Randy Slovacek, 44, has had a long theater career. With a start in acting in high school and college, Slovacek went on to perform and choreograph on Broadway and with touring companies of 42nd Street, Chicago, Cats, A Chorus Line, and many others. He has worked with accomplished stage powers like Carol Channing and is currently one of the most in-demand choreographers in the country. Once the Hello, Dolly! tour wraps up, he will be finishing his own musical and working on a new show titled Ethel Merman’s Broadway.
Archive for February, 2008
Jason Black, the prevention intervention specialist for the Fusion Drop-In Center, knows that Houston’s African Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. Local statistics mirror a national trend that indicates African Americans account for 54 percent of all people infected with HIV in the United States. • Black also knows that knowledge equals power for African-American men who have sex with men. • On February 7, Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Black and the staff at Fusion are “putting all our efforts” into a free, all-day HIV testing event at Sharpstown Mall, targeting this at-risk population. • “We encourage all those 18-24-year-old African-American males to come out and get tested,” Black says. • Fusion, which operates a facility in Montrose, is a project of the St. Hope Foundation, the HIV/AIDS service provider that targets the African-American and Latino communities. Details: 713/778-1300 • www.offeringhope.org.
Last month, I wrote about the ManKind Project, a weekend retreat that tries to jolt men into dealing with deep personal issues. In the column [“LeftOut,” January 2008 OutSmart], I discussed what I considered the troubling ties that the ManKind’s New Warriors program has with ex-gay ministries, which aggressively tout the retreat in their efforts to supposedly instill masculinity in their clients.
Presidential primary fever is on its way to Texas. The Democratic and Republican party primaries will take place on Tuesday, March 4, a month after Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states hold primaries. But so far, no candidate in either party appears to be an inevitable winner, which could make Texas a significant stop on the primary track.
Over the past few years, here in Houston and in other urban areas across America, gay men have been asking, “What happened to all of the HIV-prevention services?” Men have said that they don’t see the bowls of condoms available at bars that were once readily available. They’ve also made comments about the lack of uniformed outreach workers spreading the messages of safe sex and handing out plastic baggies containing condoms, lube, and sometimes even a breath mint. Just last week, I read an e-mail from a local gay man who complained that free HIV testing at community organizations was very limited.
As part of Freedom To Marry Week this month, many same-sex couples will be demanding their right to secure the same rights as wedded heterosexuals. One such protesting couple, Regina Cassanova and Jheri Dupart, both 27, got a head start on things in December. Joined by family, they held their own ceremony—one not legally recognized, of course—at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. Now considering themselves wed, Cassanova and Dupart will be one of the devoted couples participating in the February 11–17 events here, organized by the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality. The week kicks off on February 11 with a 60th birthday party for attorney and activist Phyllis Randolph Frye at the downtown Magnolia Ballroom. The week concludes on February 17 with the largest same-sex wedding celebration in Texas, held at Resurrection.
1. Equitable. Rather than simply being a situation where everything is done 50-50, what really matters is that each partner feels that he or she gets out of the relationship what he or she puts into it. Each of us brings particular skills to a relationship. Those skills have different value or impact on the relationship. The way in which we apply those skills within the relationship can make a relationship feel equitable. Someone who does not seem to do much in a relationship can offer an invaluable asset to the relationship to make it feel equitable.
We know that there’s far more to our GLBT families than what the state legally recognizes. Still, there’s the reality that we have to live within—while trying to change it at the same time. Our partner relationships—our families—can be legally and financially risky ventures. For most of us, it is well worth the risk. Human beings are social animals; our relationships make our world go around. Though progress is being made toward protecting the legal rights of individuals in GLBT relationships, for now there are issues that must be addressed, things you need to know, and things you need to do in order to keep safe what may be the most valuable asset you’ll ever have: your family.
The desire to couple is strong and, for most of us, both the most essential and challenging task of our lives. Few of us have had helpful, if any, role models in our lives for establishing and maintaining healthy, enjoyable GLBT love partnerships. Even the rare gay man or lesbian who grew up comfortably with same-sex parents has to confront a society that seems to actively pursue the disruption and dissolution of adult relationships in general.
GLORIOUS FOOD At a December 5 ceremony at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association presented the Houston Food Bank with its annual Gift of Produce, 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables. Four hundred member agencies serving 18 southeast Texas counties benefited from the year-end contribution.