Followup: Pride Committee
Howard Kale, Co-chair for Lesbian/Gay Pride Week 1996,
opened the meeting. He defined the forum as a vehicle to compile ideas
from the community. The Houston Lesbian/Gay Pride Week Committee
"96 will investigate the suggestions and make a final determination and
He described levels of participation. Going to the parade is one level.
Attending this forum was another level of participation. Then there is
Julie Siska, CFO/Treasurer on the Board of Directors and Co-Chair on
the Executive Committe for Pride Week 1995. The Pride Committee
worked until midnight after the Pride Fest and the next morning went
back to clean up the Pride Fest site.
Howard said that morning he saw Julie Siska picking up a turkey
drumstick someone had thrown on the ground, "just like this".
Howard, in his suit and tie, turned around, bent over and picked up an
imaginary drumstick. He concluded saying 1995 saw many doors open
for the gay and lesbian community with three radio stations and three
beer companies coming foward to participate and sponsor the parade.
The 1996 committe must move forward on this.
Jack Valinski, member of Board of Directors and long time
Pride Week activist, discussed the history of Pride Week, which started
under the Political Caucus. The Pride Week organization then worked
under the 50l(c3) umbrella of the Montrose Activity Center and finally
became an independant 50l(c3) organization in 1992. The committee
operates with open books, a monthly newsletter and any member of
the community who attends two + meetings is eligible to vote.
Julie Siska continued with the current status and results of
the '95 committee, its volunteer and the last Community Forum held in
January of 1995. The Pride Fest '95 met the desired goal of a location at
the end of the parade route. A video of the parade was being produce at
a very reasonable cost and was being sold at a reasonable price. More
funds are being received from commercial interests such as the beer
companies, bringing new money into the community.
Terry Vega, the female Co-Chair for Pride Week 1996 spoke briefly,
stating the ground rules and introducing the facilitator. Annise Parker
outstandingly moderated the meeting. Annise said she did not want to
hear anything about heat or rain or personal responses to what
someone just said. All comments would be addressed to the floor.
Lastly, the parade date would be a permanent decision that we would
have to live with for years to come.
The restrictions on parades by city ordinance are a Sunday
parade has to occur between 1:00pm and 7:00pm. No night parades
are permitted in Houston. A Saturday parade can be scheduled in the
morning. The parade has to be over in two hours. Since the Pride
Committee has a reputation for an orderly and well organized parade,
the city now provides the permit at no cost. In the early history of the
pride parade, the city was not so cooperative. The Pride Committee
buys two hours of commercial liability insurance for the parade. This
year, 1995, was the first year that the parade paid for itself in entry
fees totaling slightly over $6,000.
A vote was taken at the beginning of the forum simply on
the question of" Do we move the parade date? Yes or No". There was a
majority in favor of moving the parade date. At the end of the forum,
there was a smaller majority in favor, close to a tie. When all the issues
were aired, it was difficult for each individual to be 100% in favor [I
want to move the parade, BUT...] much less pin point a weekend that a
solid majority could agree on, when it came down to the nitty gritty.
Dean Walradt, secretary for Pride Week '96, expressed his
opinion in a letter to the Voice stating that a petition to change the
parade date had been circulated about a month ago. "I think it is
important that the community, and particularly those who signed this
petition, know that whoever was responsible for starting this project
(it was not the Pride Committee) and circulating the petitions for
signatures failed to follow through and present them to the Pride
Committee, or bring them to the community forum. The forum was
well publized over a three week period in at least... two major
publications." The Pride Week newsletter was mailed just prior to the
forum. "I, as secretary called or faxed nearly every organization listed
in the Pride Guide's Resource Guide three weeks and one week before
the forum took place...ln a city with probably the fourth or fifth largest
gay/lesbian population in the country, 40-45 people participated."
Jack Valinski stated that the Pride Week was the premier
event in the Southwest that last weekend in June. People plan their
vacations around it. Dallas moved their parade so as not to compete
with Houston's parade, not because of the weather.
To slightly digress, we think Houston is a hick town, but it
is the 4th largest city. If memory serves, "The Harvey Milk Opera" was
produced in four cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and
Houston. The Triangle had an announcement for a bus trip from Austin
or Dallas to see the opera in Houston.
Ray Hill said that Stonewall began as an indoor event and
should be celebrated indoors, with a parade in October (around the
I Ith) for National Coming Out Day.
Also, Halloween was already a parade for closeted people. Some
conflicting events are Columbus Day parade and the Heights Festival.
Also, the International Association of Lesbian/Gay Pride committees
holds an InterPride Conference on Columbus Day weekend for activists
from over 125 cities in North America who organize pride events in
their home towns. The Houston Pride Committee staff attends this
There are major fundraisers in the community around Halloween such
as Halloween Magic which benefits the Bering foundation. Another
consideration is that June is off season for professional float builders
and organizations get a discount that time of year. If floats were more
expensive in the fall or spring, there might be fewer floats in the
Rainbow De Klown wrote a letter to the Voice suggesting
moving the parade to 10:30 in the morning on Stonewall Saturday.
