NOVEMBER 2010 | 1
GulfCoastRainbowConnection.com is an LGBT Community Website, promoting and advertising local organizations and gay-friendly businesses. Our mission is to unite and connect the community, sharing information and resources, so that we can support one another's efforts in business, social and spiritual growth. Contact us @ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 251-586-4732
NOVEMBER 2010 | 3
OUT Staff:ON THE TOWN MAGAZINE Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Halterman, MikeMike Halterman
email@example.com Creative Director: Joshua Beadle Brandy Woodall firstname.lastname@example.org Writers: Tammy Enyeart,
JoshuaTori Beadle Mattison Dejan ÄŒabrilo
Tammy Enyeart Photo Credits: email@example.com tam Kathleen Reynolds, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Tori Mattison, John Dentice/Just Us Lounge, Tori Mattison Andre Cooley/ACLU of Mississippi, Jason Childs, Tony Boswell/Splash Bar Florida, Brad Loekle, Kevin McIntyre Tori Mattison, Unity Mississippi, Rep. Patricia Todd, Doug Landreth, CBS, and JPI Studios OUT ON THE TOWN MAGAZINE is published by OUT ON THE TOWN PUBLISHING, LLC Copyright 2010 Out on the Town Publishing, LLC Opinions expressed in the pages of Out on the Town Magazine are not necessarily those held by the owners of Out on the Town Publishing, LLC. or its staff. Publication of the name or photograph of any living person or organization in articles or advertising in Out on the Town Magazine shall not be construed or implication made as any indication of the sexual orientation of such persons or organizations. All copy, text, display, photos and illustrations in the ads are published with the understanding that the advertisers are fully authorized, have secured proper written consent for the use of names, pictures and testimonials of any living person, and Out on the Town Magazine ma may lawfully publish said ads. The advertiser automatically agrees by submitting said ad to indemnify and hold harmless Out on the Town Publishing, LLC from any and all liability, loss and expense of any nature out of such publication. The deadline for the monthly release of Out on the Town Magazine is the fourth Friday of the month at 11 a.m. Central Time for advertising submitted from an outside graphics firm and the fourth Monday of the month for new advertising made and designed in-house by Out on the Town Magazine (extra fees apply). In the event that an ad is accepted after deadline, the advertiser agrees by submitting such an ad to indemnify and hold harmless Out on the Town Publishing, LLC from any and all liability, loss and expense of any nature that may arise from any error that may be made in said ad. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole of this publication without written permission is prohibited.
4 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Table of Contents: Out and About Photo Spread: OUToberfest in Jackson ...................................... 8 The View from Here: Police Protect Gay Pride Marchers in Serbia ....................... 12 Tori Mattison’s Lowdown .............................................................................. 14 Brad Loekle: Comedy’s Hardest-Working Gay .................................................. 17 Mississippi: Andre Cooley: Fired for Being Gay ................................................ 22 Mississippi: Just Us 5 Years After Katrina ....................................................... 23 Alabama: Center for Progress is Alabama’s New “People Power” ......................... 24 Florida: Jump In and Make a Splash! ............................................................. 26 Florida: The History of the Gay Adoption Ban .................................................. 27 New and Improved Bars and Clubs Listing ...................................................... 28
Editor’s Note: Hey y’all! We are entering the holiday season, and the first major holiday we will be observing is Thanksgiving. I know what I’m thankful for: the wonderful support of the GLBT community and businesses in the Deep South. You all are making this magazine THE publication in the area, and I am just so proud to be giving a great publication to you. This month we continue with our “View from Here” series, written by a gifted ally, Dejan Čabrilo. He was a foreign exchange student at the University of Kansas, so his column gave an interesting insight about his home country while still being able to balance the extent of civil liberties between Serbia and the United States. The Clint McCance controversy in Arkansas cemented my decision to expand into that state for our December/January issue. I believe a GLBT publication is something that state needs, just like we needed one here. And yes, you read right; December and January will be one issue. We will be back in February on a stricter schedule so we can bring you the best news and insights in a timelier manner. Finally, I will be donating my “editor’s photo” this month to the work Pensacola women did in the name of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The 17th Avenue Bridge was painted pink in honor of breast cancer awareness last month, and I wanted to show off their hard work. Thanks to Whitney Cross for giving us the photo for publication. Our holiday issue will be coming soon and we’ll be giving a hearty “hey y’all!” to Arkansans; don’t miss it! Sincerely Yours, Mike Halterman Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
NOVEMBER 2010 | 5
6 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
NOVEMBER 2010 | 7
Out and about: OUToberfest
8 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
NOVEMBER 2010 | 9
