Saturday, June 27, 2015

#ITLQBM – Pride, Marriage & Blackness

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

I will start with the most prevalent piece that has changed this country for the better. On yesterday June 26, 2015, the SCOTUS ruled in favor of millions of SGL-BT/LGBT individuals, granting the right to marry in all fifty states! When this took place I was at watch party held at the Law Offices of Mitchell Katine who was the attorney that won the Lawrence V Texas case in 2003. That morning had so much anticipation in the air as I reflected on how I volunteered, protested and agitated in the efforts to obtain the right to marry since age 19, if my memory serves me well. By 9:15 a.m. (CST) we knew the verdict and then I experienced a level of emotion that I had not had in a long time.

My emotions were fueled by the fact that I was and still am reeling from the loss of nine heroes in Charleston, SC at the hands of a racist. Not a second goes by that I don't think about how all Black bodies matter and how I just had a piece of me that intersects with my Blackness recognized. At any moment, I can walk down the street and still be killed for being Black as I wear my shiny new engagement ring that my future husband just bought me (I AM SINGLE LOL). Now we move forward with the purpose of making sure PEOPLE OF COLOR are included and that means we need to work on TRANSGENDER PROTECTIONS, WOMEN'S RIGHTS & AND NON DISCRIMINATION ACROSS THE BOARD .

Even in my initial celebration, my intersectionalites hit me hard:

Now lets get one thing straight, Pride is for me too, DAMN IT I fight every day for the rights of all of us including the part of me that is SGL/GAY! I will celebrate Pride and Marriage Equality, but best believe I am plotting on how we can get more respect as People of Color across the board. Don't think you can just slide by calling White folks out when you don't show up to get you a piece of the rights pie, I saw some of your posts as if you put in some sweat and work. I have no remorse for you, NOW for those of us who were doing the work, don't stop. While we have White allies, much of our movement in the LGBT sector has been White wash, MAINLY because they haven't invited Persons of Color and the OTHER reason is that many of the Persons of Color who know don't show up until after the fact and want to celebrate and co-opt without knowledge of how we got here. In other words, everyone is complicit in some way....

Here is an example of White wash:

The example above illustrates lack of communication to the entire SGL-BT/LGBT and ally community about the celebration from our White counterparts and a lack of participation from those Person's of Color who did know about it. Anyway, Pride is today and I will be there, as many of you know about how I feel regarding the Houston organization behind its planning, still this is a time to celebrate! For those of you planning to participate in the Pride festivities, here are some graphics for your reference & I will see you there...

Barefoot Stage

1 p.m. Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) ballet folklorico
2 p.m. Drop Out Vegas
3:30 p.m. Big Freedia
4:30 p.m. Morena Roas Da Artist
5:15 p.m. The T.R.U.T.H. Project - merged arts experience

Bud Light Stage - City Hall 

12:30 p.m. (We Are) Nexus
1:30 p.m. Erika Jayne
2:15 p.m. Pride Superstar!
3 p.m. Jessica Sutta
3:45 p.m. Ginger Minj Official Fan Page
4:30 p.m. Estelle

The Houston LGBT Pride FESTIVAL runs noon-7 p.m. Saturday and is FREE! Cross streets are McKinney and Smith in downtown Houston.

It will be followed by the Houston LGBT Pride PARADE at 8:30 p.m. in downtown Houston!
More info:"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#Not1More - Obama Interrupted

The heckle heard round the world took place at during the White House pride celebration when Jennicet Gutiérrez interrupted the President during his speech. While it was not the venue, in my opinion for her to do it, when else would she have been able to do it? She had a valid reason to have the passion to express her frustration:

“President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention,” - “I am tired of the violence we’re facing,”

It was played out in the media as if she was some evil person, and she is not! Here is why she did it:

