Houstonian Helps Archive Gay History (Part 5)

Categories: Houston 101

Photo courtesy J.D. Doyle
J.D. Doyle, center, is the grand marshal of this year's gay pride parade.
This is the final part in a series for Houston Pride Week.

J.D. Doyle, the male grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade, is on a mission: To gather as much of Houston's LGBT history as possible and make it available online. Known to many Houstonians as the longtime voice of KPFT's "Queer Voices" program, Doyle is also a leading world expert on "queer music."

In the course of curating an exhaustive collection and operating an online program of queer music, Doyle realized he was "running across all kinds of history that no one knew anything about." He grasped that primary sources for learning the history of the LGBT community were not being collected and cared for, so he undertook the mission. He finds it surprising that "just a historian and radio personality" was selected as a grand marshal.

See also: The Fight For Pride Week (Part 4)

"In recent years that election has become something of a popularity contest, and I'm not political, I'm not a big fundraiser, I don't sit on numerous boards, etc., and I'm not a party boy, so I was totally shocked that I was elected this year," says Doyle, who edited a gay newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia in the late Seventies before moving to Houston. "But I have to say how gratifying it is that my work is recognized by the community. That's very humbling."

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Article Says More White People Are Moving to Houston Area Thanks to Jobs

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Giovanni
Harris County added about 9,000 residents last year.
While fewer and fewer white people are being born nationally, compared with say Latinos, a recent article in the Houston Chronicle (which prefers the word "Anglo"), shows that statewide and locally the white population has grown.

As the Chronicle reports:

Texas, on the other hand, saw the largest numeric increase of white residents in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, gaining about 51,000 Anglos

Within Harris County, where Anglos make up about 32 percent of the population or about 1.3 million, some 9,000 white residents were added last year.
"There's a significant amount of Anglos moving into the region from outside of Houston," said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership, an economic development organization.

"They're coming here because of the jobs. ... If you look at all the growth in the Energy Corridor and the Medical Center, and the new Exxon campus in The Woodlands, we're attracting workers who are more skilled, and many of them are white."

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The Fight for Pride Week (Part 4)

Categories: Houston 101

Getting Houston Pride Week off the ground was no easy task back in the day.
Part four in a series for Houston Pride Week.

Once formed, "The Caucus," as the Houston LGBT Political Caucus became known, quickly organized a series of actions that would see the political power of the LGBT community expand exponentially. By the end of the decade, even straight candidates would seek and welcome its endorsement. One of its first important actions was the protest of pop singer Anita Bryant's appearance in Houston.

Outspoken and violently opposed to homosexuality, Bryant had become a "family values" symbol and mouthpiece, and she was invited to Houston to sing "country and patriotic songs" for the Texas State Bar Association convention in Houston on June 16, 1977. Writer Chris Love describes the raucous 3,000--strong protest by gays as "Houston's Stonewall moment." Hill also marks the Bryant protest as a key moment in Houston LGBT history.

See also: The Homosexual Playground of the South' (Part 3)

"She really did us a favor by coming out against us. After Anita spoke here, things started coming together like they never had before."

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

Categories: Houston 101

PrideHouston.org/Chris Garza Photography
Houston was an established gay "playground" in the 1950s and 1960s.
Part three in a series for Houston Pride Week.

The trials, tribulations, and awakenings during the war against fascism led to a spate of coming-out items in the immediate postwar years. In 1944, poet Robert Duncan published The Homosexual in Society, the earliest attempt to formulate a gay rights agenda. In Houston, the legendary gay bar Pink Elephant opened at the corner of Fannin and Bell in 1945 just as World War II was ending. According to Van Allen's report, the Pink Elephant opening marks a tidal shift for gays, since it drew the scene out of the traditional gay areas downtown. The bar later moved to 1218 Leland. Described in one publication as "primarily serving older gay men," it was an anchoring fixture of the local scene for almost half a century.

While most gays were still forced to lead the closeted life, the end of the war brought landmark national events that were the first cracks in the wall of intolerance, inequality, and injustice. In Atlanta, Rev. George Augustine Hyde founded the first church to openly accept gays in 1946, while in 1947 the first national lesbian periodical, Vice Versa, began publication. Considered shocking and controversial, Dr. Alfred Kinsey's study, Sexual Behavior In the Human Male, recognized homosexuality as an aspect of human sexuality in 1948.