10 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
The View from Here: Belgrade Pride Written by Dejan Čabrilo
On a Sunday morning, at 10 o’clock, on the 10th of October, 2010, people started gathering at Manjež Park in Belgrade for what would turn out to be the first (partially) successful pride parade. Like everything else about this pride parade, the choice of location was based on security issues. The park is surrounded by few residential buildings, and is instead mostly overlooked by government offices. This meant that there was slim chance that hooligans will rent apartments overlooking the parade and then throw rocks at the participants, like they planned to do last year. To be on the safe side, the police surveyed residents of all apartments overlooking the event the night before. Also, all residents were ordered to park their cars elsewhere and traffic was stopped in the area surrounding the park. Participants arriving at the event might have felt like they were approaching Area 51, because at a five block radius of the park, the police set up the first checkpoint. Everybody who entered the radius was identified and recorded by the police
and were given a yellow band to tie around their wrists (a yellow arm band? charming!). [During World War II in Yugoslavia, Jews had to wear yellow arm bands. -ed.] The park itself was sealed off from the rest of the world, like it would be if there were a rock concert to take place. Everybody had to go through an official entrance, and were given a pink sticker to mark them as participants of the parade. The organizers warned in advance that people should closely follow all the instructions and should stay with the group at all times. After some 45 minutes of different European officials taking the stage and addressing the public, the parade itself – more of a peaceful walk – took place. Some 1000 souls, surrounded by what seemed twice as many riot-equipped policemen, walked around the block. The police behaved correctly and civilly throughout the affair. If there were no rainbow flags, this would look like any other peaceful protest. There was no dancing or loud music – even same-sex couples holding hands were hard to spot.
12 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Photos Courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty © 2010 RFE/RL, Inc.
The crowd walked past an Orthodox Church, where several nuns and priests found it their highlight of the week to watch the crowd in shock and horror and cross themselves in defense, as if they just witnessed a public ass-pounding. Those nuns and priests were really laughable and tragic – they expected to see naked people, leather whips and boots, but instead they implicitly expressed Christian hate of the peaceful, content and calm crowd which expressed no sexuality at all…. The parade ended with a party in SKC (the only venue which would let my teenage punk band play back in the 1990s), not even three hours after the beginning. The police would be giving all the participants a ride home – talk about an unexpected cab share. Meanwhile, the rioting... The organizers had announced that some 5000 policemen would guard the event, but looking at all clash points in the city, I’d think there were twice as many. Mobs of people were gathered at different locations around the city. Some gathered in the downtown on Terazije, some came from the direction of St. Sava Temple, while there was a significant group much closer, at Slavija. Sticks, rocks, metal bars and road post signs were all used to fight the police, with ferocity I would have never imagined possible. Thousands upon thousands of these hooligans kept storming at the police, demolishing cars, buildings and of course, looting some Nike shoes while at it. The police fought back. They fired tear gas, stormed back at the rioters, and managed to keep the crowd away from the parade, so that the inner radius of the parade was never breached. The police showed an unprecedented professionalism, but also an amazing dedication to the cause. Later that day, a YouTube video
surfaced showing a cop yelling at an injured rioter (that was an example of dedication, not professionalism), and telling him something along the lines of: “You fucking asshole, you want to demolish MY city?” This lasted longer that the parade itself. The aftermath was a hundred of injured cops, 200 detained rioters, the Serbian Democratic Party’s headquarters set on fire and dozens of broken windows and shops. A picture is worth thousand words, and video is worth 24 pictures a second The video made me think: how many dead people would there be if the rioters managed to break through to the parade? Moral of the story? The public debate ensued. Journalists have concluded that the rioters weren’t there for the parade at all – they just wanted to fight and demolish. Concerned citizens pointed out that most of the rioters weren’t even of age. True, most of them looked like they can’t be much older than 17. Of course, it’s not the kids to blame, it’s their lack of perspective and opportunity, they said. I’m not sure this “blame it on the society” attitude is really helpful. I grew up in the 1990s, the worst of times, I’d say. We were left without proper education, with world-hating politicians and surrounded by wars. But I don’t remember that many of the people I went to school with would gear up for such rioting. The problem is not the entire society, it’s not that abstract. The problem is that for the last 20 years, with a brief exception of Đinđić‘s era, our politicians have been creating an environment in which difference is not tolerated and they built an army of street hooligans to support it.
