N. Texas GLBT Chamber marks 6th anniversary

CHAMBER HONORS | Dinner chair Lorie Burch, left, presents awards Fashion Optical owner Morgan Metcalf with the GLBT Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award. (Courtesy Terry Walker/563 Photography)

Fashion Optical named business of the year; Bob McCranie of Texas Pride Realty wins businessperson of the year for 2010-11

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Fashion Optical was named business of the year and Bob McCrainie of Texas Pride Realty was recognized as businessperson of the year by the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, March 30, several hundred members of the chamber attended the sixth anniversary dinner and awards presentation at the Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas.

Fashion Optical was cited for turning a discount eyewear store into the largest optical store in North Texas.

Morgan Metcalf said he turned the store that was doing about $350,000 annually into an almost $2 million operation in about two years.

“We have the look of luxury at reasonable price points,” he said.

Metcalf spoke about having been bullied in high school and by his father and said that was actually his motivation for success.

“I love being underestimated,” he said.

McCranie was recognized for his work locally with the Carrollton Project, an LGBT outreach project in the northern suburbs, for his evergreen award for promoting environmental issues and for his work nationally. McCranie was instrumental in getting sexual orientation added to the Realtors’ code of ethics.

J.T. Williams was named Emerging Leader for the success of his company, Uptown Capital Title, and for his work in the community. He is treasurer of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats and volunteers with and raises money for Legacy Counseling Center and Lambda Legal.

Luke Crosland, developer of ilume on Cedar Springs Road, received a double award, the first time the chamber has given two awards to one company in the same year.

The ExtrAA Mile Award and the Member Service Award went to the developer for his commitment to the community and his contributions to the chamber.

“From the start, he made it clear they [ilume] would be part of the GLBT community,” said Lorie Birch, the dinner chair and presenter.

The company donates office space to the chamber as well as separate meeting space for the chamber and other groups.

Raytheon, recipient of the Corporate Ally Award, is “a great partner in the chamber,” said Chamber President Tony Vedda.

“The sponsored the Emerging Leader Award,” he said. “They sponsor a membership for Youth First Texas. They supply us with volunteers. Raytheon has a wonderful track record of diversity and inclusion.”

He said that Raytheon won’t sell more missile guidance systems because of company employment policies and support for the LGBT community.

Raytheon was the first aerospace company to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Alice Walker, who heads the company’s LGBT employee group, gave credit for that to Louise Young.

Vedda gave the Chairman’s Awards to Jamie Sloan of the UPS Store Highland Park and Christopher Walthall, owner of Aneita Fern.

Chamber member Candy Marcum called Sloan a tireless ambassador for the community. Sloan has chaired the chamber’s membership and fundraising committees.

Vedda said that when ilume offered the chamber office space, he called Walthall about donating some furniture. Vedda said he hoped for a desk and a chair. Instead, Walthall fully outfitted the office with Stickley furniture, artwork and accessories.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  John Wright

Who’s the cutest member of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats’ new executive board?

DSYD’s new executive board is made up of Communications Director Michael Maldonado, from left, Community Services Director Michael Tijerina, Membership Director Clint Thomson, Vice President Justin “JT” Williams, Treasurer Jason Wallace, Political Director Stewart Stimson, President Jared Pearce and Secretary Solomon Arreguin (not pictured). (Chance Browning/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats elected its 2011 officers Tuesday night and passed a resolution condemning Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos for his recent anti-gay remarks, according to a press release from the group.

The new DSYD officers are President Jared Pearce, Vice President J.T. Williams, Secretary Solomon Arreguin, Treasurer Jason Wallace, Political Director Stewart Stimson and Community Services Director Michael Tijerina.

According to the press release, the new DSYD executive board will focus on gathering support for endorsed candidates in the upcoming municipal elections and continuing the Light Up Oak Lawn campaign launched last year, which seeks to reduce crime in Oak Lawn with more street lighting.