"The problem with the heat is the buildup our bodies receive during the
two or more hours preparation before the afternoon parade. If the time
was changed to the morning, preparation for the parade would be
during the cooler part of the day."
"Before you shut me off and say what queen' is going to
get up early Saturday morning? Well, I have been a part of the St.
Patrick's Day parade in Houston for a dozen years, and the partying
Irish have no problem getting up early in the morning for their parade"
The drawback of a Saturday parade on Westheimer with
the street blocked off, is that it would cut into the business traffic for
the plumbing store and other shops. Annise Parker is active with the
Neartown Civic Association and said they already get complaints about
the Westheimer Street Fair closing off the street. Many of the Saturday
parades in Houston are downtown which is mostly closed down on
Saturday. Also, many people work on Saturday.
It was suggested the committee explore the possibilty of
getting the city ordinance changed to allow a night parade. The cons
are crowd control and the possibility or more people being inebriated
by that time of the day. Someone mentioned shootings in New Orleans
during the Mardi Gras parade.
Each year the Pride Week Executive Committe is reborn for
that year's parade. Volunteers sign up to chair various committees. The
Board of Directors provides a continuity and makes decisions that will
affect more than one year's parade. For example, choosing a logo.
The decision to move the parade date will be voted on in a
general meeting, on Tuesday, October 17. To be eligible to vote you
must attend two consecutive general meetings. On October 17 only
people who also attended the September 19 meeting will be eligible to
vote. This point was stressed at the forum. S \a €L Cox.
Consultants on Diversity
P.O. Box 53556
STRESS MANAGEMENT CLINIC
•STOP SMOKING#LOSE WEIGHT •REDUCE STRESS
LHI SURVEY REPORTS: 24% Lesbians Smoke
19% Smoking 2Pks. Per Day - 28% were Overweight
33% Experienced Stress in their everyday lives
♦Finally an Option: *No Surgery *No Patch *No Drugs
Madelyn McNeil, C.Ht.
What's A Banner District?
A Banner District is defined under city ordinance and
requires a petition to city council, a public hearing, and an affirmative
vote by council. The area to be so designated must be clearly defined.
There must be an organization responsible for the costs and upkeep.
The organization must get permission from Houston Lighting & Power
(HL&P), which owns the light poles on which the banners are placed.
Once a district is designated, the group must pay for the
making of the banners and for the brackets that hold the banners. The
organization must pay HL&P for installing the banners and is
responsible for making sure the banners stay in good repair, or for any
damages caused by the banners falling off.
There are several banner districts in Houston, the largest
being downtown. Most people are familiar with its seasonal displays,
and the banners proclaiming the "Theater District."
Pride Week formally petitioned council for the creation of a
banner district on lower Westheimer. Two other organizations with
legitimate claims to an interest in such a district are the Neartown
Association and the Museum District Business Alliance (MDBA). The
three groups consulted (under my auspices) and signed a joint letter to
council. The intent is that this will eventually be part of a larger banner
district, coordinated by MDBA, which will usually have some kind of
identifiable "Montrose" designation, but that Pride Week's distinctive
pink triangles will always be up on Westheimer during the month of
the event. (Pride Week is the lead group for this particular section of
Contributed by Annise Parker
5 Minute Activist Please send your
cards and letters to the Houston Chronicle in
support of Pam Yip's wonderful article on
"How to cope when a partner earns more" in
the Sunday, September 24 edition. The
mainstream press interviewed our
community's favorite celebrity couple, Kathy
Hubbard and Annise Parker as examples of
Are you a womyn 55 to 62? Retired or almost?
Non-smoker? I'm looking for a sailing friend to
help me sail my Cape Dory 28'. Call me at
723-6699 and let's talk.
HouTexXV annual Houston
Tennis Club Tournament
November 10-12. Sign up by October 23
It's that time of the year agaln-the fall tennis
season In Texas, and that means Houston
Tennis Club's annual tournament: HouTex
XV. This year's tournament, offering
competition in men's and women's singles
and doubles along with mixed doubles, will
be held the weekend of November 10-12 at
Memorial Park and Southwest Tennis Center
in Houston. The deadline for entries is
October 23rd, although entrants can get a
$10 discount if they enter by October 9th.
This year we are again expecting entrants
from all over the country as well as Canada,
Australia, and Europe. Last year, we had
nearly 40 women enter, and we hope to
more than double that this year. In order to
get more women to enter, for the first time
we will be offering five draws for women,
ranging from advanced to beginner. There
are lots of perks like free T-shirts, free on-
site breakfast, and parties for those who are
interested in the social as well as the
athletic attractions of gay and lesbian tennis.
For additional information, call tournament
co-director Kristin Anderson at (713) 526-
7271 or sent E-mail to HOUTEX95@aol.com.