The official institutions ignored, for years, acts of vandalism and beatings. They encouraged those kids to take the streets and impose their own rules. Anyone speaks in favor of Kosovo’s independence? Hooligans will beat them up. Anyone speaks in favor of minority rights? There is someone to beat them up too. By covering up for their policies, the politicians have created an atmosphere in which it’s OK to beat up somebody who thinks differently. By tolerating those acts of violence and not putting the perpetrators behind bars, they created an atmosphere in which doing illegal stuff is alright. Those kids that destroyed the city didn’t get so derailed by being ignored by the society – no, they got derailed by being actively manipulated by the politicians to do their dirty jobs. Combine this with the fact that most people in Serbia don’t understand the difference between the tyranny of the majority and democracy, and you get a majority of citizens who think that pride parade is infringing upon their heterosexual rights (“If a majority of us thinks there should be no pride parade, then the government should ban it” was the mantra of the day), and who think violence is a proper answer to that issue. A few days ago, I witnessed this exchange between two senior citizens: — Hi! Only three days until the “beating ups”! — Yes. We should stop that Parade of Shame right now. Those grandpas have their children and their grandchildren. When adults get that brainwashed, children don’t stand a chance.
When politicians, alongside journalists and all sorts of “intellectuals”, wanted to unite people against the independence of Kosovo, they did this by forbidding any discourse in Serbia that would suggest that Kosovo should be independent.
NOVEMBER 2010 | 13
Tori Mattison’s Lowdown
Tori Mattison’s Lowdown Gobble Gobble! So I took down thee ghosts and goblins that were lovingly displayed in my yard the other day, and I have to say that I was a little sad to pack everything up. This October had probably the best Halloween and birthday I have ever experienced in my twenty-something years of living! OUToberfest was a huge success this year, with over 500 people visiting throughout the day and fantastic entertainment. It’s an amazing feeling to know that so many people put all of their issues and drama aside to be a part of something bigger and more important than exes and tricks: unity. A great time was had by all, and the magazines flew off the table! Also, my birthday show went off without a hitch. There was a great
P3’s Thanksgiving bash will be hosted by Madison Lashay.
14 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
crowd still showing their support at Dick and Jane’s that night, which has suffered a population decrease since the opening of Bottoms Up. Hey, smaller crowds means you can see the stage better, right? The morale was high and I had a great time seeing my friends for a slightlymore-intimate-than-planned evening of entertainment. On the Saturday of Halloween Weekend, I jumped into my pirate costume and joined my butterfly-BFF Tanisha Foxx for drinking and partying at Bottoms Up; Mississippi’s newest addition to the gay community. Bottoms up has quickly grown into Mississippi’s hot-spot for drinking, drag and mingling. Halloween night had a staggering 300+ costume-clad guys and “gals” mingling and dancing to an amazing sound system. The really cool thing about Bottoms Up is the fact that there are different rooms for different tastes. Do you want drag? Well we have our own soundproof room, honey! The bar is in a different room than the dance floor, with slightly lower volume for chatting and ordering drinks. There is also a patio area for smoking. My Cadillac purse was filled with 2 different “potions” that I mixed before leaving, and I kept our glasses full until 4am. Needless to say, most of the night was more of a blur... but we had a blast!