"As a transgender woman who is undocumented, Gutiérrez said she could not celebrate while some 75 transgender detainees were still being exposed to assault and abuse in ICE custody at this very moment.
“The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe, “explains Gutiérrez “There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the President wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately.”
Gutiérrez came to the US from Mexico, seeking safety and economic opportunity. Gutiérrez has become one of many voices advocating for LGBTQ immigrants: upon arrival, she found community among other transgender immigrants, many of whom had been detained in ICE custody. Gutiérrez was a founding member of FAMILIA TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants often excluded in the immigration debate. The work of the organizations she represents, Familia QTLM and GetEQUAL, was echoed yesterday when 35 Congresspeople signed a letter sent to ICE demanding the agency release LGBTQ immigrants out of concern for their safety.
" -

I have a few problems with the reaction from the President and the attendees that for their respective reactions to Gutiérrez. I again state that, yes it may have been the wrong venue, but this reaction from the POTUS and how the media portrayed it is very problematic. Not that his reaction was unwarranted, he may need to re - examine his reaction and reach out to her. I mean this whole scene was crazy, it was a sea of White people, a lot of men and specks of Black folks. It was truly representative of what People of Color have been saying all along: it is dominated by White men with money and access.

I mean LOOK at this mess!!! WTF

I mean it was the epitome of male, masculine, patriarchal, White & cis privilege wrapped up in a Transphobic bow for your viewing disgust. THIS MUST CHANGE, Trans lives matter and they should matter to everyone!

POTUS reaction:

Here is the POV of what was actually said to the President:

My message to people who may read this blog post is that you should dig a little deeper before haphazardly posting a hateful Facebook status....Trans lives matter!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#ITLQBM - The Side Effects of Charleston (Pt 2): White Privilege, Nigger & Confederacy

Intersectionality Through the Lens of a Queer Black Man

In part one I listed some terms for your reference as you progress through this series of blog posts. Before listing some of those terms I expressed that "As a Black person I am constantly subjected to systemic and structural racism." The Black community is constantly subjected to the harshest of policies that are rooted in racist structures and systems that are less obvious than the use of racial slurs any actions a racist individual or group may take. Then when we try to talk about what we experience and use words like "nigger" in context, we get told that we are wrong and how to identify what we experience by people who have never been in our position.

***In an earlier post "Get out of my way Nigger" I talked about an experience with racism...***

Later in this post I will discuss the confederacy in depth in some ways and not so much in others, for now I would like to take the time to suggest that every level of government trigger an audit of all laws, statutes, executive orders & ordinances. This suggested audit would have the expressed purpose to update  and ensure compliance to SCOTUS rulings, federal regulations and updated laws as it pertains to civil rights. For too long, we have gone without protections for voting rights (voter ID laws) and a host of other rights that are under attack at the current moment. Aside from that, I just simply want it to be known that we must all learn our privileges, prejudices and isms. I recently have spent a lot of my time calling folks out on their White Privilege only to get push back due to the perceived idea that I am implying that all White people are racist. I, and many others do not think this way at all... As shared in part one of this series "White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances."

A lively discussion on White Privilege:

Another post after POTUS made his statement on race:

Here is what President Obama had to say:

You can find the podcast here...

Now do I need to repeat what you just read? Or can I move on to how racism has permeated government? I am glad you said yes. Lets start with the confederate flag shall we, I have always thought that it should be in the Smithsonian in an area where the stories of past wars with foreign countries are housed. Why should anyone want to honor the "heritage" of a flag that was meant to destroy the opportunity to free slaves and lay the constitution to waste. This group of states separated and formed a new nation and therefore the only place they have in American history is as treasonous criminals. The most blatant example of systemic and structural racism is the confederate flag...

The confederate flag as a symbol of structural and systemic racism:

"It is no accident that Confederate symbols have been the mainstay of white supremacist organizations, from the Ku Klux Klan to the skinheads. They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty. They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals: 'that the negro is not equal to the white man'. The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate. But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?" - Historian Gordon Rhea

Present day we have schools, streets, monuments and institutions named after confederate figures; state songs that honor the confederacy. States even incorporate it in their flags if they don't fly it next to their more recent adopted representation for their respective states.

