You long time TransGriot readers have seen my posts since 2011 documenting the efforts of Jenifer Rene Pool to become the first out transperson elected to Houston City Council.
If she succeeds in doing so this November, she would also become the first out trans person elected to a major city council in a city with 1 million or more population.
One of the things that has bothered me while watching Jen try to make this history and get that seat in the Horseshoe for the Houston trans community is the appearance to those of us in the trans world and our allies that elements of the lesbian and gay community are actively working to keep that history from happening.
During the 2011 cycle, it was newly out Bo Fraga suddenly deciding to run for city council in that same crowded Position 2 at large race that Jenifer had declared for. There was also the whisper campaign started that Pool ‘wasn’t a viable candidate’ that were allegedly spread all the way to the Victory Foundation.
Jenifer despite all that drama, finished sixth in that crowded race.
Then in 2013 when she ran for the Position 3 At Large seat, there was an allegation a group of gay delegates walked out of a meeting room just before a vote that cost her a critical endorsement.
Despite the fact that she was once LGBT Caucus President, has been a longtime host of the KPFT-FM Queer Voices radio show, and was a 2012 Pride Parade Grand Marshal, the lukewarm support from the LG community also caused her to miss the runoff in the Position 3 race against Michael Kubosh by a little over 1000 votes.
That bit the Houston LGBT community in the political behind a few months later during the HERO fight. Councilmember Kubosh, after claiming at an April 27 town hall in Montrose he was ‘against discrimination’, voted against the HERO a month later and proclaimed at the Riggle hate rally masquerading as a church service in June that that “God put him on City Council to oppose the HERO.”
Now Jenifer is gearing up for a third run for city council. She is running for the at Large Position 1 seat, and we in Houston Trans World were stunned to hear that Lane Lewis, the openly gay chair of the Harris County Democratic Party, decided to make his second run for City Council, and it ain’t for the soon to be open At Large Position 4 seat.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I have to ask the question what’s up with this when you know the Houston trans community has been trying to get representation on council since 1991, the Houston gay and lesbian community has had it for over two decades, .and we get elements of the Houston lesbian and gay community continuing to frustrate the efforts of Jenifer and the Houston trans community to get our first ever rep on City Council.
And don’t think the Houston trans community has forgotten the calls by some peeps in LG Houston to ‘dump the trannies’ and pass an LG only HERO when the debate over the gender identity category got loud, transphobic, and contentious.
Hey I have much love and respect for Lane Lewis. If he’s elected ,I have no doubt he’ll make a fine city council member. But hey, I have to ask this question.
Is it just coincidence that gay males have twice decided to jump into races for the same seat Jen has announced she’s running for? Is it personal animus toward her? Or is it as some people suspect, there’s other transphobic motivation for this pattern to repeatedly keep happening?
I have no problem with the job that gay and lesbian Houstonians have done so far in their time on council and in other city positions. But transpeople also live inside the 700 square miles of Texas soil we call Houston, and it’s past time one of us was sitting in one of those nice green leather chairs helping to shape civic policy.