2010 will be remembered by some for its paralyzing economic recession, debilitating natural disasters, and Prince William’s announcement of his engagement to Kate Middleton (thereby shattering the hearts of gay men across the globe). Here, OutSmart looks back on a few other memories that made this year unforgettable.
By Nancy Ford / Photos by Dalton DeHart
Sure, she was already out. But no one was completely convinced that an open lesbian could really and truly be embraced by voters and elected to serve as mayor of the largest city in the reddest state in the nation. But following a runoff election, Annise D. Parker did just that. “I want to speak now . . . to those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered,” Parker said in her inaugural address. “I understand how much this day means. I feel your excitement and your joy, your apprehension and your longing for acceptance. I will gladly carry you forward. . . . And when the time comes I will just as gladly pass the torch to the next in waiting. . . . Your bravery in the face of threat, your grace in the face of insult sustains me. . . . Face the world with honesty and integrity. The pain is worth the reward.”
On April 21, Municipal Court Judge Barbara E. Hartle made history by being nominated by Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker to lead the city’s municipal courts as Chief Presiding Judge. Hartle, an out lesbian, was appointed as a municipal judge in April 2009 after serving as an associate municipal judge, as well as working with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Bayou City Performing Arts tossed political correctness out the window with a summer concert that blended parody with a dollop of comedy. Legendary lesbian comedienne Kate Clinton emceed the show headlined by Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston, Bayou City Women’s Chorus and Bayou City Chorale that nearly sold out the opulent Jones Hall. The most successful production ever mounted (so far) by BCPA, the evening benefited Kindred Spirits Foundation and was capped by a unique high-stepping number starring Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker.
On August 3, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the discriminatory Proposition 8, a ballot measure which was passed by voters in California in November, 2008, allowing same-sex marriages in the state. Walker declared the proposition patently unconstitutional. In Houston, 100 members and supporters of the LGBT community turned out the next day in front of City Hall to celebrate the victory. Judge Walker lifted a temporary stay on his ruling, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay.
It all started in 1980 when businesswoman Marion Coleman saw the need for a safe, clean, and positive atmosphere where lesbians and their friends could gather. Little did she know how that nightclub, Kindred Spirits, would impact a generation of women for generations to come. Thirty years later, the nightclub is no more, but Kindred Spirits Foundation continues its legacy with a series of events, including last summer’s anniversary blowout that drew more than 1,000 partiers, Lynn Schwarzenburg (left) and partner, Linda Arnold, among them.
Some more highlights and remembrances of the year:
Officers with the Houston Police Department reported that the partially clad body of Ruben Dario Ical, who upon first examination appeared to be male, had been found in the 4300 block of Garrott Street, an area known to be the scene of frequent criminal activity. Transgender activists and supporters protested the incorrect gender assumption as well as the implication of impropriety when the victim was discovered to be Myra Chanel Ical, a transgender male-to-female. A suspect has not been apprehended.