States that incorporate the confederacy into their flag design:


The red cross of the Alabama flag, adopted in 1895, was designed to evoke the battle flag of the Alabama infantry in the Civil War.

The Arkansas state flag was officially adopted in 1913, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State. There were initially three blue stars "representing that Arkansas belonged to three countries (France, Spain, and the United States) before attaining statehood." The secretary of state noted "1803 was the year of the Louisiana Purchase when the land that is now Arkansas was acquired by the United States; and Arkansas was the third state created from the purchase by the United States, after Louisiana and Missouri." But 10 years later, trouble brewed when legislators realized that "there was no indication on the flag the Arkansas had been a member of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865." So a fourth star was added, above the word Arkansas.

Florida's flag is similar to Alabama's, consisting of a state seal over a red cross. The cross was added to the flag a few years after Alabama adopted its flag, at the suggestion of Governor Francis P. Fleming. Fleming had enlisted in the Confederate army in his youth, and some historians see his choice of the cross as an attempt to memorialize the confederacy.


Georgia's flag has a long and complicated history. The Confederate battle flag was incorporated in to the state flag's design in 1956, a symbol of the state's opposition to racial integration, according to a report by the state Senate in 2000. The design was changed by the legislature in 2001, over the stiff opposition of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and other groups. In 2002, Sonny Perdue was elected Governor of Georgia, partly by promising voters a referendum on the new flag. In the end, the legislature changed it to a new design: it consists of the first national flag of the Confederacy (the "Stars and Bars") with the addition of the Georgia seal.

Mississippi remains the only state incorporating the Confederate battle flag into its state flag design. It was adopted in 1894.

In 2001, a voter referendum was held to determine whether to keep the existing flag, or to adopt a new flag design removing Confederate elements. Voters opted to keep the existing flag by nearly a two-to-one margin.

North Carolina:

The current North Carolina state flag was adopted in 1885. It closely resembles the flag adopted in 1861, shortly after North Carolina seceded from the Union. The first date on the flag, May 20, 1775, is the date of the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration, a purported statement of independence from Great Britain that happened in North Carolina, although the exact nature of the declaration is disputed.

But during the Civil War, Southern secessionist leaders evoked the Mecklenburg Declaration as a parallel to the South's declaration of independence from the North. Addressing a crowd in Charlotte, N.C., Jefferson Davis is reported to have said "people of this section were the first to defy British authority and declare themselves free."

In the original flag, the second date was May 20th, 1861 -- the date of North Carolina's withdrawal from the Union. In 1885, that date was changed April 12, 1776 -- the date of the Halifax resolves, when North Carolina officially called for independence from Great Britain.

The Tennessee Legislature adopted the current flag in 1905. In a 2013article, vexillologist Steven A Knowlton argues that "the Tennessee flag has pragmatic unity with the Confederate flag: both share the element of white stars inside a fimbriated blue charge, and the element of that blue charge on a red field." He also notes a resemblance between the flag's vertical bars and the vertical bar of the third national flag of the Confederacy.

South Carolina:

Holidays, Monuments & Songs

Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day (Tennessee) and Confederate Heroes Day(Texas), is an official holiday and/or observance day in a number of states in the Southern United States as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

List of monuments and memorials of the Confederate States of America TOO FUCKING MANY!!!
Songs JEEZ!!!

In a nutshell, all states should trigger a review for anything related to the confederacy and scrub them.
- Rename streets
- Remove holidays
- Remove monuments
- Ban Flags & other memorabilia

#ITLQBM - The Side Effects of Charleston (Pt 1)

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015 news broke that a shooting took place at a historic church in South Carolina. I had noticed it while doing school work and reading, it wasn't until I looked up to see what really happened. 

"At around 9:05 p.m. EDT on June 17, 2015, the Charleston Police Department responded to calls of a shooting at Emanuel AME Church. A man described as white, with sandy-blond hair, around 21 years old and 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) in height, wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans, opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun on a group of people inside the church at a Bible study attended by Pinckney. The shooter then fled. The shooting was the largest mass murder at an American place of worship, alongside a 1991 mass shooting at a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona.

