Contestant of "Mr. Prime Choice" Claims Racism at Leather Pageant; Anonymously Called a "Coon" on His Poster (UPDATED)

tim chain mail.jpg
Photo by Thomas Rivas
Tim Angelle is not Mr. Prime Choice.
Every year, Montrose leather bar The Ripcord crowns the king of all things leather: Mr. Prime Choice. Men over 40 vie for the title by picking an LGBT charity, fundraising for it and strutting their best leather get-ups onstage. This was the competition's 30-year anniversary, and Ripcord regular Tim Angelle, 50, decided to enter.

That's when the true colors of the leather community started to surface, Angelle said. The gay Montrose set is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find racism, but there it was -- plain as the slur that Angelle would find scrawled across his poster.

At first, Angelle said his candidacy seemed welcomed by the producer of the event, Don Gill, who told Angelle that he was the first African-American to ever run for Prime Choice. For a couple weeks, Angelle was the only entrant.

Then one night, he found out he had competition. Fred Walters, founder of the Houston Buyer's Club, was officially running. It seemed odd to Angelle, who said that Walters isn't part of the leather scene. Not to mention, the Houston Buyer's Club was on the list of recommended charities in the entrant packet. To him, it seemed like a conflict of interest.

Don Gill said he approached Walters when he heard that he might be interested and encouraged him to run. "If we see someone out in the community that can possibly make a statement, we say, 'Hey, when you turn 40 -- or if you are 40 -- why don't you consider running for Prime Choice?'" Gill said.

Racism.jpg
Angelle found this poster hanging in the bathroom.
Later that night, Angelle went out to a bar in the neighborhood. He found his Mr. Prime Choice poster taped up in the bathroom, with "GO HOME COON" scrawled across his photos.

"I was really upset about it," Angelle said. But he wasn't shocked. He and other blacks have experienced racism firsthand in Montrose, from the days when they had to show two forms of identification to get into bars, unlike the white men who would cruise right in. "The white gays think that Montrose is for them," Angelle said. "They really think that they're the only representation of Montrose."

The racial slur just added fuel to his fire to win. Angelle held four fundraisers at local gay bars to benefit his chosen charity, Thomas Street Clinic Food Program. He raised money through entertaining, sometimes by go-go dancing in G-strings. "Whatever it took to raise the money for my charity, I did," Angelle said. Though it wasn't part of the packet of rules he received, Angelle was instructed by the program organizer that he had to have an official from the contest at each of his fundraisers, turn in all receipts, and have two other people sign off on his totals.

Walters raised his money by asking his Facebook friends for donations. Gill said that he beat Angelle's total, according to a check cut from the Houston Buyer's Club -- Walters' chosen charity, and one of which he happens to be executive director.

Angelle's partner, Darryl Bryant, thinks the rules weren't uniform. "Why does he have to have fundraisers with two people there at every fundraiser, when this guy can just raise it on the Internet and nobody knows if he raised it or not?" Bryant said. "If that was the case, we could've just wrote a check and not done anything."

The night of the competition on April 30, Angelle says, he got strange vibes from the judges of Prime Choice. One of the judge's questions, he said, was especially uncomfortable: "If you were a color, which color would you be?" Angelle thought he misheard the judge and asked him to repeat it. "I didn't know how to answer the question," Angelle said. So he decided to interpret it non-racially, answering instead according to the leather community's take on color. (Ask Professor Peaches if you want to learn more about color meanings and hanky code.)

"Every color in the Crayola box means something in the leather community," Angelle answered. And although he doesn't participate in the colors, he respects them, he added.

Rodney Matthews, who was in the audience that night, thought the question was inappropriate. Still, he felt sure Angelle would win, since Matthews says he was the obvious audience favorite. "When Tim came out, the crowd whooped and yelled and screamed," Matthews said. And when Walters came out -- "Everybody was like, why is he up there? He's not in that realm." But Walters, he said, seemed to be the favorite of the emcee, who stayed onstage with Walters whenever he answered a question and walked off when Angelle came on to speak.

Walters was named Mr. Prime Choice.

Not that Matthews was surprised. He thinks Angelle's loss was the result of abiding racism in the gay community. "It doesn't come down to whether you can perform, how well you present yourself, how much money you raise, nothing like that. It always comes down to who are your friends, and who is running the organization," he said. "The decision was made when Fred was asked to run."

Later that night, Angelle and his partner went out for a consolation drink. Gill happened to walk in the bar. "We get to talking," said Angelle. "He's patting me on my back, saying, 'You did a good job,' blah blah blah." Then, Gill said something that stunned Angelle. "He tells me, 'Well, I had to talk Fred Walters into running against you.'"

Just last year, the title had been given to a man who had no competitors. (Gill said that he did look for people to run last year, but couldn't find anyone. The competitor, he said, was very popular.)

Angelle asked Gill why he'd recruit competition for Angelle. "He said, 'Well, when Jesse Jackson ran for president, he didn't win on his first try,'" said Angelle.

Disgusted, Angelle sent a letter to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, who said there's nothing they could do. Noel Freeman, the group's president, sent a letter which included this statement:

Your allegation of racial bias is essentially your word versus that of Mr. Gill, and I suspect that by his lack of response to my inquiry, he is not particularly interested in addressing such allegations. As such, there is no reason or authority for us to become involved in this matter.

Gill said that he thinks Angelle is "absolutely delightful" as a person, and that his allegations of racism are untrue. "Being a minority myself, being a homosexual, growing up being different, why would I want to be racist?" he said. "I think I would allow Montrose, Texas to speak for that."

