15 Years Ago in ‘OutSmart’
Annise Parker runs for office … and comes in third.
by Donalevan Maines
“We have the votes to make the runoff,” city council candidate Annise Parker told the LGBT base in her first attempt at elected city office.
“All you need to do is vote,” Parker explained, regarding the Jan. 2 special election. Parker sought to fill the council seat vacated by Shelia Jackson Lee, who had been elected to her first term as U.S. Representative in the November election.
On election day, less than 10 percent of the city’s 740,448 registered voters went to the polls, with Parker capturing about 11 percent of the vote and finishing third among 19 candidates.
But Parker had laid the groundwork for victory two years later.
And the rest is history.
Meanwhile, another gay pioneer’s early defeats and eventual triumphs in city politics (San Francisco’s, not Houston’s) played out onstage as Houston Grand Opera hosted the world premiere of Harvey Milk, The Opera, about the martyred mayor of Castro Street.
For OutSmart, musician and theater buff Richard Arenschieldt interviewed the show’s librettist Michael Korie, who said, “To me the message of Harvey Milk is that one man can change the world, change his own life in course, and upon empowering himself, empower others.”
The AIDS Quilt inspired composer John Corigliano’s Elegy for Friends & Loved Ones, which the Houston Symphony performed, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the AIDS Foundation of Houston. In addition, audience members were encouraged to help support Stone Soup Food Pantry by bringing to the concerts diapers, deodorant, shampoo, cans of tuna, and dry pasta.
Columnist Dale Carpenter greeted the New Year by remembering the first friend he lost to AIDS, while licensed master social worker Michael D. Wilson examined the complexities of multiple loss in the gay and lesbian community.
“We barely have time to recover from one loss before we are confronted with yet another,” Wilson wrote. “If we accept any of the stage theories of grief, we may find ourselves in the middle of stage four and, with the death of another loved one, be forced to begin the cycle over again.
“In other words, we simply don’t have enough time between traumas to work through the many feelings of the previous grief process.”
Donalevan Maines wrote about The Rocky Horror Show in the October issue of OutSmart.