The Texas Equality March will begin with a rally at 12 PM at the south steps of the Texas Capitol Building. We will hear from some hard-working activists, organizers, and leaders from across the state. Our lineup represents the beautiful and rich diversity of Texas’ LGBTQ+ communities, and we are humbled and honored to highlight their advocacy work in this context.
“Seventy-six year old native Houstonian. Graduated from Galena Park Public Schools; Attended Steven F Austin State University, University of Houston, Tulane University, New Orleans, no degrees. Came out as a gay man to my family and at Galena Park High School in 1958.
Co-founder and President of Promethean Society (Houston’s first gay/lesbian organization (1967-1969); Co-founder (1968), former Board Member and former General Manager (1980-1981) of Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM; Co-founder, Executive Director Houston Human Rights League (1976-1986); Co-founder (1975), Charter Member on Resurrection MCC (1975); Co-founder 1975, Past President (1989) of Houston Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Political Caucus; Winner of landmark First Amendment US Supreme Court Case Houston v Hill 107 S.Ct 2502, 1987); Co-founder/organizer (1976), Past Chair (1984-1985) of Houston Lesbian Gay Pride Week, Pride Parade Grand Marshall (1981); Convener and Co-Chair (with Jenny Apuzo) of Houston Town Meeting I; Co-founder of Montrose Counseling Center (now Montrose Center) 1978; Cofounder on Montrose Clinic (now Legacy Health Services) 1978 Former Chair (1984-1986) of Montrose Activity Center; Chair of Executive and Coordinating Committees for the First March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1979; Founder and original producer and host (1975-1980) of Wilde N Stein (one of the first regularly scheduled gay/lesbian radio shows in the country and the only one in the South in the 1970’s); Cofounder Kaposi’s Sarcoma Foundation (1980, became KS/AIDS Foundation, is now AIDS Foundation Houston); Convict (1970-1975) Texas Prison System; Founder and Executive Director of First Amendment Lobby of Texas (1982-1997); Author of first “Safe Sex Pamphlet” in the country to help prevent the spread of HIV, published by Citizens for Human Equality CHE, Houston, 1982; Contributor to the first three International Conferences on Gender Law and Employment; Author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons; Founder/producer/host of Prison Show (the only show of its kind in the US) 1980 to 2012 (continues in retired status); Former board member of Texas C.U.R.E. (Prison reform group) 1986- 1989; Former member of Houston AIDS Prevention Community Planning Group representing incarcerated populations 2000-2006; 2012 to Present Member of Houston Media Source Board (President since 1014) Winner of four Federal suits against the city of Houston for police abuses including the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision; a challenge to a city ordinance requiring people to document their identity on demand of a police officer (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); a challenge to a city ordinance “blocking the sidewalk (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); and two cases challenging the city ordinance criminalizing the interruption of a police officer (the first case resulted in the rewriting of the ordinance and the second (the Supreme Court decision eliminated both the ordinance and the state law). Helped with the strategy on Lawrence v Texas.
Awarded: 1999 First Amendment Award by Houston Trial Lawyers Foundation; The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Unity Committee (several organizations supporting equality for transgendered people); The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stonewall Lawyers Association; Lifetime Achievement Award from ACLU, Texas 2005, Trailblazer Award from SCALE, 2006 (HIV and AIDS stakeholder organizations); The John P. McGovern Award for 2008 by University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston; Amicus Achievement Grant, South Texas Collage of Law, 2010; 2014 Heritage Award from Houston Pride, Inc.. 2014 FACE Awards: Gay Male Activist of the Year and Community Hero of the Year., 2015 Democrat Party of Harris County: Living Legend Award, Montrose Center 2015 Community Visionary Award.
Writer/performer of Ray Hill, The Prison Years (Best One Character Show1997, The Houston Press) at Actor’s Workshop, The Little Room Downstairs and Biba’s One’s A Meal, 20 performance run, Printed script available. Writer/performer of Ray Hill & The Sex Police at Biba’s One’s A Meal, 11 performance run; Ray Hill In Love, Valentine’s day 2000 at Stages Repertory Theater; Outlaw, Queer Like Ray Hill at Ashland Street Theater, 14 performances; A Stroll Through Houston Gay History with Ray Hill at Gay and Lesbian Community Center, June 18, 2001; Ray Hill, The Prison Years reworked and presented at The Philly Fringe 2005, receiving critical acclaim.
