Top Ten GLBT
News Stories | Year in the Life of Gay
Travis Peterson (seated at right) with his longtime
partner Charles Cuneo at the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio's Annual
Awards banquet in September.
Community Leadership -- Travis Peterson
Travis Peterson, the chair of the Peace Officers Training Committee, tendered
his resignation this year citing declining health. For the past four years,
the committee has offered GLBT awareness training to cadets at the San
Antonio Police Academy. The program was initially developed by Peterson
after he approached Police Chief William McManus with the idea at a meeting
of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio in 2006. Today, thanks to Peterson
and to the committee's efforts, every class of cadets now gets this important
Peterson was also the first openly gay social worker in Texas and has
been very active politically. In 1984, he was the first openly gay social
work lobbyist sent to the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco
and was an openly gay delegate to the 2006 Texas Democratic Convention.
In 2008 Peterson was recognized by the local chapter of the Human Rights
Campaign when they presented him with the Chuck Jordan Award for lifetime
advocacy. In 2011, the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio honored him
with an award for Community Leadership.
We salute Travis Peterson for his achievements and advocacy. He is a true
role model for all of us. Click here for related
Civil Service -- City Councilman
Since his election last June, District 1 City Councilman Diego Bernal,
a former civil rights attorney, has proven to be a true ally to our community.
In an interview with QSanAntonio prior to his election, Bernal said, "I
recognize the strong presence of the GLBT community in District 1 and
want the community to know that our vision for the district includes them.
As a civil rights attorney I know how important inclusion and opportunity
are. If we are to be among the great cities in the country we need communities
and policies that reflect that stature, and we must move in the right
direction. I want to be a part of, if not lead, that effort."
Bernal has made good on that campaign statement and has been supportive
of issues affecting gays in San Antonio including domestic partner benefits
for city employees and the creation of a new GLBT community center.
Speaking at the Christmas party for the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Bernal
told the group that he is often thanked for his support and advocacy of
gay issues. Yet, he said, he does not see this as an extraordinary effort
but something that should have been done a long time ago.
We thank the Councilman for his efforts on behalf of our
community and wish him a long tenure in city government.
Click here for related stories.
Community Activism -- GetEqual Texas
The young activists of GetEqual Texas and the Direct Action Network of
San Antonio are to be praised for their aggressive pursuit of equality
over a variety of GLBT issues. Members of these groups, who use public
protests to bring attention to their cause, have distinguished themselves
for their pluck and perseverance.
Whether its confronting former Bexar County Democratic Chair Dan Ramos
for his homophobic statements to holding an all-night vigil at City Hall
to highlight the plight of transsexuals, GetEqual Texas and DANSA have
brought back a brand of activism and protest that has not been seen since
The two groups have also proven adept at co-opting public events into
their protests like on Valentine's Day when they infiltrated a mass wedding
ceremony for straight couples at the County Courthouse or unfurling a
pro-gay banner at an anti-gay protest of the play "Corpus Christi."
We are fortunate to have these groups working to make our city and our
state a better place for our community. Click here
for related story.
Unbridled Bigotry --
In an March 11 interview with the San Antonio
Current, Bexar County Democratic Chair Dan Ramos had some choice words
about the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio. “I liken them to the
Tea Party — the Tea Party and the fucking Nazi Party — because
they’re 90 percent white, blue-eyed, and Anglo, and I don’t
give a fuck who knows that. Just like the blacks … they’re
American, but you can’t get your way just because you’re black.”
Aside from making bigoted remarks about gays, blacks and whites, Ramos
alienated local Democratic politicians who had offered to help pay off
a $200,000 debt that came about when a former party treasurer embezzled
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, County Judge Nelson
Wolfe said, “I get the feeling that no one is going to be writing
checks until there is a damned good sense of where (the incoming chairman)
wants to take the party. I know I won't be writing any.”
Even when given a chance to recant his statements Ramos persisted saying
he believed gays were like "white termites who have infiltrated the
party much like termites infiltrate your house," and that they were
co-conspirators with direct involvement in the theft of the $200,000.
Calls for Ramos' resignation came from all corners of the state including
the State Party Chair and the Mayor of San Antonio. He was eventually
ousted from office using an obscure regulation found in Robert's Rules
of Order. In May, Democratic stalwart Choco Meza became the new party
chair. Click here for complete coverage.
Inciting Anti-Gay Zealotry
-- San Antonio Community of Congregations
Priests, reverends, a Muslim imam and a rabbi
from the San Antonio Community of Congregations, representing the largest
religious organizations in the city, held a press conference in Main Plaza
in May to denounce the production of "Corpus Christi" which
was staged at the San Pedro Playhouse in June and depicts Jesus as a gay
Rev. Oscar Canu, Auxilliary Bishop of San Antonio read a statement sent
to the San Pedro Playhouse. However, prior to reading the statement, the
bishop said that "art must not only imitate life it must elevate
it." "Corpus Christi," he added, "is just vulgar."
In the weeks that followed, Christian extremists
pressed for the city and the Office of Cultural Affairs to defund the
Playhouse and staged demonstrations outside the theater throughout the
play's month-long, sold-out run. The situation escalated to the point
that death threats were made against the cast and crew of the production.
It's concerning when the 'holy men' of San Antonio stand in the public
square and denounce a gay play and, by implication, give religious homophobes
permission to speak out against gay people, energizing a type of zealotry
that could lead to bullying, violence or worse. Click
here complete coverage
Screen capture: MySA.com
(San Antonio Express-News)
Homophobic Demon Mongering
-- Pastor Gerald Ripley
In the hours leading up to the City Council's
budget meeting on August 31, Pastor Gerald Ripley, the man who's spearheaded
the campaign against domestic partnership benefits for city employees,
posted on his web site that "Demonic forces are converging over S.A.
for the purpose of establishing immorality as a right at the government
Ripley's followers were abetted by unemployed Christian radio host Adam
McManus and Rev. Charles Flowers who was once arrested for dragging a
teenager behind a truck at his Christian boot camp. They came to the City
Council meeting and used their religious beliefs as an excuse to unleash
a torrent of hate speech, misinformation and unabashed homophobia.
In an online diatribe on his web site, McManus labeled as "traitors"
the City Council members who voted for the benefits and mulled over what
strategies Ripley and other Christian leaders might use to extract revenge
on those who voted to approve the benefits. Click
here for complete coverage.
2011 Year in Review
Top Ten GLBT
News Stories | Year in the Life of Gay
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