Final bets at the finale of Team DV’s P-P-P-Poker Tourney

Ante up to the table

Team Dallas Voice and Pocket Rockets Dallas are raising money for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS by holding a P-P-P-Poker Tournament at clubs across town. After three weeks, the event has come to the grand prize final.

Because this is Dallas, not Vegas, the game play is free, so if you want to contribute to the LSR cause, bring cash to enter the raffle. Among the prizes available or that have been won are tickets to see Dolly Parton (we’ll resist the urge to call this one a “booby prize”), Ke$ha and Chelsea Handler,  tickets to the Texas Rangers and Lone Star Park horse races, Starbucks coffee, a set of poker chips, books, grooming supplies and much more … and the final grand prize: Two tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

DEETS: Check out the Facebook event page here for details.

—  Rich Lopez

Judge to rule this week in Nikki Araguz case

Nikki Araguz

Transgender widow vows appeal if she loses case

JUAN A. LOZANO  |  Associated Press

WHARTON, Texas — The transgender widow of a Texas firefighter will likely learn next week whether his family’s request to nullify their marriage and strip her of any death benefits will be granted, a judge said Friday.

State District Judge Randy Clapp made the announcement after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by the family of firefighter Thomas Araguz III, who was killed while battling a blaze last year. The suit argues that his widow shouldn’t get any benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The widow, Nikki Araguz, said she had done everything medically and legally possible to show that she is female and was legally married under Texas law. She believes that she’s entitled to widow’s benefits.

“I believe the judge is going to rule in my favor,” Araguz said after the court hearing.

The lawsuit seeks control over death benefits and assets totaling more than $600,000, which the firefighter’s family wants to go to his two sons from a previous marriage. Voiding the marriage would prevent Nikki Araguz from receiving any insurance or death benefits or property the couple had together.

Thomas Araguz died while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Wharton, about 60 miles southwest of Houston, in July 2010. He was 30.

His mother, Simona Longoria, filed a lawsuit asking that her son’s marriage be voided. She and her family have said he learned of his wife’s gender history just prior to his death, and after he found out, he moved out of their home and planned to end the marriage.

But Nikki Araguz, 35, has insisted that her husband was aware she was born a man and that he fully supported her through the surgical process to become a woman. She underwent surgery two months after they were married in 2008.

Longoria’s attorney, Chad Ellis, argued that Texas law — specifically a 1999 appeals court ruling that stated chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender — supports his client’s efforts to void the marriage.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision that threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman, Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton, after her husband’s death. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man, based on her original birth certificate, and therefore her marriage and wrongful death claim were invalid.

Ellis presented medical and school records that he said showed Nikki Araguz was born without female reproductive organs and that she presented herself as a male while growing up and going to school. He also said her birth certificate at the time of her marriage indicated she was a man.

“By law, two males cannot be married in this state,” Ellis told the judge.

Nikki Araguz, who was born in California, did not change her birth certificate to reflect she had become a female until after her husband’s death, said Edward Burwell, one of the attorneys for Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, Heather Delgado, the mother of his two children.

But one of Nikki Araguz’s attorneys, Darrell Steidley, said that when his client got her marriage license, she presented the necessary legal documents to show she was a female. He also noted changes made in 2009 to the Texas Family Code that allowed people to present numerous alternatives to a birth certificate as the proof of identity needed to get a marriage license. That was an example, he argued, of the state trying to move away from the 1999 appeals court ruling.

The changes in 2009 allowed transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license. The Texas Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit county and district clerks from using a court order recognizing a sex change as documentation to get married.

After the hearing, the firefighter’s family and attorneys for his ex-wife criticized plans by Nikki Araguz to star in a reality television dating show and implied she was only interested in money and fame that the case would bring her.

“That is absurd,” Nikki Araguz said in response. “I’m after my civil equality and the rights that I deserve as the wife of a fallen firefighter.”

If the judge rules against the firefighter’s family in their motion for a summary judgment, the case would then proceed to trial. Araguz said if the judge rules against her, she would appeal, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

—  John Wright

WATCH: A little eye-candy for a drab Friday

I know that Abercrombie & Fitch clothes are designed, ideally, for younger men than myself (next week I turn 39 — again! A new record!), but I find myself pawing through their racks nonetheless, grabbing the occasional muscle shirt. And here’s why: With ads like these, you can only imagine your own body looks as good this way. I know it does not. But that’s how advertising works.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Check out this butt sex travel reference guide

Following up on the magazine’s insightful story about efforts to remove Texas’ “homosexual conduct” law from the books, Mother Jones put together this handy-dandy map that can easily be printed out and used as a reference source as you travel around the country.

It turns out that a total of 14 states still have sodomy statutes on the books, despite the fact that these laws can’t be enforced because they were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas:

Since Lawrence, efforts to formally repeal laws in Montana, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, North Carolina, and, most notably, Texas have all faced resistance before fizzling out in their respective state legislatures. Conservatives in those states know they can’t enforce the laws, but by keeping them in the code, they can send a message that homosexuality is officially condemned by the government.

As you can see, most of the 14 states with statutes still on the books — 10 to be exact — ban sodomy regardless of whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual. In other words, before Lawrence, butt sex was illegal in these states for mom and dad, too!

Texas, meanwhile, is one of only four states where sodomy is illegal — or was illegal — only for gay people. The others are Oklahoma, Kansas and Montana. Which is strange because if there’s any place where cornholeing should be legal, if not encouraged, it’s Kansas.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill; anti-gay hate crime at UNC

Quinn Matney was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime at the University of North Carolina.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For a third straight week, LGBT advocates plan to speak during the Dallas County Commissioners Court’s meeting today and call on commissioners to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. Last month, commissioners voted to add sexual orientation but not gender identity to the policy. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St.

