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Dallas Methodist Pastor Commits Suicide To Make Statement About Homophobia, Racism, Social Injustice

A retired Methodist pastor committed suicide in Dallas on June 23rd to make a statement about racial injustice, homophobia and the death penalty, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Rev-charles-moore-327x388-1Reverend Charles Moore left a number of notes that cited as reasons for his suicide the Methodist Church’s refusal to marry same-sex couples, the death penalty and cuts to social programs.

Moore died in a strip-mall parking lot in Grand Saline, Texas, by self-immolation.  One suicide note suggests that the 75-year-old chose Grand Saline because he was troubled by his hometown’s history of prejudice he witnessed there as a boy.

In one of the notes, he wrote:

“I would much prefer to go on living and enjoy my beloved wife and grandchildren and others, but I have come to believe that only my self-immolation will get the attention of anybody and perhaps inspire some to higher service.”

Moore had a history of supporting equal rights. In the 1950s and 1960s he supported the civil rights movement. In 1995, he went on a hunger strike to protest the Methodist Church’s treatment of gays and lesbians.

However, although Moore had intended his act to be a grand gesture in the manner of Buddhist monks, his suicide drew little notice, notes The Dallas News:

“A report in the Grand Saline Sun described him as an elderly man who seemed troubled. An article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph asked if he was a ‘madman or a martyr.’”


Gay Journalist and Immigration Activist Jose Antonio Vargas Detained by Border Patrol in Texas

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Jose Antonio Vargas, the openly gay Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who came out as an “undocumented immigrant” in a high-profile piece in the New York Times back in June 2011, was detained earlier this morning by U.S. Boarder Patrol agents in McAllen, Texas.

The Washington Post reports:

Jose Antonio VargasDefine American, the nonprofit U.S. immigration-reform campaign founded by Vargas, announced the detainment. In a statement Tuesday, Define American campaign director Ryan Eller said: “This morning, Mr. Vargas attempted to board a plane to Los Angeles, where we are scheduled to screen our film ‘Documented.’ Mr. Vargas did not make it through security at the airport. Our understanding is that he is currently being questioned by border patrol. The community leaders standing with me work with constituents and live this reality each and every day.”

Eller called on President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “to exercise prosecutorial discretion and immediately release Jose Antonio Vargas from Customs and Border Protection custody.”

White House and U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesmen declined to discuss the detention further however. 

The Post adds:

Last week, shortly after his film, “Documented,” aired for the first time on CNN, Vargas wrote in a Politico magazine piece that he’d gone to the U.S.-Mexico border “to visit a shelter for unaccompanied Central American refugees and participate in a vigil in their honor.” He wrote: “I realize that, for an undocumented immigrant like me, getting out of a border town in Texas — by plane or by land — won’t be easy. It might, in fact, be impossible.”

Vargas was held for 8 hours, according to the Washington Post. He was ordered to appear before an immigration judge.

[photo via Twitter]


President Obama Fist Bumps Gay Comedian in Texas

By night, Daniel Rugg Webb is an aspiring comedian based out of Austin, Texas. By day, he’s a cashier at Franklin Barbecue: the same Franklin Barbecue President Obama dropped by last Thursday as a part of his brief tour through Texas.

"If Rick Perry would've walked in, I would have lost my job. Webb told the Austin Chronicle. “I would've taken that old queen to town."

Fist_obamaInstead, Webb met face to face with the President, and, ever the performer, still managed to find a choice set of words, as he recounted to Buzzfeed:

“Equal rights for gay people!” he exclaimed.

Obama reacted without missing a beat. “Are you gay?”

Taken aback by the directness of the question, he said, Webb responded, “Only when I’m having sex!”

The president laughed, then, realizing there was a group of children near the two, said, “Not in front of the kids!”

Webb, more than mere taking the opportunity to banter with the Commander-in-Chief, saw the exchange as a chance to take a pointed stand against current governor Rick Perry.

“We are an anti-gay state. We are a state with a whole bunch of hungry children and sick old people, and [Rick Perry is] grandstanding on things that will get him a better election,” Webb explained. “I would like to see Rick Perry negatively influenced by any kind of attention. Even Obama laughing at something as, hopefully, acceptable as sexuality can show the difference.”

