Sunday, April 12, 2015

Intersectional Houston Saturday

Yesterday, April 11 was a Saturday in which I woke up with two events on my mind, and ended up at three.  

My day started at the Montrose Center for the HPD-LGBT Community Dialogue that kicked off at 10 AM and was scheduled to run until 1 PM.   HPD Chief Charles McClellan and his command staff, along with LGBT Liaison EJ Joseph and several LGBT officers were in the house to discuss the spike in Montrose crime  which has sadly taken a life, along with John Gaspari, who was shot in a hate crime, and other concerned residents.

I suspect that spike is crime is related to the anti-LGBT rhetoric that was (and continues to be) uttered and broadcast post passage of HERO by our not so favorite christobigots, and as Ashton Woods pointed out during this meeting, the gentrification of Montrose which leads the folks with criminal intent to think that peeps in the gayborhood are walking ATM's.

After the first segment of it involving the chief and command staff was conducted with news cameras rolling, the second segment happened with Officer Joseph and four LGBT HPD officers..  That lasted until 12 noon before it concluded with Q&A and moi being teased by Officer Joesph about my lack of quality time with her due to my recent trips to DC twice, Philadelphia and Chicago for TBLG community events.

After talking to a Houston Chronicle reporter, other African-American HPD officers and laying the groundwork for future projects and collaborations, I got snatched up by Brandon Mack and Ashton Woods to join them in a hilarious at times car ride through intermittent rain and showers to the Acres Homes area and Sylvester Turner Park for state Rep. and current Houston mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner's 8th Annual Family Fun Day.

Hey, y'all thought I was kidding about my wicked sense of humor.  But back to the post.

There was free food, water and juice along with music ranging from R&B classics to hip hop and a live zydeco band as I got to talk to several candidates for Houston elective offices like Dwight Jefferson, Laurie Robinson and see HISD school board trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones.

I had an interesting conversation with Ms. Robinson, who is running in the Houston City Council at Large Position 4 race. in which we discussed HERO (she supports it) , my trans activist life, and life on the campaign trail as a city council candidate.

After hanging out there for two hours and grabbing a smoked turkey leg, it was time to get ready for my first HRC Houston Gala at the Westin Galleria.

35 years ago I was on the other end of the Galleria at the now Westin Oaks Hotel for my high school prom, and now I was attending for the first time at the invitation of Ian Barrett to what is referred to in Houston LGBT circles as 'Gay Prom.'

After arriving around 5:30 PM for the 18th annual edition of it, it was a succession of running into old friends, meeting new ones, seeing political leaders like HISD Board President Anna Eastman, Councilmembers Robert Gallegos and Mike Laster and killing time until we were able to sit down at our tables for the gala.

Yeah yeah, I know I'm one of HRC's longtime national critics.  But I was invited to the gala by a Houston based African-American national board member, and curiosity about what happens during one of these events drove me to accept the invitation and have an open mind about the experience.

And yeah, I got to do so while seated with Brandon, Ashton, and Synthia Walton.

The big surprise of the night for me was when HRC President Chad Griffin during his speech gave me a shout out in it.  That ended my anonymity at that event because after that I was approached my dozens of people thanking me for my longtime service to the community.

I'd like one of them to thank me with a public policy job in Austin, Houston or Washington DC, but that's another post.

I was successful in getting my fangirl moment in during one of the breaks.  I finally got to meet my slam dunking Houston homegirl Brittney Griner, who you longtime readers know I have mad love for.   Brittney joked during this photo it was nice for once to not be the tallest woman in the room.

So when I returned to Casa de Monica, I had a new collection of business cards to add to my collection, more opportunities for community building, and a bunch of pleasant memories to what turned out to be a doubleplusgood  day for yours truly practicing what I preach about intersectionality.

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