Category Archives: Unidos Con GLBT

That Hateful Campaign Letter

I’ve been reading various FB and blog posts from members and allies of the LGBT Community in response to a hateful campaign letter in support of Keryl Douglas for Democratic Party Chair by a group of preachers. The letter attacked the LGBT Community in various ways utilizing what looked like right-wing-created complaints about any given minority group. I agree with my former neighbor Egberto Willies:

If one simply replaced the word Gay with Black it would be considered the most racist snippet and would receive news coverage and likely destroy the career of any preacher that had the gall to write it.

Or Latino. Or Asian. Or Women.

I’ve been quite honest from the get-go. I support Lane Lewis for Harris County Democratic Party Chair. Whether I have agreed or disagreed with Lane on anything, he’s been open-minded and willing to discuss. He has an open door to anyone wanting to work for the betterment of the Democratic Party. I can say without reservation that my support for Lane continues.

That said, I would hope that Keryl Douglas rejects this endorsement from anti-LGBT preachers. That this occurs as we are less than two months away from the Democratic Primary is very disturbing. The threat of a Party Chair supported by hateful individuals is something we should fight against. No minority or underrepresented groups has the right to define who has civil rights and who does not. When one group is attacked, we are all attacked and we must all defend against the hate.

GLBT Political Caucus response.

Pastor’s Request Shows Right-Wing Hypocrisy

So, there’s this right-wing preacherman demanding that our Mayor Annise Parker resign because she supports same-sex marriage. Citing the Constitution, the bigoted preacherman stated that Parker is violating the Constitution by wanting same-sex marriage.

OK. Here’s the hypocrisy. This preacherman’s church is hosting the Harris County Republican Party’s convention. This is the same party that has consistently violated the Constitution by pushing a hate-based agenda that includes voter intimidation, violation of voting rights, violation of women’s rights, etc. Heck, they even want to push it so that they do away with certain amendments so that they can expand the hate–while pushing said hate.

The preacherman has a right to be a bigot under the Constitution. The fact that the Republicans are holding a convention there set off a bunch of red flags for me regarding partisan politics from the pulpit. And if it’s a rental agreement, the fact that money would be exchanged says even more about these people who use religion as a basis for bigotry–not to mention partisan agenda-setting.

There’s no doubt the bigotry will continue. Perhaps the rest of us can just pray away the hate…and vote!

Let’s Support My Friend, Tim

This Sunday, February 12 at Noon, the Bethel United Church of Christ (1107 Shepherd) will be where we all can help my friend, Tim Brookover.

Tim is the President of the Houston GLBT Community Center and is battling cancer, while remaining as energetic in his work in the GLBT community.

the people of his long-time church home have decided to help. Bethel United Church of Christ (1107 Shepherd) will host a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for Brookover’s expenses this Sunday, Feb. 12, at noon. Ticket’s are $10 and include beverages and speghetti. RSVP via facebook.

Tim has also been a source of comfort and support to my family, as well as other close friends, after the loss of GLBT activist Mike Kelley. So, when I saw that his church and friends were holding this event, I decided to do my part to spread the word a bit further.

So, let’s show Tim how much we appreciate his work!

LGBT and Community Protests Rodriguez at HISD

A small, but vocal group of community members held a protest outside of the HISD headquarters calling out HISD Board member Manuel Rodriguez for an anti-LGBT campaign flyer attacking his opponent, Ramiro Fonseca.

Rodriguez got just enough votes to seem like the winner on Tuesday night, and Fonseca is awaiting the canvassing of the votes before making any decisions on which direction to take.

Organized by activist Mike Pomeroy, representatives of the GLBT Caucus, Stonewall Dems, Young Democrats, HISD students, and vocal members from the Latino community came together to voice their displeasure regarding Rodriguez’s desperate tactic.

Rodriguez released what he called an apology, but for those in the protest, it was too little too late. Citing  that the flyers were being delivered house-to-house, as well as at polling locations on election day, some felt the apology was empty.

The Chron had more from inside the meeting:

Inside the board meeting, Rodriguez did not address the campaign ad controversy during the open comment period for trustees. But his colleagues, trustees Anna Eastman and Juliet Stipeche did, without mentioning Rodriguez or the ad.

Stipeche read a list of names of children who committed suicide after being bullied.

“Living by the golden rule, we do not bully and we do not judge others for who they are,” Stipeche said, drawing a standing ovation from some in the audience.

And then this.

UPDATE (7:45 p.m.): After hearing from several impassioned speakers who called Rodriguez’s campaign ad unethical, the HISD trustees voted unanimously to work on revising their own ethics policy to forbid discrimination based on sexuality.

Trustee Anna Eastman proposed the revision. Rodriguez voted in favor of the change but did not make any comments.