Also in Mississippi, P3 is showing their gratitude by adopting a family for Christmas. Starting this weekend, $2 from each entry fee will be set aside for a needy family, as well as toys and non-perishable food items. Fellow diva Madison Lashay is hosting a Thanksgiving bash at P3 on Sunday, November 21 for those who may not have family to spend the holiday with. “There are so many people who are stuck here for college, or their family disowned therm for being gay,” Lashay comments. “I use this as a way to show unity and to give back to the community.” Festivities start at 6pm. For my Alabama readers, There aren’t any Thanksgiving-related shows or benefits going on at any bars, but both The Quest Club as well as the Lakeview Yacht Club are open 24 hours a day and are eager to help you dance off those extra calories or shake off thee Thanksgiving blues. There will be regularly scheduled drag shows at both locations, and the dance floor will be hopping with plenty of gays running frantically away from their families to seek solace in each other’s company! Florida has plenty to offer for Thanksgiving this year, with drink specials, specially planned drag shows, and extended hours for those who want to camp out a little longer than normal.
The Emerald City is always a great spot to hang out and meet new people. For a great show, definitely give Splash Bar in Panama City a try. For an amazing light show and fantastic sound system, try The Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, and to my ever-growing lesbian fan-base, you GOTTA check out Rosie’s in Wilton Manors. Their cheeseburgers? Amazing! For the LGBT community, it can be difficult finding things to be thankful for during this season. Many of us have no family to claim. I haven’t seen or spoken to my family since I was kicked out at age 16, so I can imagine that such family-oriented holidays can cause a strain on one’s emotions. This is the time when I take into consideration all of the friends who have helped me out in the past. To the people who lent me their couches, helped me find a permanent home; those who helped me with my college applications and loaned me money for entry fees... There are so many times that I wondered whether or not I should just end it all, and my friends helped me see that I’m so much better than the hand I was being dealt. I am thankful each and every day for my friends; old, new, and soon-tobe. You all are the reason I can be who I want to be today. What are YOU thankful for?
NOVEMBER 2010 | 15
16 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Brad Loekle: Comedy’s Hardest Working Gay Written by Mike Halterman
It was nearly 20 years ago when Brad Loekle was first “blown away” by the talents of a comedian, after watching Bob Smith perform on television in a TV special. Little did Smith know back then that he would become one of Loekle’s biggest inspirations. “[He was the] first gay comic on Carson, TV, to have his own special, etc. I can remember first meeting and performing with him years later. He told me after the show that I was a unique voice in gay comedy and he thought I was great… I cried like a big girl the whole cab ride home!” NOVEMBER 2010 | 17
COVER STORY can be to see something done live in front of you. So whether it’s your favorite band, or a reading by your favorite author, or a comedian like me… go out and see it done live… it will really change how you look at things!”
Loekle started performing comedy routines after receiving a degree at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he majored in acting and music. “The training I got there, though not at all focused on comedy, was invaluable to me later,” he said. “I’ve always been very comfortable onstage or in front of a camera… in fact, I’m probably more myself there than I am in my own living room!” If you’ve never heard of Brad Loekle, then you
should definitely check out his contributions to truTV’s series “The Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest,” which airs new episodes Thursday nights at 7 and 8 p.m. Central. But he’s quick to volunteer that he recommends live comedy over television. “If you’ve never seen a professional comedy show in person before, I can tell you that it’s an entirely different experience. And it is sooo worth it,” he said. “I think we tend to forget in our digital age just how impressive it
When it comes to his brand of live comedy, if you like racy humor, then he’s your man. “I was, in essence, raised by drag queens when it comes to comedy… and it shows. My stage act is A LOT more adult than what people see of me on TV… just because onstage there is no legal department combing over my words before you hear them,” he noted. “People who can’t take a joke should probably avoid my shows. I know that sounds snarky, but it’s true. In this day of super political correctness, there are soooo many people who won’t allow themselves to like something or laugh at something unless they first assess its ‘correctness’. That is like comedy assassination. I have literally asked people to leave a show before when they get in my face about political correctness. So… if you’re thinking of coming to a show of mine to debate whether it’s right for me to make fun of something… my advice is wear a cup!”
