January BearDance with DJ Sean Mac at The Loft

Beef it

The men at BearDance are building a solid reputation for bringing in marquee DJs for their events, as their inaugural 2012 dance proves. Atlanta DJ Sean Mac comes to Dallas tonight with his mix of house music, classic disco and even movie scores to play them for the boys and bears of Big D. You think it’s cold outside, but with all the body heat going on inside, you’ll be out of those thermals in no time. And that’s what they want.

DEETS: The Loft, 1135 S. Lamar St. Jan. 13. 9 p.m. $15. BearDance.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Don’t forget the thrilling season finale of “The A-List: Dallas,” with guest star Ann Coulter

For those who love to hate A-List: Dallas, you’ll either be sad or glad to see the show’s season come to an end tonight. And by the previews, boy does it. Taylor Garrett needles at the community with his friendly exchange with conservative pundit Ann Coulter. Castmate Chase Hutchison is naturally infuriated but then also has to deal with Garrett lip-locking on his sorta beau Levi Crocker. As the season comes to a close, I’m fascinated that we never got to see the incident that happened at Jack’s Backyard. Remember this whole to-do?

I tweeted a couple of the A-Listers about what to expect on tonight’s episode. Hutchison was kind enough to reply.

“Tonight’s episode is definitely going to piss a lot of people off, including myself,” he tweeted back. “Everything comes to a head tonight; relationships, politics, friendships… And having Ann Coulter being part of the show was enough to make my blood boil with Taylor. But I do like that very different views are being shown, as much as some of those views disgust me. It will be worth watching for sure.”

Fellow reality star, Drew Ginsburg from Bravo’s Most Eligible Dallas chimed in as well with his response to tonight’s episode.

“Supporting Ann Coulter is a like a Jew supporting the Nazis,” he tweeted.

The Hayyy List is hosting a watch party tonight with cast member James Doyle at Axiom Sushi, or you can seethe or snicker on your own. Either way, here’s the preview clip after the jump to get you going before tonight’s episode.

 

—  Rich Lopez

“Houston, We Have a Problem” tonight at Avant Garden

Judy Garlow

Judy Garlow, director of the short comedy Connect

As excited as I am about the Sundance Theater opening and Houston, once again, becoming a two art-house city it’s important to remember that real independent films rarely, if ever, make it to the big chain art houses. If you, like me, enjoy the gamble of watching truly indie film (with the inherent risk of watching utter dreck or divine transience) you’ll want want to check out Houston, We Have a Problem tonight at Avant Garden (411 Westhiemer) starting at 9 pm.

Tonight’s monthly film festival includes the usual mix of shorts, documentaries and trailers and the opportunity to talk with their creators. Scheduled films include Max Xandaux May by Rachel Estrada, Connect by Judy Garlow and a sneak peak at Mike James’ new thriller Jes’us.

There’s no charge for the event and Avant Garden is featuring $2 drink specials for attendees.

—  admin

What’s Shakin’ – Wings of Desire at MFAH, IRS to allow deductions for gender transition

Wings of Desire1. If you’re a fan of German films that are partially in French, the film oeuvre of Peter Faulk and sexy trapeze artists with existential angst then “Wings of Desire” is your kind of flick.  The 1987 Wim Wenders masterpiece tells the story of an Angel (Bruno Ganz) who, after watching humanity since the dawn of time, desires to become human so he can be with the woman he loves. “Wings of Desire” screens tonight at 7 pm at the Museum of Fine Art Houston (1001 Bissonnet).

2. Transgender Americans who undergo hormone therapy or receive gender realignment surgery may now be able to deduct the costs of those treatments on their taxes. According to GLAD, the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the IRS has issued an “action on decision” statement saying that the agency will acquiesce to an appeals court ruling allowing the deductions. GLAD cautions that medical deductions can still be audited and encourages anyone planning to deduct cost of transition medical expenses to rigorously document the medical necessity of treatments and consult with a tax professional when preparing return

3. Election day is tomorrow. If you’re one of the 58,345 people in Harris County who voted early, then good for you.  If not, you’ll want to visit HarrisVotes.org and find out where to go to cast your ballot.  Polls open at 7 am on Tuesday and close at 7 pm sharp.