Update: Following the printing of this article, Noel Freeman, President of the GLBT Political Caucus, sent a second letter to Tim Angelle saying he "conducted additional investigation" of Don Gill, The Ripcord, and those present at the contest. (Freeman provided us with a copy.) Gill, he wrote, said that he believed Angelle lost the contest for two reasons:

1.) Your fundraising totals were less than those of Fred Walters; and 2.) You made remarks to the judges during the leather garb portion of the competition that members of the leather and fetish community likely found to be offensive.
Freeman wrote later in the letter that among these comments were that Angelle said he was "not really into leather."

Freeman also said he found no conflict of interest by Walters supporting Houston Buyers Club. "Additionally, with regard to your assertion that Mr. Walters made a contribution of his own in order to bolster his own totals, it is not uncommon for people involved in fundraising contests to contribute their own funds to their cause," he wrote.

As for the vandalized poster: The Caucus very strongly condemns the use of any such slurs or racial bias of any kind, Freeman wrote.

I am unable to conclusively determine whether or not racial bias played a role in your loss at the Mr. Prime Choice contest, but there seems to be a clear indication that other factors may have negatively affected your score. I will, however, prepare a request to the Ripcord asking that they pay particular attention to allegations of racial bias and take a firm stance in rejecting racial bias from their employees, customers, and vendors and appropriately address any allegations that are substantiated. Our community has grown out of a desire for acceptance and tolerance of all members of our community, and I will call upon The Ripcord to affirm their commitment to acceptance and tolerance.

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73 comments
BunnyOle
BunnyOle

For gods sake man, if its a white leather bar and they dont want you, go somewhere else.  CRAP, why do I have to listen to this bullshit?  You know DAMN good and well, there are BLACK clubs and they dont do subtle racism, they beat your ass.  SUCK IT UP.

Ianleffler
Ianleffler

I must say , being from Texas is like being in The Wild West! There are just a lot of really stupid people! It is all about Love man!!!Ian from Colorado Springs !

Houcockman
Houcockman

I find Tim's comments and allegation totally without merit.

Lets take what happened and look at the real facts.

I can not believe that he thinks that Don does not go out and search for contestants, that is what a Producer does. Don't blame the man for doing his job in trying to make sure he has contestants. When Clay ran, most of the community realized that he was going to win. He is handsome, fit and has worked his butt off raising money for YEARS in this community. I know Don tried to get contestants, but that year belonged to Clay and we all knew it.

As far as the poster damage, that has nothing to do with the contest but more about the stupidity of one person. Don't hold a whole community or race responsible for the actions of one dumb-ass.

As far as the question from the judge about color, that judge is from Denmark and has a very thick accent. I find it distasteful that Tim would basically make fun of someone because of where they are from. Kinda sounds racist on Tim's part to me. The question was in reference to the Leather Color Code because Tim came out in the first portion of the competition wearing full leather that had red trim on some pieces. The judge was obviously testing Tim's knowledge of the leather community and he failed miserably when he said that he doesn't really participate in leather. Question: WHY ARE YOU GOING FOR A LEATHER TITLE IN A LEATHER BAR THEN TIM?

Now Tim probably won the first portion which was basically Personal Appearance with all of his leather, it was the rest of the categories that cost him points.

The Q&A hurt him when he said that he doesn't participate in the leather community,

The Video Presentation: Each contestant presented great videos, but Fred's was based on comedy and Tim's was more informative about Thomas Street.  Each one had their own merits, but in the end, people want to be entertained and have fun when they come to a bar and contest, so Fred's easily won out.

Fundraising: Tim did some great work, but Fred demonstrated that there are other unique was to raise money. The fact that Fred had more support just from his facebook friends compared to Tim having to do four events that obviously didn't raise more money shows who carries more clout in the community.

It is true that Fred works for the Buyers Club and raises money for them. It is also true that he did that as part of his run for this title. There are no rules that says you can't raise money for your own charity.

The real difference would be personalities. Fred maintains a strict decorum. He doesn't believe in being vulgar and has always done whats right for the Houston community, Buyers Club is a charity that provides supplements to sick people with a huge focus on those with HIV/AIDS.  Fred and the Buyers Club has been in Houston for years and Fred has worked many circle in our community to help support his cause.

Unfortunately, all I have ever seen of Tim (and his partner) is them as strippers that will expose their private parts for anyone that will give them a dollar.  Personally, I don't feel that is Prime Choice material. Tim stepped up just in the last few months and started trying to raise charity money as nothing more than a shameless promotion to get a title.

Personally, I don't think race has anything to do with this.  Don Gill has been doing charity work in this community for over 20 years. I find it AMAZING that if he was a racist that this would be the first time that this would come to light. I have seen this man SERIOUSLY almost work himself to death. To have a "give me a dollar and you can play with it" stripper accuse such a wonderful man just because he is a sore loser and must use the color of his skin to try to steal a title is completely disgusting.

An interesting fact about this contest is that usually whenever someone comes back and competes after losing the previous year, they have won. This won't happen for Tim since he blew all credibility within the leather community.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

Here are the actual rules for those who would like to dissect them.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

MR.PRIME CHOICE TEXAS

 

 

           

 

 

Whatis Mr. Prime Choice Texas? It is one of the most prestigious titles that can bewon and held by any mature gay man in Texas.  The contest originated in 1981 when Mr. BenMoore was named the first Mr. Prime Choice.

 

 

Thetitle has, over the years, raises many needed dollars for Dallas, Galveston, & Houston charities. Therehave been three MPCT’s from the Dallas area and onefrom Galveston. We would verymuch like to see other cities and their MPCT winners represented on the Hall OfFame Plaque which is displayed at the Ripcord, Houston.

