HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 31, 1999
] year in review
AROUND HOUSTON 1999
>■ Continued from Page 3
mission statement. "It shows that in
Houston, we are moving along with the
national trend towards inclusion,'' said
caucus president Carl Smith. Longtime
transponder activist Phyllis Randolph
Frye said the unanimous vote was in a
word, "glorious." She said her quest for
inclusion in the caucus began over nine
years ago, and members wouldn't even discuss the issue.
Mayor, police chief decry Gay bar
'inspections' during Pride
Inspection of Houston gay bars should
not be done during Gay Pride celebrations,
Police Chief CO. Bradford ruled following
his internal investigation as to why three
popular gay nightclubs were inspected
June 24. He called the inspections of JR.'s,
611 Hyde Park and Cousins "inexcusable."
One of the bars was inspected twice in one
evening. Mayor Lee Brown said he has concerns the inspections were not better handled between the two agencies conducting
them—HPD and the Texas Alcoholic
Beverage Commission (TABC).
Texas court tells mother she can't
take daughter to gay church
A Texas court ruled in a custody case
that a child could only attend a "mainline"
church with her lesbian mother. The parents are of different faiths—a Christian
mother and a Jewish father—and part of
the divorce proceeding was about determining what faith the child would be
raised in. The father objected to the mother's decision to take her child to the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community
Church. The Texas Court of Appeals agreed
with the father, holding that only "mainline
churches would be utilized by the parties
for the religious training of the child," and
listing which Protestant denominations
qualify as "mainline."
Black community declares
HIV state of emergency
African-Americans in Houston are
fighting back against the number one killer
of its youth—AIDS. According to data from
the national HIV Prevention Conference
held this month in Atlanta, AIDS is now the
number one killer of young blacks in
America, moreover, death rates in the
African-American community are 10 times
those in the white population. Locally, the
statistics are equally as sobering. Increased
publicity within the black community
about HIV/AIDS has prompted some progressive African-American civic leaders in
to call for action. The prevalence of infection rates in this community is now being
discussed in the press, via presentations in
front of political leaders and in the organization of a town hall meeting.
Gay business expo
draws record crowds
Some 5,000 people attended EMPOWER
'99 at the George R. Brown Convention
Center, setting a record attendance and helping the event meet most of its goals this year,
organizers said. A church service organized
by a handful of gay and gay-friendly
churches—including Bering United
Methodist Church, Grace Lutheran Church,
Interfaith Ministries, Metropolitan
Community Church of the Resurrection and
Maranatha Fellowship MCC-closed the daylong event. "They did a wonderful service of
health and wholeness," said Coy Tow, an
EMPOWER organizer. "They had a wonderful procession with all their banners down
the middle aisle at the end of the day It was
a wonderful way to end a day of celebration.
The whole day was truly like a festival."
Open lesbian wins second term on
Houston's first openly lesbian city council
member easily defeated her challenger on
Election Day, but three gay men hoping to
join Annise Parker on the council failed to
make it into the run-offs that will decide their
races. Parker was among a handful of gay
and lesbian candidates that did well in elections this week across the country. "Although
I had anticipated the win, I'm glad to have job
security for the next two years," Parker said.
"I'm very glad the election is over."
Annise Parker, Houston's first openly lesbian
city councilwoman, was elected to a second,
two-year term in November.
Jury awards former dental professor
$448,000 in harassment suit
Former dental professor Luis Mota was
awarded $448,000 on Nov. 8 after a federal
jury found that the he was sexually
harassed by the man who was at the time
the acting dean of his department. The jury
also found that Mota's employer, the
University of Texas Houston Health
Science Center, failed to take prompt action
to stop the harassment, then retaliated
against Mota by firing him when he com-
>- Continued on Page 9
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