charged with murder in Wilkerson’s death. According to court documents, Wilkerson gave Moralez a ride home from school Tuesday and Moralez stated that Wilkerson began to make sexual advances towards him. Moralez said they got out of the truck and began to fight when Wilkerson grabbed a large wooden rod and tried to hit him. Moralez said he took the piece of wood from Wilkerson and began to hit him with it. He said Wilkerson was not moving afterwards.

UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO READ THE PROBABLE CAUSE AFFIDAVIT

Hermilio Moralez

—  John Wright

DVtv: Spirit Day vigil on Cedar Springs

Hundreds gathered on the Cedar Springs strip in Dallas on Wednesday evening, Oct. 20, for a second vigil in as many weeks to honor and remember the many young people who’ve taken their own lives in response to anti-gay bullying and harassment.

—  John Wright

2nd Dallas vigil for gay teen suicide victims planned Wednesday on Cedar Springs

If you missed last week’s vigil on Cedar Springs to honor gay teen suicide victims, there’s some good news. You’ll get another chance to break out your glowsticks and candles on Wednesday night.

A Peace March and Vigil in Memoriam will begin at  6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the paid Caven parking lot behind Zini’s and Skivvie’s near the Cedar Springs strip, according to co-organizer Steve Weir.

The vigil will be one of many similar events across the country on Spirit Day, Oct. 20, when we’re all supposed to wear purple.

“We’re expecting about 200,” Weir said. “I think after the Joel Burns thing, people started to say, maybe I could take a minute and go do this. Hopefully we’ll have a pretty good turnout and some people who are actually moved.”

Weir said he doesn’t think a lot of people knew about the previous vigil hosted by the DFW Sisters on Sunday, Oct. 8. Besides, who’s to say we shouldn’t have another?

Weir said Beaux Wellborn and a representative from Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats are slated to speak, before a march down Cedar Springs Road to the Legacy of Love Monument.

UPDATE: Here’s more on the vigil from co-organizer Ivan Watson:

Hello to all of you! I am so overwhelmed by the positive response this event has generated! I hope that it can educate, inform, inspire and empower all of the participants, as well as show the community that we care about each other. Can’t wait to see you there, just wanted to give you a run-down of what to expect. I am asking everyone to gather in Caven’s pay lot tomorrow at 6:30, the actual short program will not start until 7. We will have three speakers, who will speak briefly about the purpose of the rally, some ways to get involved and help those who are victims of bullying, or for the younger attendees, how perhaps you can get help in your own life, and also we will talk about some legislation that we need to support to get some things changed. After the short program it should be pretty close to dark, and we can light candles and have a silent march down Cedar Springs to the Legacy of Love monument where we will conclude there with a 10 minute candlelight vigil, a minute to remember each teen who took their life during the month of September due to anti-gay bullying and harrassment. Once again, I can’t say thank you enough to all of the help and assistance that I have received in planning this event, especially Steve Weir, thank you, and I hope it all goes well! If you have any questions, please ask!

Thanks,
Ivan Watson

—  John Wright

WATCH: N. Dallas High School bars transgender girl from running for homecoming queen

A male-to-female transgender student at North Dallas High School says the school’s principal is discriminating against her by barring her from running for homecoming queen, according to a report that aired Wednesday night on Fox 4.

Andy Moreno, an 18-year-old senior, told the station that some friends nominated her for homecoming queen. However, a few days ago, a counselor warned Moreno that some school administrators were opposed to the idea. Moreno says she went to talk to the principal, who told her to run for homecoming king instead.

The Dallas Independent School District says it has no formal policy on the issue, but DISD issued a statement saying: “The district fully supports the decision of the principal at North Dallas High School. It should be noted that the Dallas Independent School District is proud to have one of the most aggressive anti-harassment policies among school districts in the state of Texas.”

Moreno says she doesn’t feel comfortable running for homecoming king because she identifies as a female, and her friends support her.

“I do feel like I’m being harassed and I feel like I’m being discriminated against,” Moreno told Fox 4. “I feel like the principal is embarrassed to have a transgender queen.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea and Dallas Voice for more on the story.

—  John Wright

Bill White declines interview with Dallas Voice prior to his upcoming appearance at gay Pride

Bill White was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign in March.

Dallas Voice has had a standing interview request in with Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White’s campaign for months. After Stonewall Democrats of Dallas announced this week that White will be marching in the upcoming gay Pride parade, we figured it would be a perfect opportunity to reiterate our request. We received a reply e-mail from White spokeswoman Katy Bacon on Wednesday night:

“Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to make it work, John, I am sorry,” Bacon wrote.

This is disappointing but hardly surprising. For one thing, we’re guessing White is extremely busy right now and closely managing his priorities. But White has also been extremely reluctant to discuss LGBT issues publicly or in detail since he emerged as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination almost a year ago. His obvious concern is that Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who has a long history of anti-gay politicking, would try to use whatever statements he makes to rile up conservative voters. We’ll continue to seek an interview with White right up until Election Day, but for now you can read previous stories about him by going here, here and here.

—  John Wright

Police investigating anti-gay fliers in Ky.

COVINGTON, Ky. — Police in northern Kentucky are investigating who blanketed a neighborhood in anti-gay fliers two days after the Covington City Commission held a press conference reaffirming the city’s human rights ordinance.

The Kentucky Enquirer reported that fliers were posted on poles and placed on windshields throughout the MainStrasse neighborhood sometime Wednesday night, Aug. 25 or Thursday morning, Aug. 26.

The fliers come in the wake of a series of crimes that police and residents believe have targeted the city’s gay community.

The Covington Police are investigating who is responsible for the fliers, which contained anti-gay epithets and called homosexuality a perversion.

—  John Wright