 

 

Althoughthe contest has evolved throughout the years, it is still a contest for 40 andover who want to make a difference. There are 4 judged categories. Appearance,Personality, and Attitude(question and answer), Fantasy Video, and Fundraising.In the appearance category you w ill be asked to dress and look your best inleather, Levi, uniform or formal attire. During the question and answer portionof the contest you may wish to have another “look” in which to appear onstage.  You will need to prepare a“fantasy video” (street legal/no frontal nudity) not to exceed 5 min. inlength.  This can be anything you choose.  Comedy, gay history, making a point, etc.During this segment you will a ppear on stage wearing your “fantasy wear” whileyour video is shown.  Finally, you willneed to raise money for any charity of your choice. You can begin doing thisJan. of that calendar year. The last opportunity you will have to add to yourfundraising total will be during your fantasy video presentation during whichany tips will go to your charity.

 

 

Appearance– 20pts.

 

Personalityand Attitude – 30pts.

 

FantasyVideo – 20pts.

 

Fundraising– 30pts.

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation. ~ Mark Twain

Kevin H.
Kevin H.

Oh the hypocrisy of it all!  Please allow me to offer a bit of insight to this situation. I have known Tim for QUITE A LONG TIME.  Rest assured that if he didnt feel there was an issue, that he would not have raised one. If the contest were fairly judged, orchestrated, and administered, this conversation would not be taking place.  Im always thoroughly amused at when someone brings up an issue of such severity, certain people are standing ready to discredit and disparage.  I heard many of the same arguments when MICHAEL GUICE uttered "f_____g  NI_____R" to a Black man exiting the Ripcord on September 6, 2010.  To some it wasnt considered racism...It was just considered Mike being Mike.  

I guess I shouldnt be too surprised at the negative reactions Ive been reading though. I mean I find it a bit curious that the only ones who are quick to attack Tim are in fact of Caucasian descent.  Coincidence?  Well I am not sure. I am only making commentary on what Ive been reading.  I mean I guess we could play "Uncle Tom" roles and just accept status quo, but the days of picking cotton, shining shoes, and being sprayed with fire hoses are long behind us.  Or are they ?  I have it on good authority from a prominent member of NLA that they have heard fairly NEGATIVE commentary against various ethnic groups being uttered when passing through George.  Oh, I should mention that the individual in question is White as to abolish and bias in that statement.  Chris, Im sorry but in a way your statements remind me VERY CLOSELY of someone you are very close to here in Houston. He too dismissed my claims of racism when Mike said what he said at the bar. You can take that for whatever its worth.  Im just a lil irritated that everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to what might be an actual problem within the community.

KTH

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

Kevin,

I could not agree with you more!!! The sad state of things is that there is some sort of discrimination in every aspect of our lives. There is discrimination against lesbians in the gay bars, there is descrimination against gays in the lesbian bars, there is discrimination against transgenders in both sets of bars and discrimination against gays and lesbian's in the transgender bars. There is discrimination based on race, sex, religion, sexual preference, height, weight and every other possible difference two humans can have between each other. This is not said as a way to dismiss it as status quo but rather as issues that need to be and must be addressed. We are all one human family and we must all work together and live and love one another.

I think that maybe the one's who have been quick to criticize Tim  have been of Caucasian descent because Tim launched an attack on what he sees as the White man using race as a reason for losing a contest and it was done in such a malicious and underhanded way as to require a response from the group that he attacked. He attacked these people based on race. Is that not also a form of racism?

I think any man being called a n....er, a fag, a kike, a cracker, a honkey or any other name used to demean that individual is wrong., and is a situation that needs to be corrected. If there were witnesses to the incident at the Ripcord on September 6, 2010 and if those witnesses came forward and reported the incident to the management of the Ripcord, then yes, absolutely, something should have been done. No one, at any point in this article, has actually claimed that racism and discrimination does not exist in our community. The rebuttal that has been written has been based on one situation and it is a situation that , and I may be wrong but I don't believe I am,  held no racial bias and that is the reason I am so up at arms and angry about this situation. I, myself, have been accused of being a racist when I know full well that I am not. You and others may not believe that and that is your right but the fact of it is that I harbor no ill will towards Tim or any other member of this community. I have been a member of this community for more than 20 years. I have seen Tim and his partner out many times and have had fun and friendly conversations with them as well as with yourself on the patio of the ripcord. Did I ever, at any point exhibit signs of racism. Would you have taken the time on a number of occasions to have those conversations with me if I had? I think probably not and in reverse, I would not have conversed with you either if I had felt that you were a racist. I don't condone those sort of actions from anyone. If someone that I am very close to is a racist, they have kept it well hidden from me, or maybe I have been naive in my association with them. I will not apologize for their actions nor for their attitude as it is their own to apologize for, not mine.

As has been pointed out previously in this thread, Tim and his partner both are attractive men, they are nice guys and fun to be around. Hell, I even supported Tim in his effort to raise money for this very event by performing at one of his shows. Unfortunately, his claims of racism on this occasion has left a very sour taste in my mouth. I wish no one ill will, I hope that Tim and his partner (and any man of any race) continue to be a valuable and active member, an asset to this community. This has been an issue and an incident that both sides need to learn from. As someone said earlier, a dialogue needs to be opened in the community regarding this issue but both sides have to accept some responsibility.

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

Tell me something Mr. Angelle, do you feel better now that you have stirred all this up? Do you have any care or concern for what you have done here? Yes, you made a point, we all got that. But...do you really have a clue?