Watch a clip of Webb’s standup at the Austin Encyclopedia Show AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "President Obama Fist Bumps Gay Comedian in Texas" »


Austin Trans Woman Humiliated By Lingerie Store Staff Member

A lingerie store in Austin, Texas has been accused of humiliating a transgender customer, reports Jezebel.com.

On her Facebook page, Kylie Jack said that a staff member at Petticoat Fair asked her for ID stating she was female.  Jack was also told that she had to have undergone sex reassignment surgery in order to have a fitting.


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According to its website, "every woman [at Petticoat Fair] is treated with respect and given one-on-one attention and is helped to feel comfortable and confident in properly fitted undergarments."

JackThe store’s owner Kirk Andrews has since posted a lengthy apology which reads in part:

"There seems to be a misconception that Petticoat Fair has a policy of not working with the transgendered community. That is not the case. In fact, we have served the transgendered community for most of our 50 years in Austin. What we do have is a policy regarding who may or may not enter our fitting rooms.

The dressing room area is a particularly private and vulnerable place for many women and girls, so it's a protected area. For that reason, we also have a completely separate dressing area for women who have undergone mastectomies and need post-surgical care.

Just as a gym won't allow men in a women's dressing room for the comfort and safety of its patrons, we don't allow men or boys above a certain age in our dressing area.

Despite our otherwise inclusive approach, those who might be or who outwardly appear to be men (regardless of how they are dressed) pose a delicate challenge, and in the case of imposters, can pose a safety risk to the Petticoat Fair staff.

We respect our customers at Petticoat Fair. All of them. I hope that with this explanation, you have some helpful insight to who we are, how we do business, and that we are open to a productive dialogue."

In a response to Kirk’s apology, Jack replied:

"Kirk is sincere in his efforts to do better, but only time and actual action will tell. I'll consider the issue resolved when a formal public apology is issued to the Austin trans community along with the steps they're taking to update their policies to be trans-friendly and trans-inclusive."


Texas Democratic Party Responds to Homophobic GOP Platform, Calls For Ban On Conversion Therapy

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The Texan Democratic Party has released its response to last month’s outrageous 2014 GOP platform that, amongst other things, endorsed homophobic reparative therapy. The Democrats' platform pulls no punches and directly addresses the GOP’s discriminatory stance:

“The Republican Party of Texas continues to encourage violence against the very souls of LGBTQ people through the quackery known as “reparative therapy” which is now illegal in two states. Texas Democrats strongly oppose the use of any public funding for this demonstrably harmful practice.”

The platforms echoed the sentiments of the Texas chapter of Stonewall Democrats as the Dallas-based advocacy group rallied during the Democratic convention carrying signs proclaiming “#WeDontNeedFixin.” More than simply countering the GOP’s positions, the Texas Democrats’ platform addresses the state’s pressing need for legislative protections of its sexual and gender minorities. In addition to the inclusion of gender reassignment surgery under Medicaid, their platform supports a ban on reparative therapies, enforcement of employee non-discrimination, and full support for marriage equality.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California's ban on conversion therapy. 

Read the full Democratic platform, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Texas Democratic Party Responds to Homophobic GOP Platform, Calls For Ban On Conversion Therapy" »


Man Arrested In Horrific Shooting of Texas Teen Lesbian Couple Back in 2012

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On Friday, authorities arrested the man they believe is responsible for the shooting of a teen lesbian couple near Corpus Christi, Texas two years ago that left one of the girls dead and the other in serious condition.

NBC News reports:

StricklandDavid Malcolm Strickland, 27, was arrested Friday by U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers in the San Antonio suburb of Helotes, local media reported. U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers and the police officers from Portland, where the attack occurred, detained Strickland and his wife, Laura Kimberly, 23.

He is facing charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault in the June 23, 2012, attack on Mollie Olgin, 19, who died in the shooting in Portland on the Corpus Christi Bay. Olgin's girlfriend, Kristene Chapa, then 18, survived. His wife faces charges of tampering with evidence.

Wrote Chapa on Facebook:

Thanks everyone for the texts, messages, and calls but my family and I are just kinda in shock and just shook up We need time to let it sink and just process the news we've waited on for 2 years please keep us in your prayers


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