Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, September 23, 2011 Page: 4 of 48
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Dallas celebrates end of DADT
As ban on open gays and lesbians
in the military ends, active-duty
military personnel come out,
some who were discharged
DAVID TAFFET I Staff Writer
As the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" became
final this week, some active-duty service mem-
bers came out while some who were discharged
under the policy made plans to re-enlist.
Dallas celebrated the repeal with a reception at
Resource Center Dallas during which Dave Guy-
Gainer, a board member of Servicemembers
Legal Defense Network, presented his archive of
photos, papers and other memorabilia to the Phil
Among the papers was correspondence with
senators and representatives about supporting
the repeal effort. Also included was correspon-
dence with the
White House that
tion to the final re-
ceremony in July.
that he almost
missed the invita-
tion, because he al-
most forgot to check
his email one Mon-
day night. When he Cully Johnson
did remember and
checked the inbox, he realized that he had re-
ceived an invitation to the repeal certification
signing ceremony in Washington that Wednes-
Guy-Gainer said he immediately cleared his
schedule and made plans to attend.
Despite repeal of DADT, Guy-Gainer said,
SLDN's work is not over Although gays and les-
bians may now serve openly, those who are mar-
ried will not receive 40 benefits that married het-
erosexual service members enjoy
Those benefits include their partners having
an identity card to get on base and using that card
to shop in the PX or use the library.
Same-sex dependents will not be able to use
the base attorneys to write wills and other legal
Same-sex couples will not have the accos to
base housing that opposite-sex couples have, nor
will they be eligible for subsistence payments to
subsidize off-base housing. That money is offered
to many heterosexual couples,
Dependents of heterosexuals also have access
to full health care that same-sex partners of ser-
vicemen and women will not receive.
Across the country, a number of gays and les-
bians who had been discharged under DADT
started talking to recruiters Tuesday about re-en-
listing, including Cully Johnson, one of the own-
ers of Dallas Eagle.
Johnson was a captain and said he is consier-
ing re-enlisting in the Air Force. He had an
I DADT, Page 7
Landon Starnes as Lotta Pink
and finding passion
Landon Starnes had to step
outside his comfort zone to
compete as Lotta Pink in the
Miss LifeWalk Pageant
TAMMYE NASH I Senior Editor
Talk to Landon Starnes about his involve-
ment with LifeWalk, the annual walkathon
benefiting AIDS Arms and its partner agen-
cies, and you'll hear Starnes repeat the words
"passion" and "fear" a lot.
Starnes said he let fear rule him for too long.
But in the end, there's no doubt that "passion"
Starnes, who works as a hairdresser, said
that he was diagnosed with HIV in October
1998. But he wasn't prepared to deal with re-
ality, and so for years, he said, "I ignored my
But then some friends began to encourage
him to confront his HIV status by getting in-
volved in LifeWalk, specifically by joining the
Guys and Dolls LifeWalk team.
■ PASSION, Page 10
Festival changes called success
Ultimately it might be impossible to say by
how much attendance was down at Sunday's
gay Pride Festival in Lee Park.
But according to Michael Doughman, exec-
utive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild, we do
know this: Approximately 5,300 people paid
$5 each to get into the festival.
Beyond that, Doughman estimated there
were 700 unpaid attendees who received
complimentary wristbands through festival
vendors or groups that marched in the Alan
Ross Texas Freedom Parade, which would
bring the total crowd to 6,000.
In previous years, about 7,500 people at-
tended the festival, according to Doughman,
which would mean a 20 percent drop — in line
with what organizers predicted after they de-
cided to fence in the park and charge admis-
sion for the first time.
But Doughman said precise attendance fig-
ures for previous years — or even this year,
since we don't know how many who received
complimentary wristbands actually showed up
— simply don't exist.
And even if they did, he added, they would-
n't really matter. In Doughman's view, critics
who predicted disaster for the festival as a re-
sult of the $5 admission charge clearly were
proven wrong. And the Tavern Guild, which or-
ganizes both the Pride parade and festival,
"We got tons of compliments from people
who were in the park, not only vendors but just
from people who attended," Doughman said.
"It may have been less headcount, but we
think the quality of event was highly improved."
For one thing, Doughman said, fewer peo-
ple meant more room to roam in Lee Park,
which had almost reached its capacity during
the festival in recent years. And banning out-
side alcohol all but eliminated growing prob-
lems such as underage drinking, public
intoxication and fighting — not to mention the
dangers of glass containers.
Most importantly, while attendance was
down, money raised for Pride beneficiaries
was way up. Fifty-three hundred people at $5
each equals $26,500. Subtract $4,000 for the
temporary fencing, but then add net proceeds
from beer sales, which hadn't been tallied as of
Tuesday but appeared to be up.
"I think it was really a solid success,"
Doughman said. "I feel we did make the right
move and for all the right reasons."
So did anything go wrong with the re-
vamped festival? According to Doughman, the
ignly logistical problem occurred shortly after
4:30 p.m., when thousands suddenly arrived
from the parade and overwhelmed volunteer
staff at the four entrances to the festival — and
particularly the main one on Hall Street.
But the lines moved relatively quickly,
Doughman said, and the entrances had been
cleared by shortly after 5.
"We'll make adjustments next year on mak-
ing it easier to get in the park," he said. "Next
year it should be even smoother."
And, he promised, the $5 admission charge
won't go up.
— John Wright
4 dallasvoice.com ■ 09.23.11
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 19, Ed. 1 Friday, September 23, 2011, newspaper, September 23, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239186/m1/4/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.