Gay Suburbia Political Power
New LGBT Caucus Among Suburban Lives in Fort Bend
It's Sunday. It's week one of the Houston Texas season schedule and they are playing against the Colts. I see the game from a television screen where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Caucus members eagerly wait until the second quarter is finished in Fort Bend where there is an eclectic mix of people filling up the home of Fiona Dawson and Robin Brown.
More than halfway around the world, there are two foreign exchange students from Germany who's host fathers are present in support of the caucus. And although these are two different cultures, the ideal of having a LGBT caucus in Fort Bend or in Germany is not farfetched to Olle Ax and Marvin Kunde.
With some libations, inner-loopers converse on the many happenings that are going about the city. But for a place that is outside the loop, an LGBT Caucus in the suburb of Fort Bend has managed to bring Mayor Annise Parker from her opening remarks at the Texans game and give a rousing speech.
With signs leading up to a culdesac filled with cars that was a sort of "trail of bread crumbs and a yellow brick road" (as described by the host) of signs stating the presence of the LGBT Political Caucus, the opening by Dawson acknowledging the large handful of guest that are living in Fort Bend County and gay says, "I knew there was a reason to start this group. It's not that crazy."
Steve Brown, Democratic Chair of Fort Bend County approached Dawson about starting an LGBT caucus. As a non-partisan group, the caucus did invite both Republican and Democratic representatives. There were only Democratic candidates present.
Inner and outer loopers came in for their support of the caucus who's goal is to end all prejudice and make sure every human being has equal rights. And even though this caucus in Fort Bend might seem like a progressive move, it seems necessary.
For Fort Bend County residents and married (as legal as can currently be) couple Brandy Gibson and Holly Hutchins, they state they haven't experienced much prejudice in the soon to be three years they have lived in the county. For what is a considered a conservative town, there hasn't been much push back."We have neighbors that are outgoing and friendly. Others haven't, but it's more of a personality issue. We normally don't know anybody or any families that are gay out here," says Hutchins.
Annise Parker's remarks were well versed and definitely embody the goals of not just the Fort Bend LGBT Caucus, but also the Houston GLBT Caucus she helped start.
"I have been on the job for a little bit over eight months now. There is still a smile on my face." Parker goes on to state her early beginnings stating that she has taken the long way to get to this position as Mayor. The 35 year old Houston Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus is where she began to follow Sue Lovell and become invested in politics; Eventually, becoming the president of that political caucus.
"It was started by five people in a time when the world was a very scary place and much different. That fact that today I am sitting at the council table with Sue Lovell, who was first woman president of that organization, and that I immediately followed her. People are astounded at how calm we are at some of the situations we face.
Because when we came of age as activists in the 80s, we learned how to chair meetings; we learned how to debate publicly those who were on the far right when the straight slate was campaigning together to be Mayor and council members in the city of Houston. We took the tools that we were given then and the experience we that earned then, and we have been using it in the City of Houston. Small, little, but committed people can make a tremendous difference. That's why I was so glad to come down here. That's why I believe that the new board of this organization is going to change the face of Fort Bend."
As the inauguration commenced, there is an update on the group's Facebook page via Dawson, "get this, two people who have just moved to Fort Bend from Utah, due to being harassed for being gay, followed our signs because they saw "LGBT" and wanted to find friends. They arrived when everyone else had left and hung out for a while. That event alone sums up exactly why we're doing this work."
State District Judge Steven Kirkland, State Representative for HD 27 Ron Reynolds, and candidates Fredricka Allen and Pat Olney who are running for different positions were also present for the inaugural membership drive. The Fort Bend LGBT Political Caucus meets on the second Wednesday of every month. For more details, contact you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the social networks below: