Monday, April 22, 2013

In The House At The 21st Annual Houston Unity Banquet

Photo: The Texas 'Trans 100' @ Houston Unity Banquet!

Myself, Monica Roberts, Katy Stewart, Judge Phyllis Frye...The 21st annual Houston Unity Banquet was held at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel April 20 to another diverse capacity crowd.

The program for the event featured Tye West doing a spoken word poem and Dr. Susan Stryker as the keynote speaker.

Had a nice mix of trans community members from here and around the state, our allies and politicians in the room this weekend breaking bread with the Houston trans community along with a nice goodie bag with the Houston trans community logo on it to take home. 

It was emceed this year by LA's and the Task Force's Trystan Reese, and Texas state rep Garnet Coleman was in the house to break down legislative developments in Austin.  We had HISD board member Juliet Stipeche, Houston City Councilmember Mike Laster and several judges in the room as well along with Equality Texas' Daniel Williams and Houston City Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool.   

Some of the other notable faces in the banquet crowd were Precinct 1 constable Alan Rosen,  Ann Harris Bennett, Project GRAD's Ramiro Fonseca, and District 7 congressional candidate Lissa Squires.   

There were some nice door prizes donated such as tickets to the Houston symphony and ballet, men's and women's watches from I.W. Marks Jewelers and a dinner certificate at Niko Niko's just to name a few of the items that the winning ticket holders had a chance to choose from. 

And darn it, I was an agonizing three numbers away during one ticket drawing of claiming one of those prizes.

We also had the interesting occurrence of all four Texas members of the Trans 100 List in the same space since the list was unveiled back on March 31 and subsequently published..

In addition to dinner the Houston transgender community awards were handed out prior to Dr. Stryker's inspiring speech.

The Champion Award went to Becca Keo

Champions Award went to Lesbian Health Initiative

The Dee McKellar Award went to Katy Stewart

Horizon Award to Dana Hinton

The Brenda Thomas Award to Dallas' Carter Brown 

And this year's Lifetime Achievement Award (and a much deserved one) went to Judge Phyllis Frye.

An HTUC President's Award was given out this year to Monyque Starr.  

Congratulations to all the award winners.  I had a wonderful time meeting some of the new faces in the community, seeing old friends, talking to many of the local and statewide LGBT community leaders and allies, seeing Dr Stryker who made an exciting announcement during her speech that you peeps will hear about soon (and I'm sworn to secrecy on)  and having the honor and pleasure of sitting with the people of TENT (Transgender Education Network of Texas) during this event.

It was also nice seeing Kristopher Sharp, the UH-Downtown student government presidential candidate I met Wednesday during my panel discussion visit to the UHD campus.who was subjected to a vicious smear campaign.   I also enjoyed spending some quality time on this end of I-45 with Carter again.  

Photos will be going up on the Houston Transgender Unity Committee website at as soon as they are available.  Congrats to the Unity Committee for putting on another successful Unity Banquet and hope it's even bigger and better next year.

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