Sunday, April 05, 2015
Moni's At The Ray Hill Roast
Last night I was honored to be at the table of my activist mentor Judge Phyllis Frye and her spouse Trish as we honored one of our H-town living activist legends in Ray Hill at the University of Houston Hilton's Shamrock Room.
Ray came out in 1958 as a high school quarterback at Galena Park HS and was raising hell around LGBT and social issues in H-town and nationally when I was in elementary school.
The self proclaimed 'citizen provocateur' was strategizing with national leaders such as Harvey Milk, Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny and Harry Hay to advance the nascent gay right movement.
Ray was an early and long time supporter of the trans community. He has filled me in on much of the chatter at the time about Stonewall and confirmed to me in our conversations it was a trans led uprising.
Hey, I wasn't kidding when I repeatedly tell you TransGriot readers Houston has historical connections and was a major player in the national LGBT movement.
Hill tangled with homobigot Anita Bryant back in the day and in some cases many of us in H-town on different issues, but he has also opened doors and opportunities for many of us as well to spread our leadership wings.
In addition to Hill being a mentor and kick butt activist in his own right, he is a beloved figure in our community that hosts The Prison Show on our Pacifica network public radio station KPFT-FM and whose life story is told in the recently released documentary The Trouble With Ray.
Hill was roasted as part of a fundraiser for the station that raised $10,000 and included speakers such as US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, Harris County Democratic Party Chair and Houston city council candidate Lane Lewis, state Rep. and Houston mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner, Judge Phyllis Frye and Mayor Annise Parker.
The Ray Hill Comedy Roast and Gala was ably emceed by Jack Valinski, the host of KPFT-FM's Queer Voices.
Houston City Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool was also in the audience along with Pride Parade Grand Marshal candidate Fran Watson, Ashton Woods, Brandon Mack, Cristan Williams, Equality Texas' Daniel Williams, former council members Jew Don Boney and Vince Ryan, legendary human rights advocate Frances "Sissy' Farenthold, Josephine Tittsworth, Councilmember Robert Gallegos and other allies and friends.
It was a memorable and enjoyable night for all of us who were in attendance to honor one of our community's and the LGBT rights movement's iconic people.