Trustee Carol Mims Galloway joined her colleagues, Eastman and Stipeche, in condemning Rodriguez’s ad. Galloway said she was apologizing on Rodriguez’s behalf. She said she believed he supported the district’s anti-discrimination policy. “But I guess when it comes to politics, people forget,” Galloway added.

Rodriguez sure earned himself all of this. Galloway is correct, though. Politicians are usually immune after using hateful language, whether it is toward the LGBT community, the Latino or immigrant community, etc. It seems the politicians easily separate things because it’s just politics, as the Republican presidential debates have exhibited. This needs to change.

Back To Work She Goes: Citizenship Week

Mayor Annise Parker has proclaimed November 13 thru 19 as Citizenship Week.

Mayor Annise Parker is urging Houstonians to participate in the City of Houston’s Third Annual Citizenship Week. This year’s observance runs November 13-19 and will feature more than 180 events and activities across the city celebrating what it means to be a Houstonian, including student poetry contests, art exhibitions, citizenship workshops, discussions about Houston’s history, and other events and performances representing many culturally-diverse communities.

“We just completed the most important act of civic engagement and citizenship with yesterday’s election,” said Mayor Parker.  “Unfortunately, this right is often taken for granted.  With that in mind, I hope all Houstonians will renew their citizenship commitment by participating in Citizenship Week.”

You can check out all the information about Citizenship Week here. What’s it all about?

What We Are Celebrating

  • Citizenship: Greater awareness of what it means to be a citizen in order to foster positive, active civic engagement
  • Diversity: Underscoring of the City’s diverse ethnic, immigration, cultural, professional and socioeconomic communities to support social cohesion, secure and vibrant neighborhoods, productive workplaces and healthy communities
  • Global Houston: Highlighting the City as a global, inclusive, vibrant place uniquely-positioned and highly attractive to do international business in order to support its economic growth and health and foster increased work opportunities for our diverse populations
  • Fellowship: Providing opportunities for community-driven events representing every segment of City life to support our City’s neighbors getting to know each other better for harmony, cooperation and a sense of citizen stewardship towards one another and the City as our home and work space
Here’s a link (PDF) to events in which you can participate. 

LGBT Trailblazers Honored at Brunch

Six trailblazers in the LGBT community were honored today by the Harris County Democratic Party at a brunch held at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Houston. Emceed by activist Fiona Dawson, the brunch also served as a family reunion of sorts bringing together a diversity of activists from allied constituencies.

Throughout the morning it was difficult to ignore that 2012 is just around the corner as incumbent Democratic judges were working the room and meeting with Democratic loyalists who also serve as the first signers of their candidate petitions. As each trailblazer was honored, there was little doubt that victory in 2012 will occur through a united front which looked like the diversity in the hall.

Serving as keynote speaker for the event was Dennis Coleman, executive director of Equality Texas, a nonpartisan organization which lobbied the Texas Legislature on various issues affecting the LGBT community. Coleman asked the question:  Are you a participant? Or a Spectator? He stated the honorees were obviously participants who did not stand by and just let things happen, and that they have given hope to a new generation of LGBT youth to become someone. Stating that his own activism was not planned out for him, he got involved because, “if you only take and not give, you waste talent.”

“Just because we have these trailblazers,” said Coleman, “does not mean there are not more trails to blaze.” Ending his speech by telling those in attendance to do three things:  (1) Visit your legislators and find out where they stand on GLBT rights;  (2) Join Equality Texas; and (3) VOTE!

The honorees included Mayor Annise Parker, who accepted the honor by video as she was serving the public at various events today. Mayor Parker stated that if we engage young people, giving them the opportunity to campaign, that they will remain active in the community. Of those being honored, the Mayor stated that none had lost their commitment, and in her case, it began as a volunteer on a local city council campaign. The Mayor’s son accepted the award stating of his Mayor Mom, “The best is yet to come.”

Judge Steven Kirkland took his time to honor his 2008 (and 2012) teammates, the Democratic judges who were in the room. “You see the face of Harris County,” in our judges, Judge Kirkland Stated. City Councilmember Sue Lovell stated that the community has somewhat gotten to the “equality” level as the community has elected a mayor of a major city, many have started families, and that the community must move from equality to victory–looking at the victories, figuring out how to sustain them.

Judge Phyllis Frye is the first out transgendered person to serve as a judge.  While crediting many others in the community, she thanked people of color for embracing her in her legal career as they knew more about being judged than most other people.

Linda Morales was honored for her work in the community, as well as in the labor movement. An activist in the Chicana/0 movement, one particular point which made me proud was her leadership and involvement in the Mexican American Democrats. Her work in AIDS activism was also recognized. Finally, Judge John Paul Barnich was recognized posthumously and emcee Dawson referenced a statement Judge Frye made of Barnich after his passing, “John Paul broke the glass ceiling for out-of-the-closet GLBT judges in Harris County, and he was a sweet person to know.”