See, the thing is, you entered a contest, a judged contest. A contest that you knew would be most likely judged by white men because there are very few men of color that actually participate in the leather community. You then lost a contest for nothing more than a title, a title that is supposed to support and raise money for various charities in the community. But you lost and your ego refuses to allow you to accept or admit that you simply lost the contest. There was no racism involved. There was no ulterior motive. You simply lost. The problem now is that you, all by yourself, have managed to do more harm in this community, by your claims of racism, than anyone I can think of in recent history. The people, company's and organizations that you have attacked are some of the very people that have worked their asses off in this community to help and support those in need of medical assistance, food, housing and a slew of other needs in this community. Organizations that have helped everyone. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to support these organizations and these very organizations have helped thousands of african american members of this community as much as they have helped thousands of whites, hispanics and other races in this community. The people you have attacked have raised money for Thomas Street Clinic (your chosen charity), they do toy drives every year at Christmas for the children of the Thomas Street Clinic. They have held food drives for the food bank at Thomas Street and Aids Foundation Houston. Thay have donated money to Legacy Community Health, a large portion of whose clientele is african american. They have donated money to housing and counseling for the youth of this community so that they might have a better tomorrow. They have donated to organizations such as body positive (provides nutritional and physical therapy for HIV+ individuals regardless of race), the assistance fund (paying for medication for HIV patients that can not afford them, including african americans and every other race) and the Houston Buyers Club who provides nutritional supplements to HIV+ individuals, regardless of race. They have donated their own money, their own time, their own efforts, they have donated themselves to making this a better community regardless of race, creed, religion or sexuality. They just wanted to help. The problem with all of this is, that because you lost a contest, a title, a little bit of recognition and apparently did not receive the personal validation that you felt you needed, you have chosen to yell RACISM from the highest mountain you could find. In so doing, you have not only damaged the people, company's, bars and organizations that welcomed you into this community 10 years ago, but you have damaged every other organization that their contributions have ever helped. Your claims of racism will effect the fundraising efforts of people like Don Gill who have spent a lifetime trying to help people no matter in they were white, black, brown, yellow, green or purple.

Tell me Tim Angelle, how does it feel to know that you personally, are responsible for possibly hindering the fund raising efforts of these people and these organization? How does it feel Tim Agnelle, to know that you may be the reason some man or woman, whether they be black or white, to not receive their medication or medical assistance because you have claimed racism thus effecting, who knows how many people that might have otherwise reached out to help but now don't want to have anything to do with an organization, even if they do assist people of all races, because you said that this organization or someone involved with it is a racist?

It is sad and unfortunate for you that you have taken something that hundreds and thousands of people have worked so hard over the years for, working to make our community a little better, to provide a little peace, to offer food and medical assistance where needed, you, Tim Angelle have done great damage and frankly....today I pray that you will find some peace in your actions because deep down in your heart, you know I speak the truth.

Oooraah
Oooraah

Very, very well said Christopher

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

Just for the record i was told by a bartender that works for the Ripcord that the Ripcord Bar owns the title Mr. Prime Choice Texas. It's a known fact Don Gill productions and the Ripcord Bar are  business associates..Mr. Prime Choice title is the only leather pageant in the Houston Gay commnunity that if won alllows the winner to compete in the annual International Mr. Leather competition in Chicago, IL which was recently held on May 27, 2011. 

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

Mr. Prime Choice has never led directly to IML, though it could. Any winner of any leather title may compete at IML if sponsored by a leather business. The winner of Mr. Leather Houston, a contest not owned by the Ripcord or produced by Don Gill, has thus far competed at Mr. Texas Leather and if he wins that competition goes on to compete at IML. Mr Leather Houston would be eligible to compete at IML whether he won Mr. Texas Leather or not or whether he even entered the Mr. Texas Leather competition or not. That you consistently get your facts wrong about contests--and that fact that you continue to call it a pagent--just further supports the claim that you lost because you don't understand the system--COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM YOUR RACE.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

You may be right about not knowing the system but what i did do was follow the rules that were given to me in the Prime Choice packet that i received. Also what this whole process has done is to let the next african-american gay male who is not familiar, and decides to run for Prime Choice  or any of the titles that you mention learn from this, by giving facts that were not included in the Prime Choice info that i received. This has open much needed dialogue and should be placed in the Prime Choice rules, and requirements so that a contestant can make an informed decision before he decides to run.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

Except that none of the things you complain about have been secret. Both you and Fred appear to have followed the rules. You have not yet added any facts--only expressed your personal misunderstandings (of what was clear to me when I ran 2 years before as an active member of the leatehr community).

Perhaps a better approach for ANYONE, regardless of race, who wants to run for Mr. Prime Choice should be to become familiar with the community first. Your attempt to educate about the Mr. Prime Choice process has been more of a failure than your attempt at the title.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

IN RESPONSE TO THE UPDATE SENT IN BY NOEL FREEMAN PRESIDENT OF GLBT! I never said on the night of the Prime Choice Pageant during the question and answer portion that i wasn't into leather. As you will notice they never said what offensive remarks that i said to the judges. The reason is i never said any offensive remarks to the judges. My partner and I love wearing leather and own plenty of it,  we participate in many of the leather events such as,  Night In Black Leather, LUEY Weekend, Misfits Ball, Mardi Gras Bus Trip to Galveston, and the Annual Ripcord Anniversary Party and also have been patroons of the Ripcord for 10yrs. It is unfortunate that this so called investigation,by Noel Freeman  which was done after the Houston Press Article was released has outright lied saying things that i have never said. You must also remember that i had long time friends, supporters, and acquaintances who were at the Ripcord the night of the Prime Choice Pageant. That can and are willing to vouch for what they witness that night. Also for my participation in the leather community and their events. It is obvious they are using tactics to deflect from the  issues that was exposed by the Houston Press Article.