For nearly an hour prior to the attack, the shooter had been present and participating in the Bible study. A total of thirteen people attended the Bible study, including the shooter. According to the accounts of people who talked to survivors, the shooter asked for Pinckney and sat down next to him, initially listening to others during the study. He started to disagree when they began discussing Scripture. Eventually he stood up and pulled a gun from a fanny pack, aiming it at 87-year-old Susie Jackson. Jackson's nephew, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, tried to talk him down and asked him why he was attacking churchgoers. The shooter responded, "I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country. And you have to go." When he expressed his intention to shoot everyone, Sanders dove in front of Jackson and was shot first. The suspect then shot the other victims, all the while shouting racial epithets. He also reportedly said, "Y'all want something to pray about? I'll give you something to pray about." He reloaded his gun five times. Sanders' mother and his five-year-old niece, both attending the study, survived the shooting by pretending to be dead."

It was on this night that the discussion of race, the confederacy, mental health of the Black community and a host of other under lying issues that have always been around came to the fore front. Race and racism became a big deal in response to my and many other posts by People of Color and there were reactions by our White counterparts that ranged from ally to extremely sensitive "I am not a racist reactions. I called someone out on their White Privilege and they claimed that I was calling them racist. While racism and privilege tend to intersect, it does not mean that all White people are racist. ALL White people have White Privilege, this is NOT a diagnosis, it is a FACT.

While some some may not see inequality among the races here in the United States, it does exist. Last week's event exposed something that never ceased to exist within the social fabric of our country. As a Black person I am constantly subjected to systemic and structural racism. I know that I have said a mouth full, so before I go any further, here are some terms:

Race is a social concept, is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics.

Racism is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.

White supremacy or white supremacism is a form of racism centered upon the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore whites should politically, economically and socially rule non-whites.

The Confederate States of America (CSA or C.S.), commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized confederation of secessionist American states existing from 1861 to 1865. It was originally formed by seven slave states in the Lower South region of the United States whose regional economy was mostly dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system of production which in turn largely relied upon slave labor.

The order of secession resolutions and dates are:

1. South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
2. Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
3. Florida (January 10)
4. Alabama (January 11)
5. Georgia (January 19)
6. Louisiana (January 26)
7. Texas (February 1; referendum February 23)
– Ft. Sumter (April 12) and Lincoln's call up (April 15)
8. Virginia (April 17; referendum May 23, 1861)
9. Arkansas (May 6)
10. Tennessee (May 7; referendum June 8)
11. North Carolina (May 20)

For now I will leave you all with this post to marinate on, and In part two I will tie all of these terms and then some together...


Monday, June 22, 2015

A Survivor's Guide to HIV - THE BASICS

Many times I find myself receiving questions from people who are newly diagnosed and people who have had HIV for an extended period of time. For me it had been an easy transition when I found out that I was HIV positive and I attribute that to my being educated earlier than others. I came out when I was fifteen years old and in that time I had the pleasure of finding the Gay & Lesbian Community Center and the No AIDS Task Force. It was there where I got formally educated about HIV and my first HIV test, which was an OraQuick mouth swab (keep in mind that this was 1999). A lot of things have changed since then and even in the time I was diagnosed in 2008, we now have PREP and PEP which is more widely available. The odd thing about PREP is that people had been unofficially taking it for a while before the mainstream prevention and treatment community caught on to it.

Honestly, I have ONE BIG RESERVATION ABOUT PREP, there is no HIV 101 in many places and that means there is a weakness to challenging stigmas surrounding HIV. Lets be honest about who we are, a lot of us like to fuck raw and then bash those who are open about it. We do not live in a sex positive society and act like sexual puritans. The TRUTH is that we all know someone with an HIV diagnosis and will ignorantly act as if we don't. Let me make a correction in course, HIV 101:

HIV - stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life.

