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Can Wal-Mart Change LGBT Nightlife In Texas?

Can Wal-Mart Change LGBT Nightlife In Texas?

The nations largest retail chain claims a Texas law violates their rights to sell alcohol at fair prices.

Wal-Mart has filed a federal lawsuit in Austin challenging the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissions over a state law that forbids the company from owning and operating liquor stores, or selling alcohol at their stores.

The lawsuit contends restrictions on package liquor licenses, some dating to the end of Prohibition, handed out by T.A.B.C. amount to unconstitutional discrimination.

Currently, T.A.B.C. code prevents stores like Wal-Mart from selling hard alcohol, making it only available to ‘liquor stores.’ Wal-Mart is seeking to change that.

Should Wal-Mart win in Federal court, and T.A.B.C revises in alcohol codes in Texas, the changes that may accompany, could change the way Texas, and members of every community, including how the LGBTQ+ community purchase their cocktails of choice.

Alcohol would become available at any ‘corner store’ like in Louisiana, and because Wal-Mart operates 24-hours a day, the current law prohibiting alcohol sales from liquor stores on Sundays, would disappear. It’s possible that the 2 a.m. law in Texas would also disappear.

Out of 38 states that Wal-Mart operates in, Texas is the only state Wal-Mart has sued.

Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

Frank Billingsley

Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

A closer look at KPRC Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley and his new book Swabbed and Found.

(HOUSTON) — Frank Billingsley is no stranger to the City of Houston. In fact, he’s been in the living rooms of Houstonians for years as KPRC Channel 2’s chief meteorologist—a position he assumed over twenty years ago in 1995. Despite how well we may feel we know him—Frank has never held back from sharing details of his personal life—there are still many things that the public doesn’t know about him.

Many of those details are outlined in Frank’s new book, Swabbed and Found, which chronicles his life not just as a meteorologist, but as a gay man and a child of adoption. The latter recently led Frank upon an incredible, sordid, and sometimes complicated journey to discover better who he is and where he comes from.

I sat down with Frank in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey to discuss the book, his life before this journey, coming out, and, of course, the weather.

Billingsley states that while his sister—who is also adopted—for years yearned to find out more about her birth parents, the need to know about his own had never overwhelmed him. In fact, it wasn’t until his colleague and dear friend, Dominique Sachse, presented him with an email link about biological genealogy testing that he even considered it a possibility. After all, his home state was a closed-records state that didn’t allow for adoption records to be released if requested to remain closed by the birth parents. At least not without “a lot of trouble and a lot of money,” as Frank put it himself in our interview.

“That was the first time that I had realized that it [genealogical science] had become sophisticated enough and that the database had become as big as it is … It’s like a fingerprint. It’s so unique that it can link you to another person.”

Yet, it was that link that led Mr. Billingsley down a road to discovering his birth mother—who he has since met and with whom he has established a relationship. As Frank puts it, “not everybody wants that information,” when it comes to finding the people that put them up for adoption. However, that knowledge led him to a more enlightened state of being—closure even. To hear Frank make a compelling argument on the idea of closure and finality, “Closure is closure. And closure is very often sad. You close life with a funeral. You close relationships with a glass of wine. You close jobs with hugs and tears. But closure is a part of life.”

SF_FNLcvr-683x1024 Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and MeteorologyClosure, however, did prove harder for some than others. Billingsley’s aforementioned sister did discover her family, only to find that her birth mother had passed of cancer and that her father wasn’t open to a relationship with her. She did, however, find that she had half-siblings, with whom she has maintained contact.

When the conversation circled around to Frank being gay—Frank and his husband Kevin, with whom he has a stepson, married on December 12th, 2012—I asked Frank about coming out to his parents in a decade not as accepting as the 2010s. Frank admits that it wasn’t easy, but that it wasn’t as difficult as the coming out stories that are often told. He states that his adopted father admitted he didn’t understand homosexuality, but knew how smart Frank was. He continued to tell his son that if someone as smart as Frank thought that it was okay, there couldn’t be anything wrong with being gay. “

However, when it came down to meeting his biological mother, Billingsley admits that there was a moment where it felt as though he had to come back out of the closet. He states that his mother, like his adopted parents, is a devout Christian, and that maybe she does not understand homosexuality.

Being someone in the media, Frank is never without news in his face. A supporter of the strides that the Obama Administration made for LGBTQ people, I asked Frank what he thought of the current administration, and whether or not he worried that rights would be stripped away from LGBTQ people. He seemed hopeful, stating, “I don’t think that the legislation would be there to support that. And if it does, I don’t think the people who vote for the legislature will support that. I don’t think we want to see our country go back.” He continued, “When we’re dealing with human beings, and their rights to be human beings, taking a deep breath and pondering whether the decisions concerning their rights are futile. If you look at the trans military ban—you have generals who are saying, ‘No, no!’ It’s bad enough we’re banning Muslims … and now this?”