“I’m thrilled to take on the role of president for this incredible organization,” Pearce said. “Everyone on the executive board is looking forward to the great things DSYD is going to accomplish in 2011.”

Pearce penned an open letter that he emailed to Ramos with DSYD’s unanimously approved resolution attached. View the resolution here and read Pearce’s letter after the jump.

—  John Wright

Meet David Kunkle at Stonewall Young Democrats — and enjoy 2 free UV Vodka cocktails!!!

David Kunkle

Fresh off his endorsement for mayor from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, former Police Chief David Kunkle is scheduled to appear tonight at the regular meeting of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats. The Stonewall Democrats endorsement, of course, applies to the Stonewall Young Democrats, who will also hold their 2011 officer elections tonight.

The DSYD folks got on Instant Tea a while back for highlighting their use of free adult beverages to promote their meetings, and this time we received a very official press release about the event with absolutely no mention of alcohol whatsoever. However, over on the Facebook page we found this: “Attendees can enjoy complimentary UV Vodka cocktails (limit two) during the meeting.”

Also attending the meeting, according to the Facebook page, will be U.S. Senate candidate Sean Hubbard and James Nowlin, the openly gay challenger who was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats in his race against incumbent City Councilwoman Angela Hunt in District 14. Members of Stonewall Young Democrats reportedly played a pivotal role in swinging the endorsement to Nowlin.

The meeting is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at DISH Restaurant and Lounge in ilume, 4123 Cedar Springs Rd, Suite 110. For more info, go here.

—  John Wright

What’s the best way to get young people involved in the struggle for LGBT equality? Free alcohol

Judge Tonya Parker
Judge Tonya Parker

Everyone knows it’s difficult to get young LGBT people to give more than a shit about gay rights, but if you offer them free alcohol, they just might show up. This appears to be the strategy of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats, which is offering a free drink to anyone who attends its monthly meeting tonight at Dish Restaurant & Lounge. Actually, you could be eligible for up to four free drinks if you bring a friend, according to a message we received from DSYD:

“That’s right! Everyone attending Tuesday’s DSYD meeting will receive a free drink ticket. As an added incentive, people who bring a friend (a.k.a. a potential new member) will receive two drink tickets for themselves and two for their friend.”

We’re currently seeking clarification as to whether this means you have to be a member bringing a non-member to be eligible for the four free drinks, or whether it can just be two random people. And in case you’re wondering why her photo is alongside this post, the meeting will also feature Dallas County District Judge Tonya Parker, the first openly LGBT person elected judge in Dallas County, and the first out African-American elected official in Texas.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. For more info, see the Facebook event page.

UPDATE: DSYD Vice President Jared A. Pearce stopped by the Instant Tea brewery in response to this post. As Pearce pointed out in the comments below, you have to be 21 to drink, and these types of promotions are not uncommon. Pearce also mentioned that DSYD held a very successful fundraiser over the weekend, featuring House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar. The event raised $5,500 and drew 100 people, Pearce said. The DSYD chapter is approaching its second anniversary after being launched in March 2009. The chapter has 250 members on its roster and has raised more than $13,000 for the Legacy Counseling Center. Read a story about the chapter’s launch here.

—  John Wright

Texas Stonewall announces 2011 awards

DANIEL GRANEY  |  TEXAS STONEWALL DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

The Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus (TSDC) announced that it will present three awards at its Second Biennial Statewide Conference in Austin on March 6. The awards will recognize a TSDC member for outstanding leadership, a local Stonewall Democrats chapter for its political achievements and a politician for her advocacy of LGBT equality in the Texas Legislature.