18 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Performing dozens, or even hundreds, of times a year can either liven up a comedy routine or make it repetitive and even dull. Loekle likes to think he has a good way to keep things fresh. “For instance, in my act you might see something that I wrote only a few weeks ago… followed by a joke I wrote five years ago. The real test of a comedian is can you tell the difference… and with me, few people can.”
“As to how difficult it is, I’ll tell you what I say all the time, ‘It beats digging ditches!’ I’ve done a lot of work in my life to get by before I was a full time comedian. None of it was ‘difficult’ like being a brain surgeon or a fireman… but I hated all of it… so it was hard. I love what
I do more than anything else in the world. Truly. More than people, places, things… So for me, it isn’t difficult at all. But I can tell you a lot people would rather die rather than stand on a stage… more or less stand on a stage with no costume, no set, no script… nothing but your mind versus hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to laugh. So for a lot of people that sounds impossible… for me, it sounds like a kick ass workday!” Loekle became involved with truTV’s “World’s Dumbest” after a network executive dropped in on one of his comedy shows in New York City. “They brought me in for a test episode and, as they say, history was made. I’ve been with the show ever since and have a ball doing it! It is such a fun team of people to work with,” he said, going on to admit that the show’s casting is unique. “Basically, all of our celebrities have a somewhat criminal past… so they’re there for the criminal aspect of all our clips… then us comedians are there for the humor. Though, I’ll give it to [Danny] Bonaduce… he’s actually very funny to boot!” What quite a few “World’s Dumbest” fans want to know
is…is Tonya Harding really a moron or do they edit her that way? “Yeah… that’s not so much ‘editing’. Tonya’s just… well, Tonya! Listen, as someone who works in TV, let me tell you now that when reality housewives and the like tell you they were edited out of proportion… it’s mostly bullshit. If a show airs you calling someone “cunt” on 13 different occasions… but that’s all they show of you… you still had to say it 13 times for them to get the footage! And just because Tonya’s a moron doesn’t mean we don’t like her… though [the] things are mutually exclusive ideas,” he said with a wink. Although a Yankee by birth, Loekle loves performing for Southern audiences; he even writes a column for the Key West Gay Rag. “For some reason ‘straight’ married me seem to hit on me a lot when I’m in the South. I don’t know if it’s the heat or something in your sweet tea, but I am like catnip to breeders!” he said. So will he come to Pensacola’s Memorial Day celebrations? “I’ve never played Pensacola and I’m a big fan of going new places… just because there’s less chance of running into people I’ve already had sex with! So have your people call my… person… and we’ll get to work on that!”
NOVEMBER 2010 | 19
Lounge 906 Division street BiLoxi, Ms 39530
open 24 / 7 e
os l C r eve
20 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:00 p.m. - 2 a.m. with DJ Kit No Cover
DriNK & DrowN
every wednesday in Nov. & Fridays, Nov. 5 & 26
9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. with DJ Daniel Campioni $10.00 Cover
SuNDay Tea' S
10:00 p.m. Show No Cover
Nov. 7th - Che Che, Paris Foxx, Veronica Loveheart Nov. 14th - Ms. Sherri, Sophia Luciani, Crystal Love Nov. 28th - Venus Shante Dâ€™ Vis, Danielle Savage, estelle Suarez
Sunday, November 21st 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. No Cover
Saturday, November 20th Midnight with DJ Missy $6.00 Cover
www.justuslounge.net everyoNe WelCome 21 & up
now serving priDe pizza, etc. NOVEMBER 2010 | 21
Fired for Being Gay: Andre Cooley Tells His Story
Written by Mike Halterman
Last month, Andre Cooley, who worked in foster care placement at the Forrest County Police Department in Hattiesburg, was fired due to what he and the ACLU of Mississippi alleges is discrimination based on his sexual orientation. Forrest County policemen were called to his residence to investigate a domestic violence complaint, in which Cooley was the victim at the hands of another man. That was when his co-workers had found out about his homosexuality, and it was shortly thereafter that he was fired. Cooley talked to Out on the Town about the circumstances surrounding his termination and his upcoming lawsuit.
