On ‘Tom will never truly be gone,’ Page 6, Aug. 24, 2012

I am conflicted by gratitude for Tom Anable’s brief and meaningful work against intolerance and violence against gays and lesbians, and sadness that his life’s seemingly unmanageability and grief was not noticed in time to help him. As the tides of activism in our community ebb and flow from HIV/AIDS, to substance abuse, to violence at the hands of law enforcement, I wonder if we are focusing too heavily on the external wrongs against us (including the Chick-Fil-A silliness, frankly).

Perhaps we would benefit from shifting our perspective to taking a stronger look at the mental health of our community, so that those with depression and despair are not lost forever.

This is the third GLBT suicide reported in the Dallas Voice in the past year or so. Remember Debbie who took her life after long discord with her partner? Do you recall Mark B. who overdosed after a long depression?

Imagine if the community energy given to a fast-food chain was directed amongst ourselves — asking, inquiring, sitting and listening to each other so that those who are marginalized within our own community feel validated, affirmed and needed. We must get lovingly tougher with each other. Ask your buddies about how they’re feeling. Ask if they’re on medication AND taking it. Talk directly about his/her substance abuse. Invite someone to join you for coffee. Challenge your friends who are still barebacking. Get in someone’s face with some care and compassion. It may save their life.­

Eric Shellhorn
UT Arlington
Via DallasVoice.com


On ‘EQTX board forced Coleman to resign,’ Page 8, Aug. 24, 2012

I have known Dennis Coleman for years. I have no idea what was behind the decision made by Equality Texas, but I do know that Dennis is one of the most ethical, trustworthy, dedicated, outstanding people I know. I have to question what was going on with the people who ousted him. His departure will be a huge loss. Dennis should hold his head high. He is far better than those who forced his resignation!

John Selig
Via DallasVoice.com

It was crap and they know it! But, what goes around comes back around. You can’t treat people disrespectfully and not have it come back to you!

C.d. Kirven
Via DallasVoice.com


On ‘Developer breaks ground on ilume Park,’ Page 13, Aug. 24, 2012

As excited as I am to learn that the city’s puppies will have another place to shower, I find myself dismayed once more that the LGBT community of Dallas is backing gentrification yet again, and that no one seems to be speaking up about it.

Gentrification, the process of renewal and rebuilding to transform a working class neighborhood into an affluent one, has always been stereotypically associated with gay men because supposedly they are typically upwardly mobile professionals with disposable income who are stylish enough to prefer the urban life, but I have to ask — is anyone in the LGBT community wondering what’s going to happen to the people who were living in the apartments that were torn down to make room for the puppy showers?

I checked. The ilume’s cheapest apartments —one-bedroom, one-bath, 600-square-foot apartments  — start at $1,086 a month. The apartment complex that was there prior to to the upcoming ilume Park, Douglas Park, rented their least expensive apartments for $340 a month. I wonder how these former Douglas Park residents are supposed to increase their income more than threefold? Or live now if they can’t? I knew one of their residents. He was on social security and living with AIDS.

When the Crosland Group bought the property of the old Douglas Park apartments, was there even a fleeting moment of consideration for building affordable housing rather than affluent housing? The article doesn’t say why the Douglas Park property was sold and the apartments torn down, but one has to wonder if the reason has anything to do with the rising property taxes and area rents that drove out the decades-old LGBT bookstore, Crossroads Market, as well as several other Oak Lawn businesses and residents.

Yes, I am happy that the look of Oak Lawn is improving. Yes, I am happy to see urban renewal. And I fully expect that those reading this comment will respond that gentrification makes the Oak Lawn area safer, crime-free, drug-free, and makes it look better. But that is an either/or logical fallacy. We have options other than either we leave the crime and drugs and urban blight or we build puppy showers. (And besides, how does it really help the crime, drug, and urban blight problem to render working-class people homeless?)

But am I the only person in our city who lives in the urban neighborhoods of Dallas who is asking this question? I find it hard to believe I’m the only Dallas Voice reader who is concerned about the future of the working-class LGBT community of Dallas.

Cliff Pearson
Via DallasVoice.com


Maybe gay Republicans would learn if they lost some of their freedoms

When I hear that a gay person is Republican and will vote that way, I’m aghast.

You see, I grew up Republican and my family is still Republican, which is another reason for me having distanced myself from them. I’ve made it known to them and friends alike that my affiliation changed back in the 1980s.

I voted for Ronald Reagan the first time. At that time neither party really valued the gay vote because while we were out more as a people after Stonewall, we were not really out. Then came AIDS, and the line was drawn in the sand. Republicans, especially Mr. Reagan, embraced the ideology that it was a gay disease — “God’s wrath on homosexuals for their lifestyle” — while Democrats saw people dying, losing their jobs and being evicted from their homes. The government led by Mr. Reagan was doing nothing to help my friends dying every day. I realized that the party I had grown up with was no longer the party for me since it did not value our lives as human beings.

Yes, we have made progress on many fronts, but it has NOT been because of the Republican Party. To think that a gay person would vote Republican is appalling. Do they think their “Sunday Fundays” at the bar just happened? They didn’t grow up during the time when you entered the bars through the back, off dark alleys. Police used to take down license plate numbers in parking lots. The Rainbow Lounge incident in Fort Worth was reminiscent of those days. Back in those days roughing up queers was fun for police because they couldn’t be held accountable, and after all no one would come forward to complain for fear of losing their job.

So you’re a gay person and will vote Republican? Talk about a slap in the face to those who have come before. What you have has been fought hard for and it did not come at the hands of the Republican Party. Maybe if you lost some of the freedom you now enjoy at their hands, you’d better understand.

Gene Covington
Via Snail Mail

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2012.