I was hoping to watch a little Houston LGBT history being made, and I enjoyed seeing many of my friends inside the community and getting the opportunity to chat with them.
I enjoyed meeting some new people, and hope we continue the conversations that we started last night. I enjoyed seeing HISD school board president and longtime ally of our community Anna Eastman finally get that elusive ally marshal spot she so deserves.
I even enjoyed the dinner conversation afterwards at 59 Dimer and yes, my sincere congratulations to Ryan and Britt as well for being elected the 2015 Houston Pride Parade Grand Marshals.
But what I had a problem with, and it seems that feeling was shared by many of the attendees at the Houston Pride event last night, was the perception that Fran Watson got screwed in the female grand marshal race.
It continues the problematic pattern of not having had a Black female Houston Pride Parade Marshal since 1993 (Rev. Carolyn Mobley) in a city in which we’ve had two trans feminine ones in Phyllis Frye and Jenifer Rene Pool, and another Latina one just last year in Christina Canales Gorczynski.
I have to ask the question if someone with Fran’s (and Augie Augustine’s) record of service to the entire Houston LGBT community can’t get recognized and be subsequently elected to become a Houston Pride Parade Grand Marshal after nomination, when will it happen?
I was asked by several people to jump into the 2015 female Pride Marshal race and declined it for that very reason. Why waste my precious time and energy in pursuit of that when it’s obvious some people in the Houston LGBT community have a problem with folks who look like me?
And when you have a Pride Marshal selection process that calls for election by peeps in the Houston area, that bias will always impact a city wide elective race.
And that’s before I even bring up my loud and proud trans self into the mix.
This Houston LGBT community unfortunately still has a race problem that needs to be expeditiously fixed, and progress has been made toward doing that.
However, last night’s Pride event didn’t help an organization that has a board perceived to be out of touch, insular, and tone deaf to the Houston LGBT community of color, and one in which just five months ago we in Black TBLG Houston and our allies had to raise hell just to get them to move the pride parade back to its traditional last weekend in June date from the Juneteenth date they cluelessly set it for.
Last night didn’t help dispel that perception, and it’s going to take a lot of deeds, and not words to shake that perception in Black Houston LGBT World, and with our allies.