—  admin

Chronicle blogger blames ‘It Gets Better” project for LGBT teen suicides

Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Kathy McKinley is a self-described “conservative activist” who blogs for the Houston Chronicle under the monicker “TexasSparkle.” In a recent post McKinley took the “It Gets Better” project to task for what she believes is their culpability in the suicides of LGBT teens:

“These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.”

McKinnley’s primary confusion about the “It Gets Better” campaign (other than its name) is the assumption that the goal is to encourage teens to come out of the closet, or encourage them to become sexually active:

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet. The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.”

I would like to encourage Ms. McKinley to watch the “It Gets Better” project’s founder Dan Savages’ video. Please, Ms. McKinley, listen, and tell me if you hear Savage or his partner Terry say anything about teens coming out or having sex. I think what you’ll hear them say is that all of the things that most kids, gay and straight, dream of (falling in love, starting a family, having the support of their parents, co-workers and friends) are possible for LGBT teens. I think you’ll hear them talk about how difficult their teen years were, and about the fears they had that their parents would reject them, that they’d never find success and that they’d always be alone.

Choosing to have sex is one of the most personal decision a person will ever make. For LGBT people, choosing to come out is another. I have not watched all of the thousands of videos from people who have participated in the “It Gets Better” project. It’s possible that there are a few that tell kids to come out right away, or to become sexually active, but I doubt it.

Every video in the project that I have seen has had the same simple message: that the person making it understands how tortuously awful the experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in Junior and High School can be, but there is a wonderful world of loving, vibrant, successful, engaged LGBT adults out there and if queer teens can just hang on, just for a few years, they can join it. I doubt that any of the contributors to the project think that hanging on for a few years will be easy. I suspect that most of them remember, with excruciating clarity, contemplating ending those temporary years of terror with a permanent solution and that is why they choose to reach out.

I grew up without role models, where people like Barbara Gittings, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk didn’t exist . I grew up in a small town where the two men with the pink house were talked about in hushed tones that immediately fell silent when I walked into the room, because it wasn’t appropriate for children’s ears. I grew up in a world where my mother wouldn’t tell me what “gay” meant, where the evening news was turned off if it reported on the AIDS crisis, where I wasn’t given words to describe who I was, and so the only word I could find was “alone.”

I was lucky. My suicide attempt failed.

I was lucky, I survived, and went to college, and found a church that embraced and loved LGBT people. That’s where I met doctors and lawyers and business owners and teachers who were like me. That’s where I met two wonderful women who had built a life together for over 50 years. That’s where I discovered I wasn’t alone and that being gay didn’t mean that i couldn’t have all of those things I’d dreamed of.

That is what McKinley missed in her blog post. In her haste to lay blame on anything other than the overwhelming prejudice perpetuated by schools, churches and governments against LGBT people McKinley missed the fact that kids need role models. In her rush to shove queer teens back into the closet she forgot that human beings need the hope of a better world, lest they give up in despair.

McKinley got one thing right in her post. She titled it “Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes.” Adults are to blame for LGBT teen suicides. When adults hide the stunning diversity of God’s creation from their children they create a vision of reality that some of those children can’t see themselves in. When adults tell LGBT teens that they should be invisible then it is all too clear who is to blame when those teens believe them, and take steps to make themselves invisible permanently.

To all the LGBT kids out there: it does get better. There are adults who care about you and want all the wonderful things you dream of to come true, but you have to hang on. If you need to keep who are secret to remain safe then do so. If you need someone to talk to please call the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).

—  admin

Chick Happy Hour at the Brick tonight

Oh yes, it’s ladies’ night

Each week, the Brick gives it up to the women with Chick Happy Hour every Tuesday. OK, it’s a little later than your usual happy, but DJ C Wade makes you forget that it’s a school night. So have a cocktail or two before heading back to the grind on Wednesday. You’ll feel so much more relaxed.