Sincerely Tim Angelle

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

The events you list attending--other than happy hours--are all pretty much parties within the leather community. I, for one, do appreciate your attendance at these events.

However, I have not seen you at any of the other contests (Mr. Prime Choice, Mr. Leather Houston, or Boy of Montrose) or any of the fundraisers held by any of these contestants or winners in the last 4 years. I have not seen you at Fetish Night at the Ripcord. I have not seen you at the First Friday leather nights at the Ripcord. I have not seen you at a Firedancer Run. I have not seen you at Spankfest. I have not seen you at Spring Iniquity. I have not seen you at any of the carwashes put on by the leather clubs. I did not see you at the Mr. Texas Victory Party. I did not see you at any of the Nights in Black Leather prior to your announcing you were competing for Mr. Prime Choice. And being paid to go go dance at a bar (the same one I understand where your poster was defaced--not the Ripcord) during LUEY hardly counts as attending. I think that if you were regularly at these events, I would have noticed--you are rather charasmatic afterall.

As an active member of the leather community I attended these events. Through my attendance at these events I have gotten to know this year's judges of the Mr. Prime Choice contest. None of the them ever struck me as racist. What do you know about the judges or Don Gill upon which you can make a claim of racism, other than losing? If you had attended a Mr. Prime Choice contest previously, perhaps you would have known what type of video the judges would be looking for. Likewise, if you attended leather contests in the past, you would know that the Golden Girls question (as stupid as it might be) has become a standard leather title contest question, as are questions about colors. That a question along the lines of "What color would you be" could even be in the group of randomly chosen questions speaks more to the racial-blindness of the community than community racism.

I am not going to argue that Fred has great leather community credentials either, but he has not thrown them up as a defense. I have seen Fred at some of these events. In fact, it was at the Mr. Prime Choice contest in which I passed the title over to Clay a year ago at which I personally (not Don Gill) suggested to Fred that he compete for Mr. Prime Choice. I have encouraged many men, of different ethncities even, to compete for Mr. Prime Choice. That Don followed up with Fred after Fred expressed interest is what a good contest producer would do regardless of race.

When I competed unopposed I worked very hard to raise as much money as I could, partly because I knew that someone could walk in and donate their own money to a charity and potentially "buy" the title. I started in January, as the rules stipulate, and had my ad for my events in the LUEY program by their January deadline and my posters were up by the end of January. I made it so someone would have to drop at least $5,000 of their own money in order to be a competitive purchaser.

Prior to LUEY and each of my events I went to the various bars to rehang my posters because I knew they would get ripped down--that is just what happens. One of my posters at the BRB had my face scraped out of it--that was not only upsetting, it was actually scarey. I did not blame the bar, the contest producer, or the judges for the defacing of my poster. Yes, the scrawl on your poster was racist--I have not seen/heard anyone deny that. But to draw a line from the poster event to a bar in which the poster was not hung, the contest producers, or the judges as racist is nonsensical. You can say there is racism in the gay/Montrose/leather community and no one can realistically deny that claim. That does not mean that your loss was an act of racism.

I have seen you make claims of why you lost, but I have not really seen you make any claims as to why you should have won, other than it was "unfair." Are their specific reasons why you should have beat Fred? That may help your argument.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

Just wondering, why did you not compete in the two years prior when it was uncontested? Why wait until it looked like you were going to be the only constestant?

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

Not to toot my own horn but i could say that my partner and i are probably the most reconizabe black gay male faces, not including female impersonators in the Montrose community. I have helped many of  title holders in the Montrose community win thier titles through the years by voting and contributing  support, and they no who they are. So don't tell me that you and Don Gill were actively searching for contestants in 2009 or any year before that. You claim you know me and all of my charisma why didn't you seek me out. But instead you sought Fred Walters out. When you know that fundraising is largely based on live or lip-synced performances. Don Gill and Steve Carbone were at my fundraisers before Fred Walters entered the contest, and witness my performing talent and fundraising ability. Fred Walters has fought the good fight we all know this but he is not a live performer and you know this. Fred Walters has years of passive fundraising know how. I myself raised funds on ground level like most of Don Gill productions charities. I felt i could have been an asset bringing in a African-American crowd that you and Christopher Barr say that never attend your functions i merely wanted bridge the gap.

Sincerely Tim Angelle

future mr. white prime choice
future mr. white prime choice

The way I see it everyone should just call it what it is this should be called Mr White Prime Choice Texas after all the Houston gay community has always been separate. That's why we have Black Gay Pride, Pride which is really white gay pride, Latins celebrates Gay Fiesta which is held in San Antonio, TX. Don't let me get started on the pageants which include Mr. Gay Houston, Mr. Black Gay Houston, Mr. Latin Houston, and all we need to do is put Mr. or Miss in front of any title and add ethnicity which shows how separate we are as gays. Please take note white pageants which is what they really are don't have to have their ethnicity on blast to be legitimate.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

I didn't find out about the contest until 3-19-11 when i saw the poster on the bulletin board in the restroom at George Bar. According to the rules that i received the fundraising starts in January.  Don Gill Productions,  Black Hawk Leather, and the Ripcord Bar were late getting the posters out. The same could be asked of Fred Walters he didn't enter until 4-1-11.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

Again, familiarity with the contest or the leather community would have allowed you to begin your campaign earlier. My event posters were up before the announcement of the contest when I competed--that is what being a active and knowledgable member of the community, as opposed to a stand and model member entails.