AIDS - HIV disease becomes AIDS when your immune system is seriously damaged. If you have less than 200 CD4+ cells or if your CD4 percentage is less than 14%, you have AIDS.

TRANSMISSION - Only certain fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur. Mucous membranes can be found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.

In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by

Having sex with someone who has HIV. In general:
- Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior. Receptive anal sex (bottoming) is riskier than insertive anal sex (topping).
- Vaginal sex is the second highest-risk sexual behavior.
- Having multiple sex partners or having other sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of infection through sex.
Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (works) used to prepare injection drugs with someone who has HIV.


- Seroconversion is the period of time during which HIV antibodies develop and become detectable.
- Seroconversion generally takes place within a few weeks of initial infection.
- It is often, but not always, accompanied by flu-like symptoms including fever, rash, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms are not a reliable way to identify seroconversion or to diagnose HIV infection.


The Body
Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Friday, June 19, 2015

JUNETEENTH - A Reason to Celebrate

-152 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. 
-150 years since Texas slaves were granted freedom.

Today is Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day." It's a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was on this date in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to spread the word that slavery had been abolished. Of course, the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect some two and a half years earlier, in January 1863; most Confederate states ignored it until they were forced to free their slaves by advancing Union troops.

From the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, General Gordon read the contents of General Order Number Three: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

Galveston's former slaves celebrated that day, and formal Juneteenth festivities were held in other parts of Texas on the first anniversary. Celebrations of the holiday have waxed and waned over the years; today, Juneteenth is celebrated in communities all over the country, and as of April 2012, it's officially recognized as a holiday by the governments of 42 of the United States. Observances often include a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and performances of traditional African-American music, dancing, and literature.

Here is what that means to me as a descendant of slaves, I WILL PROTECT MY COMMUNITIES TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. In doing so, I shouldn't have to choose between being Black & Gay because I was born with both traits. Because I am willing to take a stand like many others, I worked with a group of friends who represented a spectrum of groups within the SGL-BT/LGBT community. We were already in a uproar that Pride Houston moved the location of the Pride festivities to downtown from Montrose, even more livid when we realized the date change to June 19, 2015 from the traditional date that falls on Stonewall weekend. To ensure that the Black community and Juneteenth would be fully respected, we to met with three of the board members from Pride Houston and  that lead to the sequence of posts, actions and events below:

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
Seeing as I need no permission to speak my mind AS AN INDIVIDUAL Pride Houston LGBT Pride Houston Celebration has really pissed me off, I along with many others met with them about 3 weeks ago in hopes to stave of the disaster of having the Pride celebration the same weekend as Juneteenth. It is utterly disrespectful to the BLACK SGL-BT community that they did not know about let alone research any conflicts the new date change would cause and how it would affect/effect others in the community at large. NOW, yet again I a BLACK man am forced to choose between being in the BLACK AND LGBT communities when IN FACT I am very much so a part of BOTH. YES it is business and that means that there is a bottom line....I PROMISE you that this is not over by any means ...... ‪#‎RESPECTtheDATE‬‪#‎PrideNEEDSfixin‬

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
past parade dates back to 1994:
2014: 28
2013: 29
2012: 23
2011: 25
2010: 26
2009: 27
2008: 28
2007: 23
2006: 24
2005: 25
2004: 26
2003: 28
2002: 29
2001: 24
2000: 24
1999: 26
1998: 28
1997: 28
1996: 23
1995: 25, a Sunday
1994: 12, a Sunday, held to not conflict with NYC's Stonewall 25
TransGriot: PRIDE Houston, What Were You Thinking?
News, opinions, commentary, history and a little creative writing from a proud African-American transwoman about the world around her.

