Features

OutFront: October 2007

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Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights and Legal Eagles

CMcIntyre
Fellow traveler Caitlin McIntyre

GAY AND/OR STRAIGHT, COME OUT! You don’t have to be gay to recognize the need for GLBT equality. That’s the premise behind Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights. As part of the October 7–13 effort organized by the Austin-based Soulforce and Atticus Circle, Houstonians are encouraged to join a bevy of citizens linked online across the nation, providing a cyberspace gathering place for fair-minded straight allies to identify equal-rights-minded leaders and share stories. • Local Seven Straight Nights organizer Caitlin McIntyre hopes the weeklong event provides a tool for those straight allies to take a more active role in GLBT activism. • “I understand-…my process has been very long,” she says. “I grew up in a homophobic town. I wish I had said then, ‘Yes, my dad’s gay and he has a partner of eight years, and I’m very proud of him.’” • The virtual sharing is capped by a real-time vigil, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 11. At that event, audience members are encouraged to share stories and enjoy entertainment as well as participate in a congressional letter-writing campaign. The list of marriage rights that are not available to same-sex partners will be read “so you can see the sheer magnitude of them,” McIntyre says. Everyone, gay and straight, is invited to join the group gathering at Montrose Counseling Center. Details: www.sevenstraightnights.org. • A “semi-silent vigil,” she adds, will then be observed overnight until 7 a.m. on October 12. • “There’s a big difference between knowing something is right, and doing something about it,” McIntyre, a student at Rice University, says. “You find out how amazing it feels when you finally do something that’s right.”

Photographed by John Conroy

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Legal Eagles
From left: Tracie Jackson, Jerry Simoneaux, Phyllis Randolph Frye, Renee Thomason, and Lalana Pundisto

LEGAL EAGLES
Perennial winners of the legal category in the OutSmart Gayest & Greatest reader poll (see this month’s lead story), the law team of Simoneaux, Frye, and Thomason, PLLC, has gained even greater visibility with the recent christening of its office building with the firm name. The firm, which has established a national reputation for championing justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens, moved its offices from Montrose in late 2006 to the Greenway Plaza building, where partners Tracie Jackson (from l), Jerry Simoneaux, Phyllis Randolph Frye, Renee Thomason, and Lalana Pundisto pose in their conference room. No doubt the six-story building is one of the few in the nation that bears the name of an openly and predominantly GLBT business. • Located at 2990 Richmond, the Simoneaux, Frye, and Thomason Building is considered by some to be hallowed ground: This magazine was established in that very building in 1994.

Photographed by Mark Hiebert

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