I can't ask Fred why he waited until seeing that their would be no competition, unless you consider yourself no competition.

Zipp
Zipp

Damn, if it's true that Mr. Gill made that Jesse Jackson comment, he needs to get kicked in the balls. Tim is quite possibly the sexiest man in the community and it sucks that this Walters fellow can come in and disrespect the community with his racist stupidity. If anyone needs to go home, it's him.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

So if I find Fred sexier than Tim, does that make me racist?

Kevin H.
Kevin H.

So racism doesnt exist in the community?  Is that what Im reading from some of you?  Then I ask all those who read this to re-visit this letter I wrote in September regarding an ugly incident at the Ripcord....One for which I only received an apology from the former manager and NEVER from the individual who perpetrated the actual offense!

Good Evening, I'm not sure to whom I should address this, but I do know that is a serious issue that disturbs me and might concern others within the community. What I am about to recount actually did happen and in no way is embellished or fabricated.  Ill swear to it under oath or written statement if necessary and I do have a witness to the event.  I'm just writing this to alert people as to where their money might be going - and not fully appreciated.   The event in question occurred  on Monday, September 6, 2010 - Labor Day.  I was winding down from a day of socializing with friends all day and enjoying my final cocktails at the Ripcord bar.  I was sitting at the south end of the bar near the bartender James and the bartender Michael Guice was tending the north end of the bar.  James had just poured me a drink and I began to consume it while chatting with a buddy of mine next to me.  Around 10:30 in the evening, an African American man walked into the bar from the patio with a light cigarette.  Now obviously there is no cigarette smoking allowed in the bars here in Houston.  The gentleman most likely just light it obliviously and innocently without intent to ignore the rules. Its quite possible that he was just visiting Houston and is from a city where smoking in bars is still quite legal.  Michael told him that he couldn't be in the bar with a light cigarette.  The gentleman seemed apologetic and attempted to make a hasty exit through the door on the north side between the stage and the pool table.  He asked if he could leave through the door and Michael instructed him to exit through the front door.   Well I didn't give much thought to any of this and continued to enjoy my cocktail and the remainder of the evening.  A few seconds passed by and I heard Michael exclaim, "Hey man, get outta here with that light cigarette!".  I gather the gentleman had lingered in a the foyer a moment or two longer than necessary to exit the bar. Again, no big issue and the night continued.  A few seconds later Michael utters under his breath but quite audibly "FUCKING NIGGER!" 

  I guess its at this point I should mention that I too am African American and that Ive been a patron of this bar for 15 years.  I instantly told Michael I heard that and was visibly upset and offended by the remark.  He showed no remorse or regret for his transgression and didn't even try to defend himself.  I asked him if his commentary would have been as vehemently distasteful if the man in question had been of another race or ethnic background? He had nothing to say and the bartender James tried to explain the difference in class levels within different ethnic groups, i.e. Blacks/Niggers, Hispanic/Wetbacks, Jews/Kikes, etc.  I don't believe that James feels the same way Michael does but I was a bit stunned to hear James attempt to justify what Michael said. I seethed in the bar for a few minutes, finished my cocktail, left and have not been back since that night.   I cant tell anyone else where or how to spend their money, but I must say that such behavior was a horrible affront to me as a Black man and as a customer of such faithful longevity. I have brought NUMEROUS people to that bar both local and visiting and have recommended it to many more.  I sat down and calculated that in the last 5 years alone I have spent close to $12,000 in that bar - and Ive been going there for 15.  That's $12,000 I could have spent in other establishments where such attitude isnt accepted not tolerated.   I just wanted to shed some light on a rather ugly situation.  I'm not here to dissuade anyone else from visiting the Ripcord. I know the other bartenders need to make a living and support themselves like anyone else. I'm only recounting the abominable racially charged outburst by the bartender Michael.  Whatever people decide to do with this after reading it is up to them.  I just know that for me, it will be quite a long before I return to the Ripcord - if ever at all.  Kevin T. Henry 

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

Kevin,

I, for one, would never presume to claim that racism does not exist in our community. Unfortunately it is a sad and despicable part of our society. The only way it will ever be overcome is to stop the hate, on both sides, and learn to live and love together as one human race. I'm sure that their are those that would consider me to be naive and ignorant for that statement. I, unfortunately, know many people who are racist, bigoted and hypocritical. I, myself, have been subject to prejudice both for sexuality and race as a gay white male, however I do not hold an entire race at fault for what happened to me but rather the individual that propagated the act.. Hate, prejudice and discrimination crosses all boundaries and all walks of life.

While the defacing of Mr. Angelle's poster is a sad and disgusting example of that, I would hope that (and I can't speak for them as I do not know all the circumstance, however) had the promoters and organizers of this event been aware of this poster (at the time, not after the fact) that they would have removed it. However, knowing some of the people involved and being an active member of both the gay and leather community, I DO NOT feel that the operation and promotion of the contest itself was in any way racially motivated.

Maybe I am naive and maybe I just choose to see the good in people rather than looking for  ill motivation behind every action, every choice and every situation, whether good or bad, in my life.

Sincerely,Christopher Barr

Brock
Brock

Jesus, would I hate to be stuck in Texas.

NeenerNeener
NeenerNeener

Jesus would hate to be stuck reading the Houston Press.