2. The Maryland Senate on Monday voted to kill a measure that would have protected transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and credit — but not public accommodations. The vote marks the second major disappointment this year for LGBT advocates in Maryland, where the House thwarted a marriage equality bill last month.

3. A University of North Carolina freshman says he was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime on the school’s campus last week. The UNC administration, which failed to notify students until a week after the attack occurred, now says it plans to report the incident as an anti-gay hate crime to the federal government.

—  John Wright

More entries for your Foote fetish

We review two of the entries in the Foote Festival in the Voice this week — Uptown Players’ The Young Man from Atlanta and WaterTower Theatre’s The Traveling Lady, as well as a review several weeks back of Dallas Theater Center’s Dividing the Estate — but the fest continues with a number of productions coming soon. Some today!

WingSpan Theatre Co. and One Thirty Productions are doing four performances of their staged reading of The Carpetbagger’s Children today and Saturday, with two shows each: 1:30 p.m. matinees and 8 p.m. evening perfofoamnces. Performances take place at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Contemporary Theatre of Dallas opens The Trip to Bountiful, directed by Rene Moreno, tonight at the Greenville Center for the Arts off Lower Greenville Avenue.

Theatre 3 is in previews of its production of The Roads Home, a collection of one-acts. Official opening night is Monday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

An Important Week for Equality in Maryland

For the last month, I’ve been working with Equality Maryland to bolster the great work they’ve been doing to pass gender identity non-discrimination legislation and marriage equality.

This week, the state Senate is set to vote on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, or, SB 116. We need at least 24 votes to pass marriage equality and right now, 24 State Senators have committed their support. We have never been so close to recognizing all families in Maryland and we can’t afford to lose steam now. We need you to join us in Annapolis to show your support and tell your legislators once and for all how much marriage equality means to you.

That’s not all. This Friday, the State House is set to hold a hearing on marriage equality, just one day after the Senate is likely to vote on the same legislation. The opposition will be there, testifying to prevent gay and lesbian Maryland families from obtaining the privileges, protections and responsibilities that are afforded with civil marriage.

Will you be there, too? It is critical that your Delegates hear how much this matters to you. If you are interested in testifying, please email Linsey@equalitymaryland.org today to get the details.

Can you join us for any or all of the following shifts at the State Capitol in Annapolis THIS WEEK? Wear RED to show your support for marriage equality.

Tuesday, February 22 from 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.

Thursday, February 24 from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 24 from 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 25 from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Friday, February 25 from 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

If you can attend, please R.S.V.P. to Christine@equalitymaryland.org.

If you can’t join us in the Capitol, you can still help us win.

Despite brush fires and high winds yesterday, I was joined by a very dedicated group of volunteers, in Linthicum, Maryland to knock doors for marriage equality. We hit the streets and identified supporters who then made calls to their Delegates right at the door.

One volunteer, a straight ally named Vivian even brought her two children along and talked to folks about the love she has for her own family and how she wants all committed, caring couples to be able to share in the same privileges and responsibilities that she and her husband enjoy. I also had the great pleasure of meeting Shawn and Rachel, who have been two of the strongest volunteer leaders in Ann Arundel County. Rachel has dedicated countless hours on the phone, talking to supporters and signing them up to take action. Shawn has been hitting the door in his own neighborhood, mobilizing his community to get involved.

Can you join me, Vivian, Rachel, and Shawn and the other amazing volunteers in Maryland and lend your time? There are phonebanks happening across the state every night this week to mobilize supporters during this critical time. For more information, please contact Christine@equalitymaryland.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

BRITAIN: Full Gay Marriage This Week?

According to one major newspaper, full marriage equality is coming to Britain by the end of this week.

The government is expected to announce full marriage equality for gays and lesbians under reforms to marriage laws to be announced later this week. The reported move will end the final major legal discrimination against gays and lesbians in Britain. According to the Sunday Times, a proposal to end the ban on same sex marriage will be announced by the Liberal Democrat equality minister Lynne Featherstone at the same time as the government announces the time table for civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings.

Can it really be as simple as a “government announcement”? Can one of our British readers shed some light on how this may go? There’s that pesky “proposal” word in there….

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Tim Gunn Says No Fur at Fashion Week

TIM GUNN X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMProject Runway host and Tim Gunn is using New York’s Fashion Week as a way to spread his “no fur” message.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

In a Volatile Week, Refresh with Out Magazine’s Love Stories

It's been a rather heavy week, hasn't it? If you need a break from the quite depressing news, check out Out Magazine's cover story, "Twenty-Three Love Stories." 

http://www.out.com/slideshows/…

In general in the LGBTQ community, we spend so much time fighting for equal rights, the ability to serve in the military, and the right TO love that we often don't have a lot of time to take notice of all the love around us. Out's series takes a look at twenty-three different love stories, and uses the that phrase expansively – between gay men, lesbian women, and within mixed multi-generational families.

 

 

My own contribution is the story "Three Kids, Two Dads, One Uncle." 

http://www.out.com/slideshows/…

Having known one of the subjects for years, I was delighted to write about them. David Christmas used to be my volunteer coordinator at God's Love We Deliver, where I chop vegetables on Wednesday evenings. 

I'd always been fascinated by David's life. He's a great story teller, particularly about his days as an actor, when he was in "Dames at Sea" opposite Bernadette Peters, and about when he appeared in a screen test for the lead in "Myra Brickinridge." But David's greatest story of all was about how he ended moving in with his gay nephew Robert and his partner John, when they (somewhat unexpectedly) ended up with three new born children in just a few month's time.

You can read their whole tale here.

http://www.out.com/slideshows/…

It's not often we hear about gay men being parents and grandparents, especially in an intergenerational way, and I'm touched I could play a part in sharing these kind mens' story.  

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin