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I Advocate ... Joel Burns

I Advocate ... Joel Burns

...The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. The Victory Fund and its research and education arm, the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute, arguably give you the most bang for your buck of any LGBT organization. Thanks in part to their financial and consulting resources, I became the first openly LGBT elected official in Fort Worth history. This support allowed me to speak up in the aftermath of the 2009 raid on Fort Worth's Rainbow Lounge, to expand Fort Worth's nondiscrimination ordinance, and to craft and pass a measure providing domestic-partner benefits for city employees. As a friend of mine, Houston councilwoman Sue Lovell, likes to say, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." The Victory Fund helps LGBT America secure that place at the table.

...Withings wi-fi body scale. These geek-chic gadgets are so cool that I recently gave three as Christmas gifts--and not one recipient was offended. I can track my recalcitrant 15 pounds of "elected weight" through graphs online and via an iPhone app. It will even update my Twitter account--if I let it, that is.

...Ellerbe Fine Foods. Last year Bon Appetit named Fort Worth's Ellerbe Fine Foods one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America for its modern take on Southern cuisine. It's located in a historic service station along the hip 1920s-era Magnolia Avenue corridor, just blocks from our home.

...Guerlain Jicky cologne. I choose to positively interpret the frequently asked, "What is that you're wearing?" When Aime Guerlain debuted his unisex fragrance Jicky in 1889 in Paris, it was the first cologne to combine natural and synthetic ingredients. In Fort Worth, women won't wear it because it's too masculine, and men won't wear it because it requires a trip to Neiman's women's fragrance counter. So for two decades Jicky has been "my" scent, and seemingly mine alone.

...The Practice of Adaptive Leadership. This past summer, I attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Some of the most formative experiences there were the lectures of former Republican Massachusetts state representative Marty Linsky, whose most recent book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, I just started reading. My experience at the program was probably even more influential than I realized on the morning of October 12, when I wrote the comments about bullying and teen suicide that I delivered later that night.
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