Gayest & Greatest

Gayest & Greatest 2018: House and Home

Longtime activist Lane Lewis makes a smooth transition from politics to insurance.

Best Male Insurance Agent: Lane Lewis

You may not know 50-year-old Lane Lewis as a Farmers Insurance agent, but chances are you’ve heard his name plenty.

“I tended bar at the gay bars in Montrose early on,” Lewis recalls. “I’ve also been a teacher—I have a master’s degree in education—and a social worker. I started the first residential treatment center for homeless LGBTQ youth in the early ’90s.” One of the kids he helped get off the streets was later adopted by former mayor Annise Parker and her wife, Kathy Hubbard. 

“I pulled together the complainants and lawyers for Lawrence v. Texas,” Lewis says.

That landmark Supreme Court case, which struck down sodomy laws nationwide on June 26, 2003, stemmed from the arrest and conviction of two gay Harris County men in 1998. 

But that’s not all. Lane has also served as an adviser to the City’s Health Department, and he was an appointee of Houston mayors Bob Lanier, Lee Brown, and Bill White. He served as an adviser to the Houston Police Department for over two decades on the Police Advisory Committee, the Citizen Review Committee, the Administrative Discipline Committee, and the Police Academy. 

Oh, and in his spare time he ran for City Council twice. Although he lost those races, he was elected chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party and held that post from 2011 to 2017—during which time he helped turn the county blue. 

And now he sells insurance.

“Having my own insurance agency gives me flexibility for more time with my family and friends,” says Lewis, who is single. “And I chose Farmers because I’ve always had their insurance, and I respect the company’s views on sexual orientation.”

In his spare time, he enjoys his two dogs, two nephews and a grandniece, as well as travel and yoga. And then there are his video games.

When I was 21, I started having anxiety attacks,” Lewis says. “The doctor asked what I did to relieve stress, and I said I worked. So he suggested I play video games. He said that when you play you have to concentrate on the game or else your avatar winds up dead and then it’s game over. You can’t think about anything else.”

Having had an Atari as a kid, Lewis thought he’d follow his doctor’s advice by going out and buying two games. He has considerably more than that now, and he no longer has anxiety attacks. There’s actually quite a bit of research showing that playing video games can reduce stress, ease physical pain, and improve memory and coordination.

“I highly recommend it,” Lewis says. “And it’s a great way for me to bond with my nephews.”

—Marene Gustin

Best Architectural Design Firm

Morningside Architects

Best Female Insurance Agent

Felicia Gulihur
Finalist: Pam Ellis

Best Male Insurance Agent 

Lane Lewis
Finalists: Jeremy Henry, Patrick Torma

Best Florist

David Brown Flowers
Finalists: Fannin Flowers, H-E-B Blooms

Best Furniture Store

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Finalists: Cantoni, IKEA Houston Home Furnishings, MAH-Modern Amish of Houston

Best Furniture Store on a Budget

Finalists: Alabama Furniture, Gallery Furniture

Best Gardening/Nursery Supply

Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques
Finalists: Another Place in Time, Fountains and Statuary, Wabash Feed & Garden Store

Best Home Security Company

Fortress Shield Security
Finalist: Xfinity

Best Interior Designer

Brad Brandt
Finalists: Mark Wade Brown, Kevin Hamby,  Grant Rachal, Todd Slaughter

Best Landscaping Company

Windswept Landscape Studios
Finalists: Another Place in Time, McDugald-Steele

Best Movers

All My Sons Moving & Storage Houston
Finalists: 3 Men Movers, Max Movers

Best Pest Control Company

Andy’s All Star Pest Control
Finalists: Apple Pest Control, Bugtime Pest Control Products & Services

Best Plumber

Village Plumbing & Air
Finalist: Nick’s Plumbing

Best Pool Company

Venture Pool Company
Finalists: Butcher, Fox Family Pools, Pools by James

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and, among others.
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