In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, OutSmart postponed our 2017 Gayest & Greatest Awards so that we could instead tell the stories of the storm’s LGBTQ heroes and survivors. Last month, we were recognized by the Houston Press Club for last October’s “Heroes of Harvey” issue, capturing a second-place Lone Star Award for magazine layout.
It was one of three Lone Star Awards we received this year. OutSmart also captured second-place honors in the magazine-article category for our July 2017 cover story about Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg, as well as in the magazine-column category for a piece by contributor Kristopher Sharp about the deadly impacts of Texas’ anti-LGBTQ adoption and foster-care law.
While we are certainly honored, much of the credit for these awards should go to those in the community who made them possible: the heroes of Harvey themselves, who stepped up and made great sacrifices to help others in need; Ogg, who bravely opened up publicly for the first time about her personal journey to becoming the nation’s highest-ranking openly LGBTQ law-enforcement official; and Sharp, who is himself a survivor of the broken Texas foster-care system and has gone on to become a fierce activist and scholar.
And speaking of heroes, in this issue we profile Dario Mariani, a gay Houstonian who plans to run the equivalent of six marathons in seven days across Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, to benefit endangered wildlife in the Galapagos Islands. Ryan Leach’s cover story seems especially timely given that Mariani is a Venezuelan immigrant who fled political unrest in his homeland.
Elsewhere, as part of our “Out for Change in 2018” series, writer Marene Gustin profiles Harris County judicial candidate Beau Miller, who would be among the first openly HIV-positive elected officials in Texas.
Also on the subject of firsts, writer Lourdes Zavaleta tells the love story of George and Barbara Dugan, the first transgender couple to be featured in the three-year history of our Wedding Guide.
Meanwhile, writer Don Maines interviews trans woman Janet-Fierce Andrews, a regular performer at Hamburger Mary’s who was recently crowned Miss Gay USofA. Maines also profiles 2018 Houston Pride SuperStar winner Jasmine Branch, and provides an update on 2016 Pride SuperStar winner Christina Wells, who recently appeared on America’s Got Talent.
Finally, since I mentioned our annual Gayest & Greatest contest at the top, I’ll leave you with a quick reminder that the nomination round for this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards runs from July 1 to July 14, followed by voting from July 15 to August 15. Check out OutSmartMagazine.com/GG2018.