Hillray
Hillray

GLBT people are no better or worse than any other group of people and deserve the same rights as others as well. Anyone who thinks there is no racism in our community is simply wrong. When I was secretary of Houston NAACP at age 18, I was called N______Lover in Houston gay bars and when in 1964 my black friends and I went into the Off Main (later known as The Exile) to "sit in" until served we broke the segregation but did not end the racism. No body pays any attention to old white guys like me so I am often within ear shot of the jokes and the slurs. It seems to be getting better but I do not doubt that in any numbers game like a Prime Choice contest, race plays a role but that could work both ways and has in other circles.

acolvin
acolvin

Its naive for anyone to think discrimination on various levels doesn't exist in the LGBT community, just as it exists in racially, politically, and other defined communities. Best way to avoid it, is to avoid those activities where it's so widespread. That's easier than one might think. 

kevin77018
kevin77018

I need to express a complete disgust when people who loose a contest, happen to be of a given ethnicity,  and use that ethnicity as an excuse for loosing rather than accepting that THEY didn't win based on THEIR OWN INADEQUACIES.....  I don't care if you are white, black, brown, yellow, tan, red, or even purple... You lost the contest and it wasn't based on your race.  Deal with it and STFU.......

Larry Lingle
Larry Lingle

"Loosing" is as in loosening your pants.  I strongly suspect you meant to say "losing". 

kevin77018
kevin77018

Larry, please understand that an extra key stroke of the same letter is not a big deal since you did get what I meant... But I would guess losing a contest, or even worse a business, a person would be sensitive to the spelling of the word losing.....  The guy in the article is obviously sensitive to the spelling of it as well since he is a loser...

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

Frankly, I find this article disgusting and despicable!!!There are a number of inconsistencies in this story that indicates that the author and Mr Angelle are the ones guilty of promoting racism in the GLBT community and this article reeks of sour grapes!

A couple of points need to be made in that obviously neither Mr. Angelle nor the author of this article did any sort of real research into their accusations...

1. Any charity fund raising organization of merit that is handling "cash" requires that their be multiple checks for accuracy in the handling of said cash most of which require two to three counters and multiple signatures to ensure that there are no discrepancies. As for the accusation that Mr. Walters "may have" bought his way into the title is ridiculous. Anyone with any sense at all would recognize the fact that any online transaction results in some sort of paper trail or tracking mechanism. Who's to say that Mr. Angelle did not salt the audience at his various shows with his own money to appear as to raise more than the audience would have  provided on it's own. (He made the accusation so this is just a hypothetical statement). Additionally, where in the rules of the contest did it state that the contestant could NOT, in fact, contribute their own money to their fund raising efforts?

2. Apparently the author of this article nor Mr. Angelle neither read nor fully understood the rules of the competition... a. one of the categories was question and answer in which the contestant was supposed to     display some knowledge of the leather community. Mr. Angelle's response seemingly showed a lack of knowledge of leather play and he was heard to say that his choice of "colors" was more a fashion statement rather than any representation of his knowledge of the leather "colors" (or hanky code). b. another catagory of the contest was a "fantasy video". Mr. Walters created just exactly that filled with humor and references to leather play, where as Mr. Angelle's video was nothing more than an extended infomercial for his chosen charity. Although his video was exceptional in it's own right and was well produced and spoken, it was NOT what was asked for as part of the contest.

And finally, as far as Mr. Angelle's complaint that Mr. Gill was seeking out other competitors, anyone that know's anything about promoting an event of this type know's that the more competitors you get, the more attendees to the event will show. The event itself was a fundraiser as much as the any show or other attempt at fundraising. Mr. Gill promotes this community and his events and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this community over the years. He has always sought out additional participants in his events, no matter who was competing.

I personally feel that this news paper, this author and Mr. Angelle owe Mr. Gill, the Mr. Prime Choice contest and the GLBT community at large, an apology for casting such dispersions and once again yelling racism when they did not get what they wanted.

But this is all just an opinion of my own.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

In response to your statement that i did not know have knowledge of leather play and leather code is untrue. The question that was asked of me was very vague and non-specific the questions was "If you were a color which color would you be"? The judge  did  not ask me  a specific question on hanky code or flagging colors. The question that was asked of Fred Walters was "If you were one of the Golden Girls which one would you be referring to the TV series which has nothing to do with leather code or leather play. So how does that make Fred Walters anymore knowledgeable of leather code than me. The rules for the fantasy video were as follows and i quote directly from the Mr. Prime Choice Rules that were given to me "You will need to prepare a "fantasy video" (street legal/ no frontal nudity) not to exceed 5 min. In length. This can be anything you choose. Comedy, gay history, making a point, etc.I choose to make a point for my fantasy video. I also contacted Steve Carbone Don Gill productions right hand man for the Prime Choice Pagent and explain my concept to him realizing that this had never been done for fantasy video and he said that would be fine i could do my video anyway i choose to. I will posting the rules in it's entirity asap so that there is no confusion of my understanding of them.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

You choose to create a fantasy video that was not what the judges wanted. Good for you! Okay you made a point, but it would seem that you failed to understand the concept of "fantasy."

CZD
CZD

Well said, Mr. Barr.  As deplorable as the defacing of Mr. Angelle's poster is, it is an indication of one person's racism, not of racism within Mr. Prime Choice.  I was in the audience during the contest, and Mr. Walters was very popular with the crowd.  Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Kelvin Okuns
Kelvin Okuns

You Mr Barr is the creator and “advancesor” of this issue.  I have not seen your apology for his Prints being defaced after all you are the organizer of this competition and must take responsibility for what happened to Angelle; you have selected to ignore this as a non-issue.  This only tells me that he is more believable than you are where this issue is concernedYour defense Sir only makes this worse than it should be and you look worse to the general community. Well except your supporters.. Sir, one of the qualities of a good leader is to position him/herself to take some responsibility

Christopher Barr
Christopher Barr

Mr. Okuns, please get your facts straight. I did not apologize for his prints being defaced as I was not the one who defaced them. I am sorry that he had to go through that as it is not right on any level for anyone to have something defaced in any manner for any reason.

