JULY 2, 2004
Pride Committee President Nick Brines calls Pride 2004 a success, but he's not sure what role he'll play in the organization for next year's event.
'Mother Nature must be a lesbian'
Weather forecasts foretold the worst,
but the clouds dissipated just in time
By BINNIE FISHER
As if on command, the clouds that
had threatened the worst for most of
Pride Saturday parted just in time for
Pride as Big as Texas.
Nick Brines, president of Pride
Committee Houston, had visions of rain
pelting parade participants, and ankle-
deep water on Westheimer.
"The last thing I saw on the news was
a hundred-percent chance of rain and
flooding," he said.
When the clouds went away and the sky
turned blue about an hour before parade
time Saturday night, Brines remarked,
"Mother Nature must be a lesbian."
Brines, who has been involved with
the Pride Committee for a decade, said
the parade that made its way down
Westheimer was one of the best ever.
"My first impression was that it was
thrilling and completely awesome," he
said. "The quality of the entries in this
year's parade was terrific."
It was a satisfying culmination to a
year of work, a year that begins immediately after Pride ends.
"We're already starting to plan 2005,"
he said. "We have our next meeting next
The fiscal year for the Pride Committee
ends Aug. 30, and Brines said, he doesn't
know what his place will be next year. He
has been president for two years.
"I don't know what my leadership role
will be," he said. "I'll have to work it out
with my husband."
Brines is partnered with hairdresser
Greg Decker, who recently opened Azur
Salon in Houston.
The two had a commitment ceremony
at the Magnolia Ballroom, but Brines
said, they aren't likely to fly off to
Massachusetts to make it legal.
"We just did it for ourselves," he said.
In attendance were Brines' parents,
retired dairy farmers from Wisconsin
who now live in Corpus Christi. Their
attendance at his wedding to another
man spoke volumes.
Coming out in college
Brines came out when he moved to
Houston to attend college at the age of 17.
"I didn't come out to my parents until
I was 21," he said.
Their initial reaction was "horrible,"
he said. "But it took me 17 years to come
to grips with it. I can't expect them to
accept it overnight."
But, accept it they did. Now that his
parents live close. Brines said, his moth-
ft Nick Brines
Birthplace: Shullsburg, Wl
Education: Almost a master's
Occupation: Director in charge of corporate
sponsorships, American Heart Association
Personal: Married to Greg Decker
Tidbit Loves Pride and traveling
er has her own personal hairdresser in
Growing up on the farm in Wisconsin,
Brines said, he had absolutely no exposure to gay life.
"I grew up in the same house my father
grew up in and his mother grew up in. It
was very Norman Rockwell," he said.
That's why Houston blew me away A
whole new world opened up to me here."
It didn't take Brines too long to find
the Pride Committee. He said it was a fortuitous find for many reasons.
"It's great for networking," he said.
"The reason I have the job I have today is
because of the Pride Committee. They
looked at all the fundraising I had done
for the Pride Committee. I put it right,
smack on my resume. There's no reason
to hide it."
To anyone looking for a place to con
nect in Houston's gay and lesbian community. Brines recommends the Pride
Committee. "All they have to do is just
show up and do it," he said. "There is a
lot of work to be done."
In addition to that. Brines said, there
is the satisfaction of doing something for
The committee works hard to keep the
parade relevant, he said. Although the group
wants to highlight the community Bines
said, corporate entries have their place.
"It's a way to show the community
what corporations are friendly and which
ones are supportive of their gay and lesbian employees," he said.
Contrary to what was aired on conservative talk radio prior to the parade,
Brines said, the parade does not place a
cost burden on the city.
"We've been hearing that the parade
costs the city a ton of money," he said.
"We pay for the trash to be picked up
afterward. We leave Montrose cleaner
than we found it."
In addition to hiring additional security,
Brines said, parade fees cover the salaries
of Houston Police Department officers.
The Pride flags that are hung on light
poles lining Westheimer during the month
of June, Brines said. "We pay for those, the
installation, the upkeep and the insurance."
And, as for the conservative radio jock
who kept complaining that he hates to
see men in leather thongs, linn.
"1 didn't see any of that this ye