There was also a special recognition of “Everyday Trailblazers,” who live lives everyday, working and raising families. Kendall Scudder read a resolution honoring Paul and Nash and their daughter Jenay (photo below).

It definitely was a memorable brunch which served as an unofficial kick-off for the political season. From now on, we’ve got the 2011 elections to finish, and a 2012 for which to plan. And I’m pretty sure all of us can use the hard work performed by the honorees as an example of what we must do to accomplish victory.

Thanks to Robert Shipman and Brad Pritchett for organizing such a great event, to all the sponsors and hosts, and especially all those who attended.

(Photos by Francisco Valle)

Just Go, Man…

Well, by now you’ve heard of the Democratic County Chair from SA who attacked our friends in the GLBT Community. I won’t bother rehashing his commentary which started it all since it is THAT offensive, but when I first heard of it, all I could say was, “Pinche Mexicano, ¿Que se cree?”

Given the opportunity to explain himself, perhaps apologize, or just quit, he was defiant and even decided to sling some more pendejez.

“They have infiltrated the Bexar County party much like termites infiltrate your house, and they’re trying to destroy what has been around a long time,” he said.

You know, not too long ago another Democrat by the name of Dolph Briscoe (et, al) was slinging stuff like this against Chicanos in South Texas. No, not many stood up to defend us, and it hurt, and we learned from it (and so did the Democratic Party). You don’t kick a group targeted by the right wing around. You defend it, embrace it, and with a lot of work, you can win elections together.

There is no time for pendejadas within the Democratic Party at any level. I agree with Senator Van de Putte when she says:

Make no mistake – the divisiveness you have caused is no simple family squabble, which we Democrats often have, and even at times relish. Rather, your behavior has caused irreparable harm, from which it is already too late for any future attempt at atonement on your part to repair.

If we wanted hateful Republican commentary within our political party, well, we’d become Republicans.

OutSmart Covers HISD-8 Candidate Juliet Stipeche

Brandon Wolf at OutSmart provides us a very good article and interview on candidate for Houston ISD JULIET STIPECHE. Give it a read!

Join the Juliet Stipeche Campaign

Phone Banking – Seven Days a Week
Juliet Stipeche’s campaign office is at 7049 Lawndale in between Wayside and 75th Street.
Phone banking goes on every day between 2 and 8 p.m.
Monday–Friday, 10–6 on Saturday and 1–6 on Sunday.

Houston GLBT Political Caucus – Montrose Block Walking
Sunday, November 14, 2010 • 3 p.m.–5 p.m.
Caucus Headquarters: 1124 West Gray, Houston, Texas 77006

Important Dates:

Early Voting Dates:   November 18–24 (7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., including Saturday and Sunday)

Early Voting Locations:

Austin High School – 1700 Dumble, Houston, TX 77023
Furr High School – 520 Mercury, Houston 77013
Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center — 1101 Taft, Houston, TX 77019
West Gray Adaptive Recreation Center — 1475 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019

Election Day:   Tuesday, November 30

A complete list of polling locations is here (.pdf).

Anyone with an application for ballot by mail can send it to:

Houston ISD Run-Off Election
P.O. Box 924287
Houston, TX 77292

To request an application for ballot by mail, please call 713-556-6121.

DC Celebrates National Coming Out Day

I’ll be attending the National Coming Out Day Celebration tonight to support the cause. And to celebrate online, I’d like to display my “older brother” Mike Kelley’s quilt-work which honors the LGBT cause.

For more information on Mike’s work, visit:

Gutierrez and Polis Announce Alliance of CIR and LGBT Advocates

Today, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D) IL and Jared Polis (D) CO announced an alliance between immigration and LGBT advocates. Ben Smith wrote in Politico about the alliance.

A guiding principle of American immigration law is “family reunification,” and the system for sponsoring wives and husbands for visas works smoothly and rapidly — enough so that it’s subject to a lot of abuse. But same-sex partners of different nationalities simply have no legal path at all to live together legally in this country. It is (as I wrote about once a long time ago) probably the single most dramatic difference between the rights of married people and same-sex couples.

There’s long been legislation in Congress aimed at addressing this, though the combination of gay rights and easing immigration restrictions has pretty much guaranteed that it went nowhere. If and when immigration reform moves, however, Gutierrez’s support for including gays and lesbians could be important.

DosCentavos has been writing about a stronger alliance between Latinos and CIR advocates with the LGBT community because quite often both have been told to “hurry up and wait.”  It has been evident with comprehensive immigration reform and with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

While we are all hopeful for a vote on DADT this week, the work must continue to ensure justice for families.