Webb missed the mark
Re: "Not the Time for a Fashion Parade," by David Webb, Dallas Voice, April 2
David Webb has written some great stories for the Dallas Voice over a long period of time. However, with this one I think he has missed the mark.

As one who has been intimately involved with HRC for many years, I am fully aware of Joe Solmonese’s salary and of the fact that he is most effective in his role as president of the largest LGBT advocacy organization in the world.

Is anyone surprised that the head of one of the country’s most recognized, successful and effective nonprofit organizations is well compensated? Does it matter that Joe happens to enjoy fashion and likes to dress well?
The answer to both of those questions is certainly no.

What does matter is that HRC works each day to protect and advance the rights of LGBT Americans. Last year, HRC was largely responsible for the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act — the first piece of legislation in the history of our country that extends protections to individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

When the military’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy is finally ended, HRC will be largely responsible. No organization except HRC will be able to rightfully claim that it played a significant role in the enactment of ENDA, which will wind up becoming law and protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

An organization as large and visible as HRC will always have its critics. Whether any LGBT person at any given moment is happy with HRC or with the fact that its president dresses well is irrelevant to the end goal and the end results.

For 30 years HRC has advocated for our rights. That work will continue tomorrow and each day until we have full equality under the laws of our country. What HRC does helps every LGBT American, and that won’t change.

Steve Atkinson
Former co-chair, HRC Board of Governors

Badu video not a stunt
I am a former student of Erykah Badu, and I applaud her creative and artistic work in sustaining and revitalizing South Dallas communities.

Breasts and free expression don’t kill. Guns, bombs, poverty and pollution do. I would challenge any of her critics by asking, "What have you done for your local community?"

Many of us have not brought awareness to the issues that plague our city, whether they be social or environmental, and yet we are quick to criticize an artist whose primary goal is to improve the lives of her fellow citizens.

What she did when she undressed on a downtown Dallas street while filming a video was not a publicity stunt, it was a humanity and humility stunt. If only we could all be so brave.

Keep up the good work, Ms. Badu.

Also, she has been incredibly supportive of the LGBT community here in Dallas, and I have personally witnessed her participating in LifeWalk and other benefits that would affect the lives of members of our community. I even saw her at a drag show, and she tipped.

She should only have a "good name" with the gays in Dallas. She is a wonderful person.

Chaaz Chaim Quigley

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 9, 2010.
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