DEETS: The Brick, 2525 Wycliff. 9 p.m. BrickDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Shakin’ – Wolfman at Wortham, Vampires on Pacific St.

The Wolfman1. If you got your hard-core Halloween partying out of the way this weekend, why not curl up under the stars (and a blanket) for the 1941 horror classic “The Wolfman,” at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Herman Park. Show starts at 7:30 pm. In this version the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) has an estranged father, frequents antique stores, caries an ornate walking stick for no particular reason and (of course) engages in nocturnal behavior of a hairy and bestial sort. Sounds like some of my friends. Admission is free, but prime spots on the lawn fill up quickly so arrive early.

2. If you didn’t get your hard-core partying out of the way then you’ll be glad to know that the clubs of Pacific street are still going strong. JR’s Bar‘s “Anytheme Goes” party (808 Pacific) and Meteor‘s “True Blood” festivities (2306 Genesee) continue tonight with a costume contests at 11 pm, while South Beach‘s “Twilight” fete (810 Pacific) waits till midnight for its contest . Cash prizes are up for grabs at all three for best costume, best couple or group and most outrageous costume.

3. Broadway World reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D – NY, plans to introduce the Senate companion to the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D – CA, last May. The bill would remove barriers to otherwise qualified LGBT parents servings as foster parents or adopting. “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York City has increased its foster parent pool by nearly 26,000 prospective parents,” said Gillibrand. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.” So far only three of Texas’ thirty-two congressional representatives, including Houston’s own Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, have signed on as cosponsors.

 

—  admin

Focus relies on Meese; you’ll have to settle with Me

Focus on the Family’s Jenny Tyree has highlighted what she finds to be the strongest arguments from a recent Op-Ed penned by conservative personality Edwin Meese. So that being the case, we will now look at those same arguments, then proceed to obliterate them. Let’s get started.

#1 Meese-ism:

By refusing to acknowledge binding Supreme Court precedent, substantial evidence produced at trial that was contrary to the holding and plain common sense, the ruling exhibits none of the requirements of a traditional decision.

Okay, so the supposed “binding Supreme Court precedent” is 1972′s Baker v. Nelson. And it was not completely unacknowledged — Judge Walker pointedly asked Ted Olson about that very case in the closing day of arguments:

THE COURT: Well, now, the Supreme Court in the Baker vs. Nelson case, decided that the issue which we are confronted with here was not ripe for the Supreme Court to weigh in on. That was 1972. What’s happened in the 38 years since 1972?



MR. OLSON:
Well, a great deal has happened. Among the things that have happened is the Romer case. Among the things that have happened is the Lawrence vs. Texas case. You know what those cases involve. A lot of other things have happened. Changes in the ballot propositions. California has adopted something completely different than the state — I guess it was Minnesota or Michigan, involved in that case. So there are a lot of factual situations that are different. This case is very different.

And, by the way, the Supreme Court rejected the opportunity to take a miscegenation case. Now, I think it was — Dr. Cott testified to this. I think it was 1955. And then they took the case, the Loving case, in 1967.

CONTD: Closing Arguments [AFER]

But as Olson aptly mentioned: The reality of both the world and the law has greatly changed since 1972. Romer v. Evans. Lawrence v. Texas. DOMA and anti-LGBT ballot initiatives, which while anti-equality, certainly raise new legal questions about the constitutionality of bias that did not exist in 1972. Plus the undeniable reality that is five U.S. states and one jurisdiction in our nation’s capital with equality, as well as the many other countries with marriage equality abroad. And the civil unions and domestic partnerships that are spread all over, including in California.

So it is absurd to suggest that a 38-year-old, one sentence order that dismissed the case “for want of a substantial federal question” (and that was heavily based in the procreation argument) has bound the Supreme Court’s gavels here in 2010. In the almost four decades since, other SCOTUS and legislative matters have changed the law and thus distinguished the two cases. And the matter before the court is the unconstitutionality of current law, not that which existed when Marcia Brady was still on first-run TV!