4 How did it make you feel when you learned that you were fired, allegedly, because you were gay? It made me feel bad. It shouldn’t matter what a person’s sexual orientation is as long as they can perform the job. I had an excellent record when I was with the department. I felt betrayed because once they found out I was gay, my job performance didn’t matter any more.
4 Apart from compensation, what would you like to think your lawsuit with the Forrest County Police Department should accomplish? I hope the lawsuit will help increase public awareness about sexual orientation discrimination. The public should be aware that this discrimination happens to people and that is not right. No
one should have to go through what I’m going through.
4 You always wanted to work with children. Explain why you wanted to work with children as your life’s work and how would you like to work with them in the future in another job (perhaps even in the same job in another city or state)? I wanted to work with kids because it gave me the opportunity to give back. I went through the foster care system. Working with foster kids is one way that I could help out with people in similar situations. Kids are our future and it is important that we take care of them. They need to know that someone cares. They need to have someone that they can talk to who understands where they are coming from.
22 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Live, Laugh, Love:
The New Just Us Marks 5 Years After Katrina Written by Mike Halterman
Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of everyone along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. However, for owner Lynn Koval and manager John Dentice of Just Us Lounge in Biloxi, rising from the ashes was important not just for business purposes, but for the GLBT community along the coast. The task at hand was daunting, but they were determined to rebuild the premier meeting place for the GLBT community along the coast.
Everyone pitched in and lent their support, manpower and money. The job wasn’t an easy task; 7 ½ feet of water had blown in from the Gulf and the flooding resulted in complete water devastation to the bar’s interior. But work was swift; on December 12, 2005, even before the multi-million dollar casinos reopened in Biloxi, Just Us was back in business. Next month they mark five years of the bar’s life after Katrina, and fifteen total in business. “It was very important to regain normalcy during a time when everything around us was less than normal,” Dentice said. “Limited funds influenced how, and when, reopening could take place.” Even so, Just Us and the safe haven Sanctuary, Inc. were opened 3 ½ months after Katrina. “At the time it
seemed impossible, but with everyone coming together for the common goal of rebuilding our home, it quickly turned to a ‘we can do this’ reality.” The last year has been rough not only for Just Us but also for many businesses along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Dentice is eager to look forward to a brighter year ahead. “What can I say? Whether it’s been the economy, the oil spill, and yes, even still, the aftermath of Katrina, when all is said and done, 2010 will soon be a memory that we’ll reflect on as we anticipate a great 2011,” he said. “2011: a new year, filled with life, laughter and love and being just us.”
NOVEMBER 2010 | 23
Center for Progress:
Alabama’s New “People Power” Written by Mike Halterman
Alabama is ending 2010 with a surge in “people power,” perhaps best personified by Jason Childs, the man behind the Center for Progress in Alabama. A former evangelical Baptist pastor, his change of heart came about after being forced to leave the church due to a divorce. He became a truck driver, visiting every state in the Lower 48.
24 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Alabama is ending 2010 with a surge in “people power,” perhaps best personified by Jason Childs, the man behind the Center for Progress in Alabama. A former evangelical Baptist pastor, his change of heart came about after being forced to leave the church due to a divorce. He became a truck driver, visiting every state in the Lower 48. A chance encounter changed his life forever; he found himself, by accident, in the middle of a gay pride parade in New York state. “I began to notice that these ‘wicked sinners’ I was taught about were not that at all. They were just hard-working people trying to pay their bills, raise their families, and be with the ones they loved,” he said. “I realized that the conservative evangelical movement I was once a part of was not helping to make the world a better place, just coddling its own members, and supporting public policies that were not in the best interest of the community as a whole.” “I spent two years trucking around America, listening to NPR and reading; it was a great second education. I remember one day I was reading Hillary [Clinton]’s book It Takes a Village and just began to cry. I spent half my life serving one small sect of society at the expense of the rest.” His epiphany complete, he returned to Alabama and set forth with a plan to help all citizens of the state, not just a few.
