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Pride Wall Comes Down in Wake of Anti-LGBTQ Vandalism

Jenni's Noodle House owner explains decision to paint over mural.

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Updated Nov. 29. 

Houston has lost another LGBTQ Pride Wall.

The Pride Portraits #BeVisibleHTX mural on Jenni’s Noodle House in the Heights was painted over in white this week, after vandals spray-painted anti-LGBTQ graffiti on the wall late Friday or early Saturday.

Scott Tranweaver, co-owner of Jenni’s Noodle House, said Monday that he and his wife, Jenni, would not restore the rainbow-colored mural because they do not own the building that houses the restaurant.

“We rent this location and are concerned that hate crimes may escalate if we keep the mural here,” Tranweaver said. “We loved being home to the Pride Wall, and we love the LGBTQ community. At this time, we are looking at other ways to advocate for it.”

The Tranweavers will redirect donations to repaint the mural to Pride Portraits, the LGBTQ nonprofit that created the Pride Wall. A rainbow-colored tribute to the mural is planned inside Jenni’s Noodle House to shield it from potential hate crimes.

The unidentified vandal or vandals spray-painted the words “STOP YOUR GAY AGENDA! PLEASE!,” along with a large “X” and four smaller ones, as well as the signature “SERM!,” across the mural. 

“We do consider this a hate crime, and I have passed on your message to [my] team to ensure nothing falls through the cracks,” Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said in an email Monday, responding to an inquiry from OutSmart. “There is no room for hate in our community, and especially in a welcoming place like the city of Houston, which is arguably our nation’s and world’s most diverse and inclusive city.”

The #BeVisibleHTX mural was painted by Houston artist Hugo Perez and unveiled in April 2018. The wall was created after #PrideWallHTX, a rainbow-colored mural on the side of Montrose’s Select Skate Shop, was painted over in January 2018.

Eric Edward Schell, creator of Pride Portraits and organizer of the #BeVisibleHTX mural, partnered with Perez and Jenni’s Noodle House to create a new Pride Wall that would continue to affirm, uplift, and celebrate the LGBTQ community.

I’d like to say I’m surprised that this happened in the Heights, but I’m not considering the current political climate. Such is life,” Perez wrote on Facebook following the vandalism. 

Schell agreed.

“Donald J. Trump and his administration are directly responsible for the uprise in anti-LGBTQIA+ hate crimes across the United States,” Schell wrote. “This type of vandalism brings me right back to the Pulse shooting and the realization that people want our community silenced, if not dead, simply for existing.”

“There is no ‘gay agenda,’” Schell added. “We are not asking for extra rights. We are not asking that you have less rights. We are seeking equality.”

The #BeVisibleHTX mural featured a quote from marriage-equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who attended the unveiling in April.

“Sad and angry about this,” Obergefell wrote on Facebook above a story about the vandalism. ”A friend spearheaded this mural that features a quote from me and is painted on a restaurant owned by friends.”

Scott Tranweaver said although the wall will be painted over, people should not feel as though the vandals won.

“Just because the mural is coming down, doesn’t mean that the fight for equal rights is over,” Tranweaver said.

Anyone with information about the vandalism can call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted to Crime-Stoppers.org.

Watch a video of the wall being painted over below.

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is a staff writer for OutSmart magazine. She recently graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in journalism. When Zavaleta isn’t at OutSmart, she tutors writing at UH-Clear Lake. She also runs a comedy Twitter account with over 34,000 followers.
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