A look at the history of the American GLBT movement told by civil rights legend, Ray Hill
by Megan Smith
Today, Houston’s Voice, a hyper-local multimedia platform showcasing Houston by Houstonians, added The Trouble with Ray to its lineup of locally produced videos. The Trouble with Ray is the first look at a larger documentary produced by Proud Pony International; a documentary exploring the unique voice of “Citizen Provocateur” Ray Hill and his contributions to the gay civil rights movement both locally and nationally.
The 73-year-old Hill has a colorful history indeed. Hill came out to his parents in 1958 while serving as Galena Park High School’s quarterback. As an early gay activist, Hill strategized with Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Harry Hay, and Harvey Milk to advance the blossoming gay movement. Hill was Tennessee Williams’ regular arm-candy, partied with Truman Capote, and locked horns with Anita Bryant. He was even arrested by Marvin Zindler for “stealing things queers like; jewelry, art and antiques,” said Hill, smiling.
“It’s a tiny taste of Ray and one of his stories about life in gay Houston in the 60s,” said Jarod Gullett, senior producer of Proud Pony International. In the six-minute video on Houston’s Voice, Hill tells us about the chronic raids of Houston’s gay bars in the 1960s. It is a breath-taking look back at Houston – and America’s – history. The Trouble with Ray is a brilliant production, and a fascinating story told by a master raconteur. “The Trouble with Ray shares the story of the Houston GLBT movement, but is easily a similar story in any U.S. city,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “As Houston’s Mayor, I’m dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality for all people.”
“It’s this linking of local to national history that we’re particularly interested in, and we think it’ll be a true revelation to the rest of the country,” Gullett said. “Completely unexpected that Houston, Texas, and Ray (among others) played a direct role in the evolution of our history and rights on a national level.”
“The Trouble with Ray tells an important and largely unknown part of American history, and Comcast is pleased to play a role in telling it,” added Ray Purser, vice president of Government and Public Relations-Comcast Houston Region.
Proud Pony International is a new media collective specializing in the production of high quality video with Travis Johns as director and Gullett as producer. The larger version of the documentary will be released in the coming months as a fundraiser for a full-length feature highlighting Ray Hill, his colorful life, and fearless work for GLBT rights. “We’ve also nearly completed our mid-sized documentary which runs 24 minutes long,” Gullett said. “We’re planning to launch this one in the coming months, pending one rights clearance and some final color correction, at a larger venue for a proper screening at which time we’ll also be launching a fundraising campaign to fund a longer format piece to tell more of Ray’s stories of Houston and how Houston’s GLBT history is directly linked to the larger American GLBT story.”
View The Trouble with Ray on HoustonsVoice.com. For more information, to speak with or schedule the producers or Ray himself, call Kim Hogstrom at 713.382.2247. For more information on Proud Pony International, visit their Facebook page or read OutSmart‘s previous coverage on the new media collective here.