“It is not a matter of ‘if’ Alabama will become a progressive state, it’s a matter of ‘when.’ Childs started a movement that was originally confined to facebook. It grew when he heard from Alabamians about the key issue of anti-gay bullying in public schools. “When I started contacting potential members and volunteers, I was hearing from them that one of their biggest fears was the harassment of gay members of our community, especially in our public school system. I began contacting the Alabama Department of Education to ask why sexual orientation was missing from
the list [of protected classes] in their bullying policy. I soon realized that I was getting the runaround. They did not want to even discuss change for fear of retaliation from the loud bossy religious right,” he said. “If I told you that the Amish in Pennsylvania were running for public office in record numbers with the intention of outlawing electricity and forcing others to act, dress, and behave like them, you would not believe it. Well, that is exactly what is happening in Alabama, only it is not the Amish, it is the Fundamentalist Evangelicals, and it is not electricity, it’s being a human with free will.” In the past couple of months, Childs has spoken on the Capitol steps in Montgomery, advocated for GLBT rights in front of the Anniston School Board, and stood up for students’ rights in Andalusia. It takes a lot of work to keep such advocacy going, and the Center for Progress in Alabama is taking donations at any Regions Bank location, specify account number #0147988061 and specify the home state of Alabama. If you’d like to write Childs for more information about his organization, you can write to Center for Progress in Alabama, PO Box 3289, Oxford, AL 36203. “It is not a matter of ‘if’ Alabama will become a progressive state, it’s a matter of ‘when.’ Our one home is Earth, our one race is human and our one cause is progress,” he said. NOVEMBER 2010 | 25
JUMP IN AND MAKE A...
Written by Tammy Enyeart
Splash Bar Florida was opened in December of 2001 by Larry Lassiter and Tony Boswell, and Panama City Beach has been wet ever since. The bar features the finest male dancers, female impersonators, as well as top name DJ’s to cater to the ever-changing clientele. “Six weeks of Mardi Gras” is what Panama City’s notorious Spring Break is often referred to at the Splash Bar, with the majority being college age boys and girls who are ready to party hard each and every night. MTV Networks put Splash Bar on the map with their constant support and gave them the highest compliment of having the best music on the Gulf Coast. Sprinkling the bars with their appearances, which leave
Larry and Tony amazed every year, include Ross Mathews from The Tonight Show, the cast of the ABC soap opera All My Children, Tobin Bell of the Saw movies, Brooke Hogan, numerous MTV VJ’s as well as several sports stars. In late 2009, Splash Bar also teamed up with the local radio station Island 106, after they hired a new talented DJ from Atlanta named Miguel Fuller, who just so happened to be gay and out on the air. It was Miguel’s goal to let his listeners know that it was okay to be gay, and more than that, to just be you. Miguel spends a lot of his “talk time” recounting the antics of his crew, as well as the funny things he witnessed at the bar the night before. As a sponsor of his show,
Splash watched the gay community emerge into a much more organized, and therefore stronger, force that allowed gay and straight people to develop real friendships, and make the bar their spot for social events. As the Splash Bar approaches their tenth anniversary some of their goals for 2011 are to focus squarely on entertainment and branding as they prepare to take on more remodeling and refurbishing as well as keeping the atmosphere comfortable for a beach bar setting. “We have survived against the odds and have grown the bar into something we are proud of,” co-owner Tony Boswell said. As they celebrate nine years in business next month, they should be very proud.
26 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
The Gay Adoption Ban Now That It’s Over, Remember How It Began Written by Mike Halterman
She didn’t stop there, though. She went as far as to get a bill sponsored that would ban adoption by gay people. At this point, the culture of homophobia was so ramped up in Florida that the bill easily passed the Florida House and Senate; indeed, only one person in the Florida House voted against the bill.
