20 Tarrant County groups celebrate equality and promote safe sex at event


Freda Monet (Mark Mayr Photography & Design)

James Russell  |  Staff Writer

Only outside of an LGBT club could leather daddies announce their man of the year, drag queens compete for the title of Condom Queen of the Parking Lot and HIV/AIDS awareness advocates all come together to benefit a good cause — for free.

Expect all that and more at the Jennings Street Jam in Fort Worth on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Fort Worth’s Club Reflection. The event brings together 20 Tarrant County area organizations for live music, food and free HIV testing.

Organizers, including DeeJay Johannessen of Health Education and Learning Project, promise it’ll bring the LGBT community together. But it won’t be all kumbayah; there’ll be a little competition, too. Each sponsor is backing a drag queen for the evening’s top prize: the Condom Queen of the Parking Lot.

Among those groups is QCinema, Fort Worth’s annual LGBT film festival. Festival director Kathryn Omarkhail said her group is backing Freda Monet.

“Our very own trash queen,” she said.

Friendly competition aside, Omarkhail is also excited for the opportunity to promote HIV prevention and sell festival tickets.

“We are excited to host the ‘prevention pong’ tables as well as share information about and sell passes and raffle tickets for our upcoming festival,” she said

Another sponsor, Cowtown Leathermen, will be bestowing some honors of their own. In fact, they’re kicking off the event with a special announcement: Following a few years of dormancy for the title, the Cowtown
Leathermen will announce Mr. Cowtown Leatherman 2016.

Group president Ron Denning said he is excited to bring back the crowning ceremony.

After longtime Fort Worth gay bar Club Stampede burned down in 2009, Denning said, his group canceled the annual event. But with Cowtown Leathermen’s 32nd anniversary on the horizon and Fort Worth’s Jennings

Street transforming as well, the time is just right to bring back the annual honoring of a leather aficionado. Club Reflection, with its large dance floor and performance space, is the perfect venue, he added.

Admittedly, Denning said, they planned the event ahead of time. But they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to work with 19 other organizations, especially if it’s an event happening at the same time.

Just as QCinema has their “prevention pong tables,” the Leathermen have their mock jail cell to raise funds for outreach programs benefitting those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

If you’ve ever wanted to get back at a friend and if you have some spare cash, you can send them to jail. They can only get out if someone is willing to pay a higher price for their release.

“But you can’t post bail,” Denning said with a laugh.

Not even if you’re the 2015 Condom Queen of the Parking Lot.

Check out the adult carnival games and the crowning of the 2015 Condom Queen at the Jennings Street Jam from 6 p.m.-midnight in the parking lot of Club Reflection, 604 S. Jennings Ave., Fort Worth.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 11, 2015.