Subject of three documentaries: Citizen Provocateur. Ray Hill’s Texas Prison Show, 2007, directed by Brian Huberman, Chair Rice University Film Department, Produced by Matt Frondorf ; The Trouble With Ray, currently in production, Directed by Travis Johns, Produced by Jarrod Guillette; and The Guy With The Knife, 2015, Produced and directed by Alison Armstrong
I have had seven wonderful men in my life; a famous drag queen: Tiffany Jones (Kenneth Whitehead); a famous hair dresser: Bob Oliphant; a would-be cop: Fred Paez; a country boy from Lufkin: Dale Sweat; a Lutheran minister: The Rev. Kent Naasz; and Patricio Domingo Bravo an expatriate from Chile; Rene Castillo, an outlaw. Only Patricio survives. Tiffany, Kent, Bob and Rene died of AIDS; Dale was murdered by a burglar, Fred was assassinated by a police officer.
I am currently unattached and reasonably available.”
Fatima was born and spent much of her time in Hartford, Connecticut. She was raised by her mother and her village, consisting of her grandparents, godmothers, and brother. She graduated high school Valedictorian, and moved to North Carolina to attend college, and received her Bachelor in Arts from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, in History and Political Science with a minor in African Studies. She did not become engaged in community organizing and activism until 2013 when she joined AmeriCorps VISTA, and realized she was either going to stand idle and do nothing while Black people were being disenfranchised Wilmington, North Carolina, or she was going to assist in the fight. Wilmington Police officers were killing unarmed young Black men. One of Wilmington’s finest had also stuffed a police dog in the driver’s seat in a car, with a Black man who had his hands raised to surrender. She knew had to do something and began organizing with local community leaders, the Department of Justice, and the Wilmington Police Department. She’s been community organizing ever since. Since moving to Austin as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Fatima has provided testimony in support for various local and statewide policy. She has openly opposed the treatment of systematically oppressed people, pushed into societal margins through testimony in various forms of committee meetings. She is the cofounder of the Austin Justice Coalition formed in February 2014. Her work with AJC consisted of being one of the main facilitators of the Sandra Bland vigil in July 2015, co-facilitating a SXSW panel, planning and executing marches, vigils, events, programs, and assisted write Austin Police body wearing camera policy, until September 2016. She has spoken at various demonstrations regarding social justice issues. She participated in numerous panels ranging from community forums to conferences such as the Regional Equity Summit coordinated and sponsored by Austin Community College. Fatima’s work with AJC opened her eyes to the lack of time, energy, and attention, self identifying women receive in regards to police brutality, healthcare, and playing a role in policy change. No longer working with AJC, Fatima cofounded Counter Balance: ATX, along with Kristina Brown. As the Executive Director of Counter Balance: ATX, she was one of the featured presenters for Blackademics, co-facilitated the African Diaspora Women Summit at Huston Tillotson University, and was nominated for the 40 under 40 award in Austin, Texas. She is currently a second-year law student at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She hopes to act as a bridge between the community and the legal system. She wants to utilize the skills she’s learned to make a difference within the community.
Adonias Arevalo-Melara is 26 years old and was born in the Northern Triangle of Central America, El Salvador. He came to the United States at the age of 13 running away from the violence in his country after his dad was killed by the gangs. He first lived in Cualican, Sinaloa and Guadalajara Mexico while his mom who was living in the USA could save money to bring him here. Adonias, cross the border and arrive in Houston. He went to middle school and high school but right before his graduation he was told that he could not attend college due to his immigration status. After feeling frustrated for not having access to higher education, he started to work in local restaurants as dishwasher and waiter. It was until almost a year after that he met young people who had been in the same situation as him. Immediately, he came out as a gay man and then, began to organize in local high schools to create local clubs to educate high school students on access to college and engage LGBTQ students. In almost a year, his programs impacted nearly 400 students in high schools. He then, began to organize at a local community center and became an adult education instructor between 2010-2012, Adonias was awarded the Houston HomeTown Hero for donating nearly 1000 volunteer hours to local organizations in Houston. He was also granted funds for local programs by the Houston Texans Org. His work was also highlighted in the Metropolitan Revolution, – in two years Adonias developed adult education curriculum, created access to job trainings and created focus groups for LGBTQ people in schools resulting in a impact of connecting and engaging with over 5000 people.
