Stop stereotyping bisexuals

I read with interest Dallas Voice’s interview with John Irving (“Our best gay ally, in one person,” May 11), especially given the subject matter of his most recent novel. However, I was dismayed at the interviewer’s characterization of the novel’s protagonist, as “legitimately bisexual — not merely experimenting.”

I didn’t realize that we needed to sit in judgment of the sexual orientation and expression of bisexuals, as either legitimate or illegitimate, any more than we need to do so for gays, lesbians, transgender persons, or anybody along the LGBT spectrum.

As folks from Alfred Kinsey on down have shown, as well as our own personal experiences, sexual orientation is a continuum. An individual doesn’t have to be an exact “Kinsey 3” and make sure they get their ticket punched precisely evenly between both genders to keep their bisexual “legitimacy” card.

Not to be overly picky, but as we are often reminded in all of our quests for equality in society, words mean things.

I’d like to see the Voice remain the high-quality news and information source that it has been, and not engage in stereotypes about the bisexual community.

“Boss” Dave Hines, Dallas leatherman
Via email

All are welcome at Oak Lawn UMC

“Are you a gay church?”

This question was asked to me over the phone on the morning of Sept. 18, 2011, the morning of the Alan Ross Freedom Parade. Oak Lawn United Methodist Church has, for several years, had a float in the parade, distributed  free water bottles to attendees, and welcomed crowds to gather on our campus for the parade. I was appointed to Oak Lawn earlier in the summer, so this was my first parade. I proudly walked with other members of our congregation in support of our community and our place within it.

On April 26, the Dallas Voice published an article by David Taffet called “Local Methodists keep up fight for LGBT inclusion.” The article focused on issues surrounding the United Methodist Church’s General Conference, our official decision-making body, which met recently in Tampa, Fla. The Conference would hopefully reconsider, and possibly reverse, the UMC’s stance on homosexuality, which is considered, vaguely, “incompatible with Christian teaching.” United Methodist pastors may not preside at same-sex unions, nor may they be “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.”

The article mentioned a couple who left Oak Lawn UMC 22 years ago after a contentious sermon delivered here. The only other mention of Oak Lawn was a line which read, [today it is] “’amazingly diverse in its people’s culture and lifestyles.’” No reference for the quote was offered — neither I, nor any staff member, nor, as far as I know, anyone from Oak Lawn, was asked to contribute to the story in any way. Had I been asked to contribute, I would have said something similar to what I say every Sunday before the congregation: “We are proud to be a place where everyone is valued and respected as a child of God, made in God’s own image.” I have heard several people say how much they appreciate this. The thing is: No one coached me on that. My first Sunday here I literally stood up to welcome folk to church and those words came out. I did not plan it in any way. It’s who Oak Lawn is. It’s important for everyone who calls Oak Lawn home for their heart to know this.

The General Conference decided to maintain our positions on homosexuality again this year. I grieve this decision. It is sure to be debated again at the next General Conference in 2016. As a United Methodist elder, I am obligated to abide by our Discipline and will do so. However, individual United Methodist congregations and members are free to disagree with this and any other stance — for example, we officially oppose capital punishment, but a majority of United Methodists support it. We are currently in the middle of a sermon series on issues in the news. The series will end Sunday, May 20, with a discussion of marriage equality.

“Are you a gay church?” the person asked on the morning of the Alan Ross Freedom Parade. “No,” I said. “We are a people church. Everyone is welcome here.” Our goal is to create a truly inclusive congregation: gay and straight, conservative and liberal, longtime Christian and newly baptized. If you have been looking for such a place, please join us for worship soon — services are held every Sunday at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Frank Drenner, senior pastor
Oak Lawn United Methodist Church
Via email

Obama is all talk, no action

President Barack Obama’s words were very nice to hear. But actions must speak more loudly. Did he call for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in the party platform? No. Did he call for legislation federally for same-sex marriage? No. Did he sign an executive order banning LGBT discrimination for federal contractors? No.

So, yes, the words sounded pretty, but my objection to Obama is that it is only WORDS. My other objection is that he is using LGBTs like pawns on a chess board for his own gain. I don’t like feeling manipulated.


Rob Schlein, president, Metroplex Republicans
Via Instant Tea

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 18, 2012.