As far as Hurricane Harvey is concerned, Billingsley was concerned for what he proudly refers to as “my city,” a phrase Houstonians everywhere are familiar with and that binds us together. He states he wasn’t surprised by how the city came together, nor was he surprised by the impact of the storm—which he himself predicted to bring as much as 50” of rain to certain areas surrounding the city.

Billingsley’s book (being released by Houston’s Bright Sky Press) is a page-turner. It’s one that Houstonians will read with ease because each word can be heard in Billingsley’s voice. That won’t stop it from gathering attention outside Houston, however. For there’s much more appeal in a story the story than just Frank’s fame. In fact, it would be fair to say that anyone who has ever had uncertainties about who they are will have a difficult time putting the book down. However, in this debut chronicle of his life, his main message rings loud and clear:

Regardless of color, orientation, race, nationality, religion, age, size—people are people. We’re all related by that fact. And as such, people all deserve the same rights and respects.

And if there may be no better mouthpiece in Houston for that message to come from than Frank himself—a smart, successful, well-round, and well-respected gay man and pillar of the LGBTQ community.

Pride Houston Seeking Volunteers For Pride Celebration

Pride Houston Seeking Volunteers For Pride Celebration

Houston’s Largest LGBT Non-Profit Seeking Volunteers For LGBT Pride Celebration

(HOUSTON) — On Saturday, June 24th, one of the largest Pride event in the nation will take over Downtown Houston, and it can only happen with the help of many volunteers.

This year, expected to be the largest in Houston history, has several open roles and volunteer shifts available. They include: Stage, Family Fun Zone, Arts and Crafts, Route Monitors, Logistics and many more.

If you would like to volunteer for one or more shifts during the Houston Pride Festival or Pride Parade, and help light up the streets in Downtown Houston click here.

Volunteer orientations dates are as follows.

  • Tuesday, May 23rd – 7-8 PM:  Room 106 Montrose Center
  • Wednesday, May 24th – 7-8 PM:  Room 106 Montrose Center
  • Thursday, May 25th  – 7-8 PM:  Room 106 Montrose Center
  • Saturday, May 27th – 12-1 PM: Room 106 Montrose Center
  • Saturday, May 27th – 2-3 PM:   Room 106 Montrose Center
  • Sunday, May 28th  – 12-1 PM: Room 107 Montrose Center
  • Sunday, May 28th  – 2-3 PM:   Room 107 Montrose Center

Email us at volunteer@pridehouston.org

 

Nile Rodgers, Tony Moran, Kimberly Davis Join Forces For New Single

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Nile Rodgers, Tony Moran, And Kimberly Davis Join Forces For New Single For The First Time Ever!

(NEW YORK) For the first time ever, music powerhouses Nile Rodgers and Tony Moran are joining forces on an explosive new music single, “My Fire,” featuring Kimberly Davis.

It’s an empowering track, meant to remind music fans that even on the darkest of days, there is a fire inside each of us that is ready to light the path forward to the place we’re meant to be.  It merges elements from Club, Disco and Funk for a next generation fusion of electronic music meets soul.

“I hope our song makes people feel good, as though they’re in the middle of a party, letting go and having fun.”  – Kimberly Davis.

“My Fire” is the fifth single release from “Moodswings,” Tony Moran’s double-album of music featuring 17 original dance songs and 14 original pop, R&B and alternative productions sung by today’s leading dance artists including Martha Wash, Zhana Roiya, and Jason Walker. The album draws inspiration from Moran’s 30 years in dance music and includes many amazing collaborators including with former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.

“Collaborating with talented artists like Nile and Kimberly is the fire that drives me to continue my artistry,” says Tony Moran.

“The fire that drives me is the rush I feel when connecting with an audience,” says Davis.  “It is pure exhilaration.”

“Hearing my words brought musically to life by supremely talented artists like Kimberly and masters like Nile Rodgers and Tony Moran is the fire that drives me,” adds the song’s writer, Mike Greenly.

Nile Rodgers and Tony Moran’s “My Fire” featuring Kimberly Davis is being released globally through Mr. Tan Man Music and is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon as well as all other online music retail outlets.

Follow Tony Moran on Twitter.  Follow Nile Rodgers on Twitter. Follow Kimberly Davis on TwitterFollow songwriter Mike Greenly on Twitter.