One of the things you'll learn in the upcoming documentary about gay activist Ray Hill is that when police raided Houston's lesbian bars in the 1960s, they would arrest any woman wearing pants with zippers or buttons in the front. If the zipper was on the side, you were spared. In the front, that's cross-dressing. That's jail.
Courtesy Houston's Voice and Proud Pony International Activist Ray Hill knows a thing or two about trouble.
"Your name gets printed in the Houston Post and Houston Chronicle the next day," Hill says. "Your family, to whom you may be closeted, all of a sudden is deserting you....All of a sudden, your life is destroyed. And it is not infrequent that people commit suicide after getting picked up in a bar for doing nothing wrong."
In a city with a thrice-elected lesbian mayor, that story sounds insane today. That's a good thing. And that's partly because of the blood, sweat and tears that activists like Hill poured into a decades-long struggle for the most basic civil rights.