From Our Readers: July 2007

In praise of moving pride. And fan mail from all over.

coverlettersMORE ON PRIDE
Newly out and looking for a “home” that would welcome me, I was drawn to Houston because of Montrose. I arrived here as the move controversy erupted [over the possible Pride Houston plans to move the GLBT Pride Parade downtown and to a different time of year]. I read with interest the local news, mostly negative, concerning this move. I was persuaded it was a bad idea, until I read Carol Wyatt’s article concerning the Task Force on her Social Notes website.

I then embraced both the vision of the Task Force and the Pride Houston organization. I have volunteered for PH since mid-February as volunteer committee chair. Other than two paid staff, everything you see on June 23 is done by dedicated volunteers working 12 months a year to make our Pride event happen. I have spent more than 600 hours since March in my volunteer duties. I am not unique in the number of hours I log on behalf of PH.
Because of my experience, I have expanded my reasons for favoring the move. To justify the amount of time and energy necessary to put on this event, there must be many more opportunities than are currently possible to improve and grow this event. Unfortunately, because of the logistics and terrain of the Montrose neighborhood, we can do little of this beyond what you see today.

I am not interested in becoming bigger and better for its own sake. It is to take seriously our mission to bring the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community together to celebrate individual pride, commemorate our community’s history, and educate society for the liberation of all people. We must find new ways to draw even more people into the PRIDE arena. We must expand and grow. Our future as GLBT people in our society depends on this.
It is very important to me that Montrose continues to play a role in our celebration. I embrace the suggestions that the Task Force has for continuing to celebrate within Montrose our rich heritage.

Carol Wyatt and the board of directors have a responsibility to build upon the outstanding legacy that has been handed them. The proposed move is in keeping with this charge. These fine men and women of our board care deeply about Pride Houston—they feel the responsibility entrusted to them keenly. People may disagree with the direction being proposed. I can understand this. Do not misunderstand that Carol Wyatt and the board will make their decision with integrity adhering to the highest standards possible no matter how they cast their vote.

I have been honored to be a part of this fine organization. I am indebted to Carol Wyatt and her inspired leadership of Pride Houston during very difficult times. She is a remarkable person and a visionary leader. I complete my tenure at Pride Houston knowing the organization is in very capable hands, hers and the entire board of directors.
Name removed at author’s request

Editor’s note: Pride Houston president Carol Wyatt publishes her Social Notes newsletter at www.socialnoteshouston.com.OutSmart senior editor Nancy Ford reported on the controversy in “Whither Pride?”, January 2007.

We featured commentary on the Pride issue (“Two Sides of Pride,” March 2007) by both Pride Houston Vision 2008 task force member Bridgette Chambers and John Nechman, chair of the group People Opposed to Moving Pride Out of Montrose.

Just got the latest issue with the Kennedy story on the cover [“Best Friends for Life,” May 2007 OutSmart], and I wanted to say how impressed I am with OutSmart. The mag just keeps getting better and better with great original content. I enjoyed the Kennedy article, alongside the DVD reviews, music reviews—all the A&E coverage.

Keep on doing a great job.
Randy Haecker
New York City


I just wanted to write to say how much I enjoyed reading Nancy Ford’s “A Birthday Surprise” [“What a World”] in the June 2007 issue of OutSmart. I, too, recently took a trip back home to Pennsylvania in February as my father and I surprised my grandfather with an 80th birthday party. I have to tell you that I had many of the same feelings that Nancy wrote about. There were over 100 people who attended his party ranging from friends of his in high school to coworkers of his during his many years of employment with the United States Postal Service to family friends of my grandparents. My grandmother passed away in June 2003.

It was really a wonderful time as he was so surprised and had the opportunity to see so many of his friends at a happy occasion. It was also a great experience for me personally, as my partner of nine years, David, and his sister (my sister-in-law) Jeanne were also included. Seeing so many people from my past was at first kind of scary, not knowing how they would react, but everyone was wonderful. David and Jeanne were included in all of the family photos and my grandfather would not have it any other way. It was really a great time, and I thank Nancy for her article as it brought back many of my own great memories.
Ryan H. Raser


I am Connie, Bobbie Shafer’s daughter, and Kelly’s oldest sister [“Bonds of Love,” June 2007 OutSmart]. I was confused when she came out and thought maybe it was just a phase, but Mother insisted that I adjust my thoughts and accept Kelly without question. Just as Mother had loved us unconditionally, I love Kelly the same way. Mother never faltered or stumbled in her love for us kids and never questions who were are or our decisions in life. She didn’t always agree with our decisions, but accepted our rights to make them. Thank you for publishing her story. As I’ve discovered in the past few years, you’d be surprised at who’s gay and who’s not, and if you care for that person, what difference does it make?
Connie Congleton


Thank you very much for your very fine magazine. As a former staff member of This Week in Texas in the 1970s, and as someone who lived for 20 years in San Francisco and sampled the gay print media there, I commend you on a job well done, month in and month out. Please know you are valued and admired by this member of the gay community.
Rich Nelson


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