The awards will be presented during a Sunday brunch featuring keynote speaker Mara Keisling, a nationally known transgender activist and executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

And the honorees are …

—  John Wright

Donations

RIDE TO THE BANK  |  Officials with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sunday Oct. 24, distributed proceeds from the 10th annual ride, held in September, to AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas during a party at Salum. The $150,000 check was 50 percent higher than last year’s check. Pictured from left are LSR Event Manager David Minehart, AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, LSR Event Chair Laura Kerr, ASD President and CEO Don Maison, and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
RIDE TO THE BANK | Officials with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sunday Oct. 24, distributed proceeds from the 10th annual ride, held in September, to AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas during a party at Salum. The $150,000 check was 50 percent higher than last year’s check. Pictured from left are LSR Event Manager David Minehart, AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, LSR Event Chair Laura Kerr, ASD President and CEO Don Maison, and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
SEEING RED (AND GREEN)  |  Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats presented a check for $7,525 to Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage at Dish on Wednesday, Oct. 27. They raised the money at the second annual Red Party. Pictured, from left, are Legacy board chair Steve Weir, Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove, DSYD Secretary Jared Pearce and DSYD Treasurer J.T. Williams.
SEEING RED (AND GREEN) | Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats presented a check for $7,525 to Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage at Dish on Wednesday, Oct. 27. They raised the money at the second annual Red Party. Pictured, from left, are Legacy board chair Steve Weir, Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove, DSYD Secretary Jared Pearce and DSYD Treasurer J.T. Williams.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

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

More on Thursday’s Red Party to benefit Legacy

Bartenders for the Red Party

In last Friday’s Dallas Voice, we only had room for a brief about Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats’ second annual Red Party. Here’s some additional information:

The Red Party takes place on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. at ilume on Cedar Springs Road. The evening will raise money for Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage.

DSYD was created three years ago by a group that met while volunteering at Legacy. JT Williams, DSYD treasurer, said because of that, Legacy is special to the group, which plans to continue supporting it.

Three supermodel bartenders from Bar 10 will be serving. Tickets for the Red Party are $10 and available at the door. VIP tickets for a catered party are $30 and include a swag bag and free valet parking. Those tickets are available on the Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage website.

—  David Taffet

Local briefs • 09.17.10

2nd annual Great Gatsby party benefiting AIN is Sept. 26

AIDS Interfaith Network presents the second annual “Great Gatsby … Get Your Flap On” fundraising party on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Union Station, 400 S. Houston St. in downtown Dallas.

Tickets are $75, available online at AIDSInterfaithNetwork.org. Proceeds benefit the client service programs at AIN. Those persons who get their Roaring ’20s attire for the party at Norcostco or Gratitude can receive a 10 percent discount on costume rentals.

Stonewall Young Democrats to hold Red Party benefiting Legacy

Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats will hold their second annual Red Party on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. at ilume to raise money for Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage.

Bartenders from Bar 10 will be serving. Tickets for the Red Party are $10 and available at the door. VIP tickets for a catered party are $30, available on line at LegacyCounseling.org.

Sharon St. Cyr Fund holding Hear Our Pride benefit party

The Sharon St. Cyr Fund will hold the Hear Our Pride event to benefit Hearing from the Heart on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel at Love Field. The fund raises money to buy hearing aids for the hearing impaired.

Last year’s Mr. International Leather Jeffrey Payne of Dallas and this year’s titleholder, Tyler McCormick, will attend. Comedian Paul J. Williams will entertain.

Tickets for the event are $45 and available on line at SSCFund.com. Dinner and entertainment are included.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Activist (and hottie) Travis Gasper to return to Dallas as development director for AIDS Interfaith

Travis Gasper

Travis Gasper, founding president of the current chapter of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats and a Dallas Voice “Future Pioneer,” is returning to Dallas from Colorado to accept a position as director of development for AIDS Interfaith Network, he told Instant Tea in an e-mail Wednesday.

Gasper, a Colorado native, left Dallas last December to run a newly created nonprofit in Denver that engages business leaders as advocates for early childhood programs. Gasper says he’ll be moving back to Dallas in a few weeks.

“I just happened to find out about the position when I was in town last month, and it was great timing since I had gotten to know the organization last year when we were fighting the city’s HIV/AIDS budget cuts,” Gasper writes. “The experience of starting a new organization has been great, and we have great board members and funders, but I miss friends and family and Dallas in general.”


—  John Wright