The 20th Annual Houston Transgender Unity Banquet

Was happy to get the opportunity to attend my first Houston Transgender Unity Banquet since 2001 last night and a lot of things have changed since I last attended it eleven years ago..

I got to hang out with Vanity Wilde and the gang and as I sat at the table with her and her friends I contemplated all the changes that had occurred since the last time I attended it. 

It’s at a different hotel and it’s a project of the Houston Transgender Unity Committee that serves as a fundraiser event for the Peggy Rudd Scholarship.   The number of sponsors has exponentially grown.  We were also blessed to have for a moment Mayor Annise Parker stop by and say a few words before she bounced to the other three dinners that were on her schedule for the night.   

She may be the mayor now, but she still cut her teeth as an activist in out community and we’ll always see her as part of our family.

This 20th annual edition was a well organized event ably emceed by Jenifer Rene Pool, and when I wasn’t taking a moment to meet and greet most of the Houston rainbow community they were finding me at my table or in various sports in the ballroom.   Got to see Nikki Araguz, Ray Hill, Judge Frye and the gang for her firm, Maria Gonzales, Vivica Perry, Jo Tittsworth, LaKeia Spady, Lorraine Schroeder from the UH LGBT Center, Katy Stewart from TENT, Lou Weaver and Cristan Williams.   That’s just the short list of people I got to see, meet, take photos with and converse with at various times during the night.

There were door prizes available in addition to the black gift bag we were given that included a black coffee mug with the Unity Committee logo on it..

The Unity Banquet is not only our community’s signature event, it’s also the night the Houston Transgender community awards are passed out.    In case you’re wondering TransGriot readers, been nominated once and as of yet nothing

The Champion Award, which goes to an ally, individual or group that stands up as a staunch supporter for our community went to the UH LGBT Center in the Group category and Annette Lott of HCC in the individual one.

The People’s Choice Award, which is decided by a community vote to the outstanding person in the transgender community in the past year went to Koomah.

The Dee McKellar Award  (which I was nominated for in 2001) went to Jenifer Rene Pool

The Brenda Thomas Award (formerly the Apogee Award) which is given to the individual that has accomplished or achieved the one thing or culmination of things that was the high point of that previous year, went to Daniel Williams for rallying the community to fight and defeat the anti trans SB 723.   

Yep, killing that unjust bill that was a Big Fracking Deal, especially since some of y’all pessimists outside of Texas didn’t think we could do it. 

The Horizon Award went to Bethany Townsend.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to the late Rene Fenner who passed away last July.   It was accepted on her behalf by another iconic figure in our local trans community, Jackie Thorne. 

Once the awards were passed out, we got to hear keynote speeches by the Rev Megan Rohrer and Marty Ebel from the EEOC while we were getting a tasty meal served to us.

After that came some dancing for those who wished to do that and more socializing before I bounced to go home, write this post and watch the replay of the White House Correspondents Dinner.

We already know the date and location of the 2013 Unity Banquet.   It will be on Saturday April 20, 2013 at the Sheraton Brookhollow and the keynote speaker is scheduled to be Dr. Susan Stryker

So you’ve been notified of the date, and the ticket price will be $65 next year.,   You have a year to join us and if you wish to have information about table sponsorships or serving on the Houston Transgender Unity Committee you can e-mail the Unity Committee at or the website at

See y’all next year.

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