Second off, I am not an organizer of this event, rather I am an observer of the event who actually read the rules of the contest and actually observed what took place at the contest.

No one here is defending racism, rather, you and others like you are using it as a crutch. I find that just as despicable as racism itself. I find it more despicable that you sir, are in fact the epitome of racism by yelling race against anyone who is not of the same color as yourself and dares to disagree with your point of view.

Noel Freeman
Noel Freeman

Speaking of the Thomas Street Clinic, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus is collecting clothing donations at our next meeting, this Wednesday, June 1st to benefit Thomas Street clients.  Bring your items at 6:30 to the Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama.

Daniel Garza
Daniel Garza

If in fact this is the way it happened, shame on Don Gill and anyone who went along with it. Anyone who thinks that there is not racism in the Gay community, just like any part of the country must be living well, in an all White community. I'm Hispanic and have seen it!

But I agree with Mr. Oaklander, Montrose should be the last place to be discriminated against but its gonna happen.

I think Tim Angelle is a great example of what Mr. Prime Choice is called to represent. Too bad that Mr. Gill didn't see that.

Congratulations, Mr. Angelle for all your hard work. Good Vibe and blessings to you for your contribution to the Thomas Street Clinic Food Program.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

To think that there is not racism in Montrose or the gay community is crazy and I have not heard ANYONE claim that there isn't racism in the gay community and the Montrose. That is not the same as saying that there was racism in the Mr. Prime Choice contest.

As a Mr. Prime Choice, I think Tim has made himself a horrible example of Mr. Pime Choice. He has shown himself to be immature and petty--these are not the triats that mark the dignity of Mr. Prime Choice. He has consistently complained about being treated unfairly when his treatment was specifically within the stated rules. His complaints are grounded in HIS MISUNDERSTANDING of the rules, not in the application of the rules. Being a whiney bitch who claims to be a part of the leather community by hanging out in the bar in the afternoons BUT without having attended a singular previous leather competiton at the Ripcord or attending other nightitme leather events, except perhaps LUEY, is not a good example of a Mr. Prime Choice.

Refrain your shame of Don Gill until you hear more than a whiney bitch's side of the story.

Tim Angelle
Tim Angelle

Hi Greg  up until this point no one has attacked my character nor called me names in your words "whiney bitch" since you want to go there let's! Since you think i am such a horrible, immature,and petty example of Mr. Prime Choice do your actions at last year's passing of the title to  Clay Hardy that you know  was given to him. Steve Carbone a former Mr. Prime Choice himself told me that you were so drunk and refuse to give him the mic after you had ramble on about stepping down. He said that you proceded to make verbal threats and followed up on them when his back was turned you shoved a bar stool so hard in his back which caused him to hit the floor at the Ripcord Bar. Then you continued to rant to in your words according to Steve "I'm gonna get even with you" over and over again until they had to carry you out of the Ripcord Bar. You were banned from the bar until this year's contest when Don Gill insisted that you attend. Do you think these are the traits that mark  the dignity and maturity  of what  Mr. Prime Choice should represent?

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

By the way, you initiated the character assassination when you labeled my leather brothers--without base or foundation--as racist.

Primechoicetx09
Primechoicetx09

Tim, again you show your ignorance of the contest and its history. I was the guy who succeeded Greg; I was between Greg and Clay. Good luck in finding something that can compromise my character or integrity.

Your campaign of misinformation continues to erode your credibility.

kevin77018
kevin77018

Daniel, I've experienced racism both from black against white, and Hispanic against white... So lets not imply that racism comes ONLY from the white community... The issue here is a guy that will not accept he didn't excel over Fred and ants to blame others for his  lack of what ever it take to win the contest.  Sure, he did good as his effort did help the community.  But he lost all respect from me by claiming the race card... That is so old and really propagates racism by implying that all white, Hispanic, or purple people are out to get him....

Kelvin Okuns
Kelvin Okuns

I would like to see if you will claim the homophobia card when you are bullied by the straight community and called a fag or you have your picture defaced with the word "FAG"... Jeez you have more than enough proof that there was elements of racism...  well as expected,  I didn't expect less from you...

Larry Lingle
Larry Lingle

Kevin, really, so you flaunt the white racism card.  Have you felt the sting of racism at the hands of a black organization or an Hispanic organization?  I seriously doubt that, just as I seriously doubt that the Klan has been stung by racism.

IntelligentYankee
IntelligentYankee

Kevin, your spelling and grammar are all phukked up for you to be the kid of a school superintendent (skool soup, in case you can't read, either).

Your poor puncutation and grammar greatly diminish your point. 

kevin77018
kevin77018

Larry... No faulting of anything here, dude... telling it like it is and not using it as an excuses for things I may not have been best at like this jerk....  As for feeling the stink, Mr Lingle.. YES, my father had to integrate schools back in the 60's/70's (he was a hired a s a superintendent and fed courts ordered it) and the organized groups came at ups...  Did I use there BS to whine that I didn't win a contest? NO and I didn't here.... The guy in the article did and there was no reason for it.....  So, Mr Lingle, don't try to claim that racism does not exist within either the Black, or Brown communities as you did.  It does..

Derp
Derp

If you are going to hold up the Klan as an example of white people together, can I hold up Jeremiah Wright's church of God Damn AmeriKKKa as an example of black muslims nationalists pretending to be Christians without mentioning Jesus?

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