Houston's first official Pride Parade was held in Montrose inand it was followed by a rally gzy drew 5, participants. That race launched her political career: From toParker was mayor of Houston. Photo: Nuri Vallbona, HP staff 8of19InQueer Nation members and supporters march in the Montrose area in commemoration of Paul Broussard, a banker killed in a gay-bashing hate crime.
Photo: Manuel M. The building on Westheimer has since been transformed into a coffee shop. Almost as regularly, he hears people declare that the historic Houston neighborhood is no longer gay. In the s, the historic neighborhood had a ificant LGBT population, and for many years, the area was at the center for gay culture in Houston.
Today, however, there's a sense among some Houstonians that this is no longer the case. For real estate folks, the narrative of Montrose being formerly gay — but not anymore — could help them add a bit of historical character and a trendy narrative to the area, while still sanitizing the present image of the neighborhood, which sometimes was at odds with gay bars in the area, Riedel said.
It could be part of a story of victory — claiming the history with pride, while also arguing that Houston's inclusiveness means a specific gay neighborhood is no longer necessary. Or hoouston could be a sort of lament about a changing understanding of what gay politics and organizing look like.
LGBT culture in Houston
Within Houston's narrative of diversity, individual stories can sometimes become blurry. There is no longer a need for a segregated community in Houston. A map of Houston's gay-friendly bars and institutions in Blue dots represent when a bar was opened.
Gray dots represent when a bar was closed. Green dots represent bars that are gah open as of Photo: Brian Riedel Riedel looked to old city directories, travel guides and copies ggay the short-lived Albatross the first regular publication from and for Houston's gay community, published by a local bar owner to document the city's gay bars and institutions, the spaces that helped birth a host of political groups over the years.
He included long-recognized staples in the scene, including the restaurant Art Wren's, as well as the less explicitly gay hangouts, like the House of Pies on Kirby that many in the community called House of Guys. What he found was that in the early s and s, there was little indication that Montrose would come to play the role in gay Houston culture that it os did.
Bars that were either explicitly or implicitly recognized as being gay-friendly dotted downtown before moving on to other areas like Rice Village. A couple years ls out to Riedel, who plotted when the bars opened blue and closed grayand which were still around in green. Photo: Brian Riedel Inwhen an early morning police raid at gy Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, sparked protests and riots and served as a galvanizing moment for gay and lesbian communities across the country, Houston's gay bars, cinemas and other spaces were still scattered.
And in the s, as new wards opened and filled within days to treat AIDS patients, the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose becomes a clear center for social and civic life of many in the gay community. Today, the land where Mary's stood is now home to Blacksmith, a coffee shop. Photo: Brian Riedel The s were a kind of "heyday" for Montrose's gay culture, according to Riedel.
Inthere were some 40 active locations catering to Rewind girls 17566 xxx clientele in his records. ByRiedel said, the had declined, but he said people looking for the heart of the gay community in Houston would still head to Montrose.
The (Not So) Straight Facts About Houston
There were ificant milestones along the way: the boycott of singer and gay rights opponent Anita Bryant, who was invited to sing at the Texas State Bar Association meeting in Houston in ; the "Oddw and Queers for Tinsley" T-shirts that helped rally houdton for Eleanor Tinsley for city council after a comment from her opponent criticizing her supporters, including the Gay Political Caucus; the various political groups that formed and the election of Annise Parker in As mayor, she was the first openly gay or lesbian mayor of a major city.
She had already won citywide office multiple times before that election, breaking houstkn along the way. But there have been setbacks and uneven progress.
LGBT, and particularly transgender individuals, still wny elevated threats of violence. With a controversial bill working its way through the state legislature that would require transgender individuals to use the public bathroom that aligns with their birth gender and the recent defeat of the local Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that would've covered a whole host of groups from discrimination locally, including by race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, hurdles remain.
Photo: Brian Riedel Riedel's research is still in progress and will be supplemented by dozens of oral histories, but he said his maps show not only loss, but simultaneous perseverance too, adding, "There is still a need to recognize and create a space for difference.
And he added, "many community organizations and nonprofits are still based there or still focus their social occasions in the area, if only out of habit. Bookmark Gray Matters.
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