See also: Houston's Earliest Gay Scenes (Part 2)

Several landmark events in Houston's LGBT history happened in the Fifties. The Dianas, a cocktail party presented as a fake Academy Awards show for a clique of closeted gay professionals, held their first event in 1954 in the Louisiana Street home of florist David Moncrief. An evening of ribald hilarity that featured hosts Tom Adams and Charles Hebert doing send-ups of Hollywood gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons and giving out cheeky and often titillating local awards (the first Diana award was a dildo presented to Virginia "Hub" Lankford for "an amorous adventure"), the annual event became one of the hottest gala tickets in town.

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Houston's Earliest Gay Scenes (Part 2)

Categories: Houston 101

photo by Rusty Walker
The winner of the Halloween drag contest at Palace Club 1970, Jimmy Ardoin
Part two in a series for gay pride week.

It didn't take Ron Levine and partners like the club-savvy Gene Howle long to turn the new Palace into a hot spot. In October, 1970, the private club -- private meaning mixed drinks were available and entry could be controlled -- hosted a drag pageant that is still remembered fondly by those in the know. This was three years prior to national and state drag competitions forming in 1974.

Rusty Walker, bass player for popular local band Sound Investment, remembers the Palace well. Shortly after Houston Press reported in early May about the demolition of the building, the top floor of which was home to a series of popular night clubs -- Top of the Mark, the Palace, Cody's and Sky Bar -- Walker forwarded: a yellowed color photo of what appeared at first glance to be a woman in a stunning red, white, and blue outfit.

See also: Looking Back at Some of the Hurdles Houston's Gay Community Had to Overcome (Part I)

But Walker explained that the photo was "the winner of the Halloween drag pageant at the Palace Club."

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Ten Hottest Things Houstonians Have to Deal With During the Summer

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Norm Lanier
People have romantic ideas of summer. As a kid, it's all about being off from school. As an adult, summer is time to squeeze in those vacation days.

But no matter how much we wish otherwise, summer in Houston can really suck sometimes. Here are some of the hottest things Houstonians have to deal with during the summer:

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Top 10 Ways to Identify a Native Houstonian

Photo by Marco Torres
Nothing quite encapsulates Houston like Z-Ro's Mo City Don freestyle.

Houston is home to a booming economy. Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States. Houston is cool.

Houston is a lot of things, home to a lot different people and cultures. And while no string of facts and qualities can quite stitch together a complete story of this city that we love, we gave it our best shot.

Here are ten signs that prove you're from Houston.

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Houston Still Loves Hoes

Photo courtesy of Fanbuild.com

Houston still loves LJ Hoes.

Or at least Houston loves the Astro outfielder's last name. Even after Hoes got optioned down to the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City in late May, baseball themed shirts reading, "Houston Loves Hoes" are still selling.

"I haven't been promoting it a lot," said Jeff Lange, the shirt's designer. "It was definitely surprising for sure."

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Which World Cup Teams Might Houstonians Root For? [Map]

Photo by Marcello Casal Jr

The U.S. plays its first game of the 2014 World Cup today against Ghana. Of course, Houston is in the good old US of A, and the Americans will have Houstonians rooting for them.

But this is one of the most diverse cities in the country (maybe even the world). With that in mind, we decided to look at what countries, other than the United States, will have fans rooting for them in the World Cup. Thanks in part to Rice sociologist Michael Emerson, we charted what World Cup-competing countries are represented here by using 2010 Census data to find the foreign-born populations in the Houston metropolitan area.

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World Cup

You Looking for @HiddenCash in Houston?

Photo by bfishadow
@HiddenCash will be dropping more than a couple of dollar bills in Houston Saturday.

We told you last week about a copycat of the Twitter account @HiddenCash showing up in San Antonio. Now Texas is getting the real thing. More important, Houston is getting the real thing.

@HiddenCash, a social media account, is, according to its Twitter bio, "an anonymous social experience for good." The account first started dropping hints for cash scavenger hunts in San Francisco in late May, with prizes normally $60-$200. @HiddenCash now has more than 540,000 followers.

Copycats, like @HiddenCashTexas -- based out of San Antonio, have been popping up in different places. @HoustonCgm set up a @HiddenCash-like scavenger hunt at Hager Park last week. But it wasn't until earlier this week that @HiddenCash announced it was expanding its operation to other cities, including Houston.

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