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Local Organizations Host Thanksgiving Gatherings for the LGBTQ Community

Houston nonprofits offer holiday fellowship and support this month.

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A Montrose Center volunteer hands out a Thanksgiving meal to an attendee of last year’s TGiving Drive Thru Celebration (courtesy photo).

While many people will be busy passing plates of Thanksgiving food later this month, not everyone has a place to go for the holiday. For vulnerable LGBTQ Houstonians who might be alone this year, local organizations are hosting events to provide community members with some holiday joy.

Read on for details about three local LGBTQ Thanksgiving celebrations.

SoulGiving Fellowship Dinner 

6:30 p.m November 18th at Maggiano’s, 2019 Post Oak Blvd.

Save Our Sisters United, Inc. founder Atlantis Narcisse (l) and The Mahogany Project, Inc. founder Verniss McFarland III

The Mahogany Project Inc. and Saving Our Sisters United, Inc. is hosting a Thanksgiving celebration for Houston’s Black TQLGB+ and allied community at Maggiano’s near the Galleria on The event is open to all TQLGB+ people who have been vaccinated, says The Mahogany Project’s founder, Verniss McFarland III.

“This will be our first year doing this event,” McFarland notes. “It is a community event. We partnered with Destination Tomorrow to provide this meal and experience to the community. My favorite part of putting this event together is just knowing that there is going to be a place for the community to show up. [We’re planning] something that is going to bring us together and decrease the social isolation that Black and trans people face in general.”

To register for SoulGiving, visit eventbrite.com/e/soul-giving-tickets-184113617787.


Tgiving Drive-Thru Celebration at the Montrose Center

4 to 7 p.m November 23 at the Montrose Center, 401 Branard St.

Volunteers at last year’s TGiving Drive-Thru Celebration

The holidays can be difficult for members of the LGBTQ community, especially for those who identify as trans and nonbinary, according to Austin Ruiz, the Montrose Center’s communications and marketing manager. “A lot of the time they have severed relationships with families, [so] it can really be a difficult and lonely time for many.” In order to combat this, the Center is once again hosting its “Transgiving” Thanksgiving event for the transgender and nonbinary community.   

Founded in the ’90s by trans activist Brenda Thomas, Transgiving began as a potluck-style event. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s event will be a drive-thru to ensure everyone’s safety. “We’re doing a modified event,” Ruiz says. “We prepare pre-packaged meals—both a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and vegetarian options, as well. We will be providing thank-you bags and other things to [help] people feel safe and have fun.”      

For those who do not want the Thanksgiving meal options and are in need of grocery supplies, shelf-stable food items that should last around seven days will be provided. 

There are still open slots available for registration, Ruiz notes, as well as needed volunteers for the event.  Registration links can be found on the link below:

English: bit.ly/tmctgiving2021
Spanish: bit.ly/tgivingesp2021
Volunteers can register at:montrosecenter.org/volunteer
Donation items can be purchased here: bit.ly/montrosecenterwishlist


Youth Night at Montrose Grace Place

6 to 9 p.m. November 25, 2515 Waugh Drive

Montrose Grace Place staff and volunteers

For youth of all gender identities and sexualities between the ages of 13 to 24 experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, or who just need a safe place to spend the night, Kindred Montrose will be open on Thanksgiving evening for Montrose Grace Place’sYouth Night.

The event occurs during the group’s bi-weekly Youth Night event, which provides attendees with family-style meals, mentorship, activities, and take-away supplies. “This year, we are transitioning to more of a ‘Friendsgiving’ model,” says Montrose Grace Place’s executive director, Courtney Sellers. “We are going to do something a bit more casual with maybe pizza or tacos—sitting down, watching a movie, and hanging out. This event is for the community that we serve. We really want the youth who are experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness to come. This is a safe event for the youth to come and hang out. It’s very low-key.”

For more information on Youth Night, visit montrosegraceplace.org.


JR’s Bar and Grill’s 35th Anniversary Thanksgiving Feast 

1:30 to 4:30 p.m. November 25, 808 Pacific St.

JR’s Bar and Grill is hosting its 35th annual Thanksgiving Day dinner. The event features complimentary Thanksgiving-style food.

“The event is open to the public,” says Charles Armstrong, JR’s owner and CEO. “Stop by [between] 1:30 to 4:30 for complimentary Thanksgiving dinner.” 

The gratitude that people have shown towards the Thanksgiving event is what really makes it special, Armstrong emphasizes. The celebration has been available to the LGBTQ community through many historic events, such as the AIDS epidemic, the 1980s oil crisis, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, JR’s wants to serve as a safe space, especially during the holidays.

For more information, visit facebook.com/JRsHouston.

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Brandon Norvell

Brandon Norvell is a fall 2021 editorial intern for OutSmart Magazine.
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