In 2012 he was granted DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and then he immediately was hired by Neighborhood Centers Inc as a resource specialist and then he coordinated efforts to provide free DACA services to young people. He moved on positions of leadership, leading major efforts around immigration, health and economic opportunity at Baker Ripley the largest community center in Houston that sees 50,000 people per year. After many years organizing in Gulfton, he moved to United We Dream as a national organizer and developed relationships and programs for communities with the Southern part of the country. Creating and organizing in localities with limited access to resources such as Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and South Parts of Texas. Though, Adonias never attended a 4 year college, he now attends UHD and is pursuing a degree in public administration and communications.
Adonias currently play leadership roles in local non-profits organizations and organizes efforts for the LGBTQ Community in Houston and In Texas. Today Adonias serves as the Texas Coordinator for United We Dream, organizes Texas affiliates across the state to stop, block and fight against legislation that criminalizes black, brown, trans and queer people. Currently, he also volunteer with local organizations
Adonias, believes that leadership and organizing has nothing to do with position or title and that both skillsets are essential to seek liberation for our communities. Adonias believes our work needs to be done from an intersectional and racial justice lense, dismantling patriarchy, white supremacy and challenging leadership and the system.
Annise Danette Parker (born May 17, 1956) is an American politician who was Mayor of Houston, Texas, which became the largest U.S. city ever to have an openly gay individual serve as mayor.
Jess Herbst is the mayor of New Hope, Texas and the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history. A lifelong Texan, Herbst has called New Hope her home for nearly 20 years and served on town council for several years, beginning in 2003. She publicly announced that she is transgender in January 2017 following a long journey of self-realization and is a proud member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination.
Meghan is an accomplished business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, marketer and communicator. Meghan was recognized as the first-ever transgender woman to receive the prestigious Working Mother of the Year award in 2014. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), where she co-chairs the Board’s (c)(4) Public Policy Committee. She also serves on HRC’s Business Council focusing on Global LGBT workplace equality. Meghan plays an active policy and political consulting role in Federal, State & Local politics advising a number of campaigns and candidates on strategies and opportunities. She is a former member of President Obama’s LGBT Policy Committee.
Naushaba Patel is the new Women’s Health Education and Outreach Specialist at the Montrose Center in Houston Texas. Hir mission is to connect unserved queer women to healthcare resources and develop comprehensive health and wellness programs for queer women. Hir Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and Bachelor’s in Chemistry from Rice University, along with hir life experiences have shaped Naushaba’s passion for using the frameworks of human rights and intersectionality to advance health access for every individual. As a queer Pakistani Muslim immigrant who has traveled and lived in multiple countries, Naushaba loves finding the human connection in every encounter, and also empathizes with the unique strengths and challenges that come with navigating life as a minority. Naushaba speaks English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Gujrati, and Kutchi. Hir passion for women’s health developed when she worked in Guatemala helping rural pregnant women and their children access healthcare resources. Naushaba’s role supports Houston’s prominent queer women’s organizations (AssistHers, Kindred Spirits, Lesbian Health Initiative, and Montrose Center Women’s Programs) which have joined forces to build the gold standard for queer women’s health. Naushaba is 25, and in a happy relationship with her girlfriend.
Lisa moved to Austin in Spring of 2009 and begin playing such infamous clubs as Continental Club, Saxon Pub and Antone’s, and held a weekly residency at one of the oldest Soul/R&B/Blues southern circuit venues in Austin, TC’s Lounge.
She has shared the stage with many R&B/Blues legends such as Robben Ford, Koko Taylor, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Lavelle White, Barbara Lynn, Doyle Bramhall, W.C. Clark, Gary Clark Jr., Bobby Patterson, Guitar Shorty, Patrice Pike and Sister 7, Carolyn Wonderland, Malford Milligan, Bill Carter and more.
The band recently headlined The Beaumont Blues and Jazz Festival, and backed the legendary Barbara Lynn on her hits such as ‘You’ll Loose a Good Thing’ and ‘I’m A Good Woman’.
Dead Music Capital Band
The Dead Music Capital Band is undying proof that the party doesn’t have to end just because life does. From originals, New Orleans-brass classics, heavy metal, show tunes, movie themes, to Chopin and beyond–it’s all fed through the DMCB brass band organ grinder to produce an outrageously macabre musical party.
“Unaccountably Lively…” – the New Orleans Times Picayune
“Brass freakshow…” – the Austin Chronicle