On October 21, Florida’s ban on adoption by gay people, whether they be single or coupled, passed into the history books as Attorney General Bill McCollum failed to appeal a number of court decisions claiming the law was unconstitutional. As a result, an embarrassing chapter in Florida’s GLBT history was over, but it is important to remember how it was implemented in the first place. GLBT people, most importantly GLBT Floridians, should never forget the hatred and bigotry exhibited by born-again Christian singer Anita Bryant, who went on her vicious discriminatory rampage in a self-serving ploy to rob her fellow man of human rights while paying lip service to “doing it for the children.” In 1977, Bryant, a popular country singer best known for her hit “Paper Roses,” was incensed that the Dade County Commission voted to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Bryant, who believed herself to be an “ambassador for Florida” due to her paid contract promoting Florida’s Orange Growers, went on the offensive with a public relations attack via television and direct mail, tying gays to the rape and molestation of children. Her offensive worked, and Dade County voters repealed the ordinance by a margin of nearly 7 to 3.
So did Anita Bryant “win”? Yes and no. She won in the respect that gays were not allowed to make families of their own via adoption for 33 years, but she also lost by the power of the pink dollar. The gays launched an offensive of their own, speaking out against Anita Bryant and her despicable stances against the community by calling for a boycott against Florida orange juice. Celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, John Waters and Mary Tyler Moore picked up the torch and what was originally a gay issue in Florida went national. Suddenly, Anita Bryant found fewer supporters around her and in 1979, with sales having plummeted, the Florida Orange Growers fired her and never hired her to endorse their products again. In 2002, nine former lawmakers, including the former Senate president and the Speaker of the House, signed a statement which was given to Equality Florida. They had regretted their actions and if they had still been involved in politics, they would work to have the law repealed. Court decisions in November 2008 and September 2010 finally put the anti-gay adoption law to bed. And as for Anita Bryant? Over the years she has wavered between asking the GLBT community for forgiveness and staunchly defending her actions; sadly, as of late, she has been voicing more of the latter stance. To forget is to give license for it to happen again. Now that we are one step closer to equality, don’t forget to study the history or we, collectively, are doomed to repeat it.
NOVEMBER 2010 | 27
BARS & CLUBS
¥ THE CABARET
¥ THE ROUNDUP
¥ GABRIEL’S DOWNTOWN
101 S. Jefferson St. Pensacola, FL 32502 (850) 607-2020
560 E. Heinberg St. Pensacola, FL 32502 (850) 433-8482
¥ EMERALD CITY 406 E. Wright St. Pensacola, FL 32501 (850) 433-9491
¥ FIESTA ROOM LA ROYALE LOUNGE
100 Harrison Ave. Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 763-1755
¥ SPLASH BAR FLORIDA
6520 Thomas Dr. Panama City Beach, FL 32408 (850) 236-3450
213 Conti St. Mobile, AL 36602 (251) 433-2262
55 S. Joachim St. Mobile, AL 36602 (251) 432-4900
¥ THE MIDTOWN PUB 153 S. Florida St. Mobile, AL 36606 (251) 471-5090
455 Dauphin St. Mobile, AL 36602 (251) 445-4099
¥ CLUB IMAGINATION 4129 Ross Clark Cir. Dothan, AL 36303 (334) 792-6579
¥ CLUB 322
322 N. Lawrence St. Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 263-4322
¥ JOE’S ON SEVENTH
2627 7th Ave. S. Birmingham, AL 35233 (205) 321-2812
¥ OUR PLACE
2115 7th Ave. S. Birmingham, AL 35233 (205) 715-0077
416 24th St. S. Birmingham, AL 35233 (205) 251-4313 Notes: ___________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________ _________________
28 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
¥ JUST US LOUNGE
906 Division St. Biloxi, MS 39530 (228) 374-1007
5232 Highway 42 Hattiesburg, MS 39401 (601) 602-4657
¥ BOTTOMS UP 3911 Northview Dr. Jackson, MS 39206 (601) 362-8818
425 North Mart Plaza Jackson, MS 39206 (601) 362-3108
Where’s MY bar?
If you have a gay bar that you think shouldn’t be overlooked by Out on the Town, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to have it added.
NOVEMBER 2010 | 29
30 | OUT ON THE TOWN | ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
NOVEMBER 2010 | 31