Month: March 2007

Black Tie names 2007 beneficiaries

By Tammye Nash Senior Editor 18 local organizations chosen to receive funds after completing newly-revised, “‘easier’ application process Black Tie Dinner co-chairs Deiadra Burns and Randy Ray Officials with Black Tie Dinner Inc. announced this week that 18 local organizations have been selected as beneficiaries of the 2007 fundraising dinner, set for Nov. 17 at Dallas’ Adams Mark Hotel. Two first-time beneficiaries this year are Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth and Out Takes Dallas, the gay and lesbian film festival. Organizations repeating as beneficiaries are AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County, AIDS Services of Dallas, AIDS Services of North Texas, Congregation Beth El Binah, Dallas Legal Hospice, Equality Texas, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Legacy Counseling Center, Northaven United Methodist Church, PFLAG/Dallas, the Resource Center of Dallas, White Rock Friends, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and Youth First Texas. About half of the proceeds from the 2007 dinner will be divided between these 18 organizations.The other half will go to the dinner’s national beneficiary, the Human Rights Campaign. In 2006, Black Tie Dinner distributed a record $1.35 million to its beneficiaries, bringing the event’s 25-year total to almost $10.5 million. Deiadra Burns, senior co-chair for the fundraising dinner, said in a written statement released Tuesday that selecting beneficiaries for the event is “one of the most important things that we do. Through...

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Was it hate?

By David Webb – The Rare Reporter Even if the police can’t call it a hate crime, the fire that destroyed a Denton bar is having the same chilling effect David Webb: The Rare Reporter Word spread quickly about the arson fire last week that destroyed Denton’s only gay bar. Within a day, it seemed as if every member of Denton’s LGBT community knew the 27-year-old club had been torched. That’s the way news travels in small towns rapidly and in great detail through telephone and e-mail exchanges. Foremost in everyone’s mind during that 24-hour period was one troubling question. Was it a hate crime? Fire officials rejected the notion of the arson being a hate crime because there was no anti-gay graffiti left behind and there had not been any threats made to the bar’s owner. They were correct. To classify criminal conduct as a hate crime, there must be evidence showing someone was motivated by bias against a minority group. But Chris McKee is convinced the fire was a hate crime, regardless of whether there was evidence of it left behind. The timing of the fire less than two weeks after a man was acquitted in a highly publicized hate crime trial of assaulting him could not be dismissed as a mere coincidence. His perception is colored by the memory of being called a faggot while two...

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TCC names new artistic director

By Arnold Wayne Jones Staff Writer Palant chosen from among 3 finalists for position after weekend of interviews, rehearsals with singers Jonathan Palant Jonathan Palant, a professor of chorale music who currently serves as the assistant conductor of the Michigan State Men’s Glee Club, was named the new artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, the group announced Wednesday, March 28. “Jonathan Palant is the most wonderful choice for this position, and Dallas is going to be very proud of our selection,” said Peter Anderson, the chorale’s chairman of the board of directors, in a statement. Palant said: “I am both humbled and thrilled to have been named the next artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale. I promise to give my all to this organization and to the city of Dallas.” Palant, 32, was one of three finalists for the post following a national search that began in September. Along with fellow candidates James K. Bass and Randi von Allefson, Palant met with the selection committee and auditioned with the singing members of the group last weekend. Although the selection committee narrowed the field, it was the singers who actually voted on their choice for artistic director. Approximately 120 of the singers were able to participate in the process. “Each individual filled out an evaluation at the end of each performance and at the end of all three,...

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DISD promises quick response to complaints

By John Wright Staff Writer School district takes issue of anti-gay discrimination “‘very seriously,’ high-level administrator says The Dallas Independent School District will take swift action to address any issues involving discrimination against LGBT students or employees, a DISD official told Dallas Voice on Thursday, March 29. Steve Flores, DISD’s chief administrative officer for school support services, said he was unaware of any problems with discrimination or harassment prior to a recent meeting with the LGBTAQ Educational Coalition. Members of the coalition, a newly formed citizens committee, requested the meeting because they do not feel a 16-year-old DISD policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation is being properly implemented. “It was a really good meeting,” Flores said. “We’re not going to sit idly by. I can promise you that. This is an issue that we take very seriously.” Committee members claim discrimination and harassment against LGBT students and employees is widespread in the district. To address the problem, they want DISD to hire a director of LGBT initiatives and conduct regular staff training on LGBT issues. Flores said DISD is working to develop action plans in response to the committee’s concerns. He said committee members will make a presentation April 5 to DISD’s six area superintendents, who in turn will begin to work with their principals. “All 200-plus campuses will be impacted fairly quickly,” Flores said. Although the district...

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Meeting focuses on allies

By John Wright Staff Writer Minister, lawyer, school official and Atticus Circle director lead first in proposed series of meetings Participating in the Town Hall Meeting on the importance of straight allies were, from left, attorney Norman Lofgren, DISD administrator Kristine Vowels, the Rev. Jimmy Creech and Atticus Circle Executive Director Jodie Eldridge. (Photo by JOHN WRIGHT/Dallas Voice) If the LGBT community is ever to gain equal rights, it will need more straight allies. That was the reasoning behind the first in what is expected to be an ongoing series of town-hall meetings Wednesday, March 28, at the Greenhill School in Addison. The event, sponsored by PFLAG and the Human Rights Campaign, featured four panelists who spoke on a broad range of LGBT rights issues, from gay marriage to discrimination in schools to estate planning. Gretchen Hamm of Dallas, one of about 100 who attended the event, said afterward she believes developing straight allies is critical because a large number of heterosexuals simply aren’t aware of the inequalities the LGBT community faces. “If they really understood, I would say the majority would vote with the LGBT community for equal rights,” said Hamm, a PFLAG member who is straight but has a lesbian daughter. The four panelists were Jodie Eldridge, executive director of Austin-based Atticus Circle; the Rev. Jimmy Creech, executive director of Raleigh, N.C.-based Faith in America Inc.; Kristine...

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