'The Homosexual Playground of the South' (Part 3)

Categories: Houston 101

Immediately subsequent to the Stonewall riots, Houston spawned a number of gay activist groups other than the short-lived Prometheans. A Gay Liberation Front was formed at University of Houston. The same year, Integrity, an organization that began meeting at Holy Rosary Church, formed. Keeping radicalism and militancy to a minimum, Integrity sought to "reform society not restructure it," Integrity had a long history of quietly working for reform. Montrose Gaze, a gay community center organized in the early Seventies, spawned the Gay Political Coalition in 1973.

Maybe the most important event in Houston's LGBT history occurred in 1975 when Anderson, along with Bill Buie, Keith McGee, and Hugh Crell, formed the Houston LGBT Political Caucus, one of the oldest gay political organizations in the country and the most muscular of the Houston gay community's political organizations. Its first president was another legendary gay Houstonian, Gary Van Ooteghem, who became a cause celebre when he was terminated from his job as assistant county treasurer after seeking his boss's permission to speak out as a private citizen for gay rights at a commissioner's meeting.

After a decade of litigation with Harris County, Van Ooteghem was awarded a substantial back pay settlement for wrongful termination and violations of his First Amendment right to free speech in 1984. Always a class act, he donated the money to charity and said all he really wanted was his job back, which he did not get. Van Ooteghem was an early grand marshal of the Pride Parade.

This is the third part in a series of posts marking Houston Pride Week.


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2 comments
Wayward Shepherd
Wayward Shepherd

We do have a large and active swingers' community, so why not?

Anissa DelaCruz
Anissa DelaCruz

Really? When are we getting our own adult sized slide? New York had one... *taps toe*

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