In defense of Ben E. Keith
After reading the letter criticizing Ben E. Keith this past week ("Ben E. Keith’s disregard for LGBT community, letters to the editor, Dallas Voice, May 9), I feel a great need to relate the history of Ben E. Keith and the GLBT community from my personal experience. I doubt that Ben E. Keith would toot their own horn, so in all fairness, here are some facts:

• The Tavern Guild struggled for years with fundraising to put on the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Ben E. Keith in those early years made an annual donation of $10,000 toward the Pride parade. They were the only beer company doing so at that time.

In the next few years, The Tavern Guild enjoyed the contributions of both major beer suppliers in Dallas. Ben E. Keith facilitated the annual sponsorship of the Rally in Lee Park, including loaning us their fantastic Bud Light Stage for use in the rally. They installed it, ran it and removed it at their cost.

When Andrews Distributing won the bid for the package deal sponsorship of the parade and rally, Ben E. Keith did not go away, but continued to work with us without name brand recognition to support our parade.

They advertise annually with a double page ad in our Pride program. They enter the parade every year to show support for the community.

• Ben E. Keith works to help bring Texas Bear Round-Up to Dallas every year.

• Ben E. Keith is a major supporter of Texas Gay Rodeo.

• Ben E. Keith sponsored The Texas Toast softball team for several years, providing uniforms and equipment to that team.

• This year, Ben E. Keith is sponsoring the entire Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association League, as well as the upcoming "Beat the Heat" Classic Tournament bringing 60 teams to Dallas.

• In 2004, Ben E. Keith made it possible to bring the Gay World Series to Dallas by contributing several thousand dollars to sponsor the entire event because the North American Gay Athletic Association had lost its national sponsorship from another national brand beer, and Dallas had to come up with all the money to produce it. Ben E. Keith was there with money, signage and full support.

• Ben E. Keith is currently instrumental in trying to bring the Gay World Series back to Dallas in 2010.

• In local charity work, Ben E. Keith has made countless numbers of small contributions of product, signage and support to help local non-profits continue to operate.

• There are two major Dallas auctions per year benefiting The Resource Center’s Nutrition Center and Legacy Founders Cottage. Ben E. Keith donates to every single auction with big ticket items to help ensure the Easter Basket and Christmas Stocking auctions continue to raise thousands of dollars.

• Ben E. Keith made a huge donation to the "Legacy of Love" monument on the corner of Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs. The monument will represent generations of support in future years to the GLBT community. Their donation to the monument made it possible to start work much earlier by reaching our goal in funding.

These are just my experiences with Ben E. Keith. There are many others but space does not allow the listing of each of them. I have no doubt that many other people and organizations will say the same thing.

I do not believe for one minute that the decision not to sponsor this one event benefitting Turtle Creek Chorale had anything to do with the worthiness of Turtle Creek Chorale. TCC is the crown jewel in the Dallas gay community, and Ben E. Keith knows that. I do not know the reason that this event was passed over, but I know it was not a snub to TCC.

I have no doubt that Ben E. Keith has been a direct supporter of the Chorale in the past, and will continue in the future. Possibly TCC can comment on that themselves.

As for Ben E. Keith and Andrews Distributing, the Dallas gay community has a wonderful relationship with each, and Dallas is among the few cities in the country that has capitalized on local distributors’ generosity.

These companies are generous beyond expectation, and to attack either for choosing to not support one event is unfair. I will continue to judge businesses by their total presence in the GLBT community, not a single event. And yes, we proudly continue to sell Budweiser products.

Alan Pierce
Round Up Saloon
Dallas Tavern Guild

A much different experience with Ben E. Keith
I am actually amused that any part of our community with an awareness of its past would consider the remarks regarding Ben E. Keith in last week’s paper ("Ben E. Keith’s disregard for LGBT community," Letters to the editor, Dallas Voice, May 9) viable.

As executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild, I have had many meetings with both Andrews Distributing and Ben E. Keith over the years and in several cases had proposals declined from both agencies.

Indifference? Lack of concern? No, they were simply not viable venues for them so they declined to participate.

It in no way lessened their support of our community or any of the agencies in our community.

For years they have been strong, loyal supporters of venues and organizations too numerous to mention. Their financial support is written all over Oak Lawn and the Cedar Springs neighborhood.

I know they have given support to the Turtle Creek Chorale on events and programs in the past and have no doubt that they will do so again in the future. This is only one important part of our community that has seen their financial and social commitment.

From sports organizations to community neighborhood projects to GLBT Pride events, Ben E. Keith has always been steadfast in their willingness to partner and support. I am confident that the next time I need sponsorship or financial support of a viable and valid venue, they will be there as always.

I only hope they understand that our community knows the level of their commitment and support and does not question their loyalty to our community.

I am not writing this letter on behalf of the Dallas Tavern Guild. We have not discussed this issue and I would not speak on behalf of the membership without discussion. I offer this letter as my own personal experience with Ben E. Keith and its management team.

Michael Doughman

Just leave anti-gay churches
This is in response to the cover page article "We have a big problem" (Dallas Voice, May 2).

Turn your back on that church! Sometimes in life, you have to make difficult decisions and this is one of those times

Either go to a church that is accepting of you or start your own. Isn’t that the way it has been done in the past?

Also, while you are at it, question (and I mean really question) everything that was put in the Bible, and by whom.

The people that were responsible for choosing what stays and what goes in the Bible were women-hating, slave-owning egomaniacs.

Jesus expressed love and forgave the people who nailed him to the cross.

Focus on Him and establish a connection with Him in your heart.

You have mistakenly confused your connection with God with the prejudiced, ignoramuses that run the church you attend. Get outside of your comfort zone and rise to the occasion. God is inside you. Seek to know the Holy Spirit and walk your path — alone if you have to. Jesus did.

Jade Kai

No need for porn coverage
Does this story — "Falcon begins raw-oral phase" (Dallas Voice, May 9) really belong in the Dallas Voice?

I have watched your paper mature over the past 20 years and thought you had progressed beyond the point where you feel compelled to report everything and anything even remotely connected to the gay/lesbian community.

Providing even minimal coverage about the antics of gay male porn stars lends credence to the old homophobic myth that us queer folks are sexually obsessed, especially we men.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful naked guys like any other queer dude. But, if I want to read something about pornography, I can tap into the Internet.

If you insist on running such pieces, the least you can do is appease my lesbian sisters by throwing in a bit or two about the likes of Jenna Jameson.

Otherwise, just stick to well-written editorials about the ongoing struggles of our people.

Alejandro De La Garza

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 16, 2008.

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