#2:

Sound judicial opinions consider the facts and evidence on both sides of an argument, apply them fairly to the dispute at hand and determine which legal cases are on point. Yet Walker’s opinion pretends that the voluminous evidence introduced on the side of Proposition 8 does not exist.

This one’s absolute bullshit! Walker’s 136-page decision totally acknowledged the (weak) evidence and (few) “experts” that the Prop 8 proponents presented. He simply rejected it. BIG TIME! Why can’t social conservatives understand that? Weighing evidence is kinda, sorta what Judge Walker is supposed to do.

#3:

Despite ample evidence introduced into the record that only a union of a man and woman can produce offspring (as if that needs proof), Walker’s opinion denied the relevance of that biological fact.

Hogwash again. Judge Walker did not deny the relevance of reproduction AT ALL. What he denied is the idea that procreation (or the lack thereof) should have any bearing on a couple’s civil marriage status! That is a MAJOR difference.

The procreation argument may have had its run in court. But in a world where all opposite-sex couples are allowed to marry regardless of child status, where no child quotas are attached to the civil marriage license, and where gay and lesbian couples are parenting at higher rates than ever before, it’s just plain common sense to see that the procreation argument has crossed its tipping point. Even a non-mandated child can see that.

#4:

Having ignored everything courts typically rely on in making sound judgments, Walker concluded that Proposition 8 was enacted “without reason” and demonstrates “a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples [and are] . . . not as good as opposite-sex couples.”

This lil’ nugget is particularly galling. Because here we are talking about the Prop 8 campaign, one that heavily relied on religious figures (e.g. Jim Garlow, Lou Engle, Miles McPherson, Chris Clark, the Mormon church, Bishop Cordileone, the usual “pro-family” national groups and figureheads) and on arguments that said or implied gay couples would somehow scare kids in schools (e.g. the ads about school books, the ad about a lesbian teacher taking her class to her wedding ceremony, etc.). So yes, OF COURSE Judge Walker found that a “private moral view” was used to suggest that same-sex couples are less than ideal! Because that is what the “pro-family” side did. And does. Daily.

But Judge Walker *did not* ignore “everything courts typically rely on”: In actuality, it’s the anti-LGBT side that did! They ignored the crucial elements of credible witnesses, facts that can withstand scrutiny, and arguments that cut the constitutional mustard! The judge even took note, asking them if they were sure they were satisfied with what they had presented. But they were. Even though they shouldn’t have been.

Although to be frank, what else did they really have — Matt Barber’s “ex-gay” suggestion?! Oh how we wish they’d have gone there!

#5:

The rule of law demands more careful consideration of this important issue than Walker’s decision delivered.

No, the truth is that the independent judiciary demands more respect than the anti-equality forces are delivering! In the days since Walker’s decision, we’ve heard the anti-LGBT troops drum up innuendo about the judge’s sexuality, cherry-pick and reduce the most conveniently spinnable lines from the lengthy opinion, ignore or excuse their own incredibly feeble court presence, war with each other, and of course attack the courts as “activist.” Some have even suggested that they would simply ignore a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of equality. All because they think that minority rights should, for the first time in history, be terminally stifled because of the whims of a bare, drastically changing majority.

It’s easy to write off a (Republican-appointed) judge as a “liberal gay activist” rather than objectively look at what led him to his findings. But this easy, baseless route is what led the social conservatives to their increasingly losing position on this (non)issue. The more they refuse to reflect, the easier time we will have turning Walker’s legal template into one that higher courts will mirror.

Oh, and let’s not forget, Mr. Meese: When it comes to Vaughn Walker’s booty on the federal bench, you only have yourself to blame!

*Jenny Tyree’s piece, with all Meese quotes and a link back to his full Op-Ed: Meese: Judge Walker’s decision not the definitive word [FOtF]




Good As You

—  John Wright