Yesterday afternoon I was having a particularly crappy day until I got a phone call from the new Houston GLBT Political Caucus president Jovon Tyler that had me singing Ice Cube’s ‘Today Was A Good Day’ when it was over.
Jovon called to inform me that I was being honored with the 2020 Don Hrachovy Lifetime Achievement Award!
Who is Don Hrachovy? He was the second president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus and Texas A&M Aggie alum who not only was a ten year member of the organization, but spent thousands of hours putting together that formidable 100,000 name database that has made the Houston GLBT Caucus one of the Big Four must get endorsements in Houston area liberal progressive politics.
That database Hrachovy created has paid dividends in helping endorsed Caucus candidates get elected and making the Caucus a formidable political force. He was also one of the founders of Resurrection MCC and the second person to receive this award named for him in 1987.
Before he died at age 37 from complications from AIDS on June 4, 1988, Hrachovy requested that the AIDS Quilt panel being designed for him be made to look like a voter registration card. He served as the Caucus chair of membership and voter registration.
This is not the first time I’ve been honored by the Caucus. Back in 2016 I received the John Paul Barnich Award from them at that year’s Equality Brunch in recognition for the work I’d done to that point.
But this one is huge. The Hrachovy Life Achievement Award was last given out in 1995, and the list of people who have previously won it reads as a Who’s Who list of iconic Houston TBLGQ leaders.
The award was first given out in 1986, with Cicely Wynne receiving the inaugural award. Hrachovy received it in 1987 The other iconic Houston leaders who have received this award are Joe Thornton (1988) Jack Valinski (1989), David Fowler (1990) , Pat Hall (1991) Ray Hill (1992) Annise Parker (1993), Eugene Harrington (1994) and Jim Owens (1995)
For some reason they stopped giving out the Hrachovy after 1995 at the Equality Brunch until Tyler and the Awards Committee revived it for this year.
As you probably guessed, when I do receive it, I’ll be making history once again. I will become the first Black and first Houston trans person of any ethnicity to win it . The Caucus wasn’t open to trans folks when it was founded, and it sadly took until 1999 to change that.policy.
A meeting my neophyte activist self was sitting in the room for when the Caucus board voted to change it.
That’s why despite us having some formidable trans leaders in the 713 like Toni Mayes, Phyllis Frye, Sarah DePalma, Dee McKellar, Vanessa Edwards Foster and Brenda Thomas who have done the work and whose shoulders I stand on, it’s ironic and humbling that I will be the first trans person to receive this lifetime achievement award.
While I’m always focused on my goal of doing what I can to make, Houston, Texas, and the nation better than when I encountered it and haven’t been concerned about getting awards for the work I do, it is nice and deeply appreciated when that work is recognized by your community.
I’ll have to wait until the Equality Brunch happens on October 4 to receive it, but already clearing some space on my increasingly crowded awards shelf for it.