Sunday, August 14, 2016

I'm The Caucus' 2016 John Paul Barnich Award Winner!

I don't do what I do activism wise just for awards, it's to help advance human rights for all.  But it definitely is nice when people think so highly of your work and what you do that you get nominated for them, and occasionally win a few.

 It's even nicer when the people in your hometown recognize and value your work on their behalf.

The Houston GLBT Caucus, one of the oldest TBLGQ organizations in the southern US, has for the last several years hosted their Equality Brunch at various locations around the city.  

It is a fundraiser for the organization that we in the Houston LGBTQ community and our allies get to break bread, spend quality time with each other and share a delicious meal.

At the Equality Brunch there are several awards given out by the Houston LGBT Caucus to honor members of our community.  Those awards are the Eleanor Tinsley Award, which goes to a distinguished community ally, the Don Hrachovy Award for the most distinguished LGBT Caucus member, the Presidents Award for distinguished Houston community leadership, the John Paul Barnich Award for justice for the LGBT community, and the Tim Brookover Award for lifetime achievement.

This will be the 8th annual edition of the Equality Brunch, and it is being held deep in the heart of the Montrose gayborhood this year at the La Colombe d'Or Hotel's Grand Salon

I'm pleased and proud to announce that when this 8th annual edition is held next month, I will be receiving the 2016 John Paul Barnich Award!

Judge John Paul Barnich was an attorney and a trailblazing leader in our community who was the first openly gay person appointed to become a municipal judge here and in the state of Texas.

He received that historic appointment from Mayor Lee Brown in 1999, and served on the municipal bench until illness forced him to resign in October 2007.   Barnich was also chairman of the Houston AIDS Foundation board, and created in partnership with the FBI the criminal justice program at Waltrip High School that evolved to become HISD's High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

He passed away at age 63 from diabetes complications in 2009.

There have been some amazing people and advocates in our Houston community who have preceded me in receiving this award like John Nechman (2010), Noel Freeman (2014) and Brad Pritchett (2015).

I'm not the first trans Houstonian to win the John Paul Barnich Award.  Lou Weaver won it in 2013, and I'm honored to be joining the distinguished ranks of the winners of this award.

Thank you to the LGBT Caucus for bestowing me with this honor, and for those of you who will be attending the Equality Brunch, see y'all at La Colombe d'Or on September 25.

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