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 
DEAR BLACK LGBTQ/SGL-BT show up to this meeting and SPEAK UP! Pay attention those of you who attend LGBT Pride Houston Celebration every year! It is the same weekend of Junteenth, I dont like that at all...AND if you dont, I SUGGEST YOU BE THERE.
The Pride Perspective
Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:00pm
83 people went

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · Edited · 

This was a letter written to LGBT Pride Houston Celebration and read during a meeting on October 22, 2014 in which three board members met with Myself Fran Watson Kim Watson Marshella AbramsMelanie Espinosa PangMichael C. Webb Jr. Tarah Taylor Synthia Yr Walton Christina Gorczynski and Ryan M Leach:

As Black LGBT and allied leaders and activists, we strongly and collectively oppose the June 20, 2015 date of the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration. We urge Pride Houston to move the celebration to June 27, 2015. Holding the Pride eon June 20th is a mistake for several reasons, but the top two reasons are 1) it directly interferes with Juneteenth, the oldest known nationally recognized celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the US and 2) it undermines the meaning of the Pride celebration, which at its core commemorates the Stonewall riots, the catalyst for the LGBT movement we know today. The effect of not moving the June 20 date will be disastrous, as it will erode the relationship built among the LGBT community and communities of color, specifically the Black community.

The erosion of these relationships will be detrimental to the Houston LGBT community with respect to the fight to keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Opponents of the ordinance have vilified it since its inception stating in hateful terms that the ordinance is an underhanded means to grant more rights to LGBT persons while denying others. Because leaders from the mainstream black community feel they were not consulted, they were inclined to believe this false rhetoric of the HERO opposition. It took many long nights from LGBT and allied leaders to correct that misinformation. By holding the Pride celebration the same weekend of the Juneteenth celebration, communities of color will likely be inclined again to believe the misinformation, thereby unraveling community trust and HERO support.

Politics aside, maintaining the June 20 date excludes the Black LGBT community. At the very least, Black LGBT persons are put in a situation where they have to choose whether to celebrate Pride or Juneteenth with the corresponding communities. Far too often, people who live an intersected life must choose which part of their identity fits the occasion. During the Pride celebration, people, including those who live at those intersections, are able to bring their whole selves to the celebration. Why? Because the LGBT community contains all races, abilities, and identities. Moving the date to June 27the maintains the tradition of inclusiveness, something the LGBT community is continuously striving to attain.

Practically speaking, moving the date now will not cause any confusion and doing so quietly will prevent community uprisings. At this time, the June 27 date is free, which means the process to change it should be simple. However, not changing the date will definitely cause more problems than necessary.

So again, we urge you to move the Pride celebration back to the last Saturday of June, specifically June 27, 2015.

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · Edited · 
Letter received from Pride Houston close to three weeks after our 10/22/14 meeting...
"November 11, 2014
Re: Request to move the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration
To Whom It May Concern:
The Board of Directors for Pride Houston® have discussed in length the recent request to move the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration® from Saturday, June 20, 2015 to the following week on Saturday, June 27, 2015 by a group of local individuals that are unassociated with any one (1) local group. With a 6-2 vote the Board of Directors have decided to continue with the current date of Saturday, June 20, 2015 for the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration.
There have been previous instances where the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration has fallen on the third weekend in June around the 20th of the month and similar requests were not made during those instances. Furthermore, a substantial amount has already been invested into the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration for its current date that would un-recoupable which can be crucial for any non-profit organization. As was recently confirmed by the Mayor’s office of Special events, currently on June 20, 2015 the only parade listed is set to begin at 10:00 AM CST and end around 11:00 AM CST. With the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration beginning its parade beginning at 8:30 PM CST it would show minimal impact on that parade. Pride Houston is willing to work with any organization that could be producing a parade on the same date so that both can be equally marketed and supported by the Houston community.
Pride Houston also hosts public production meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of every month where our volunteers discuss logistics, its events and of course the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration. This has been an ongoing tradition for over 15 years and would be an excellent opportunity for those not associated with the organization to observe, provide external insight, brainstorm new ideas and even volunteer for the organization. For more information on these meetings please email
Frankie Quijano President and Chief Executive Officer Pride Houston, Inc.
The march on the steps of City Hall against Anita Bryan in 1977 is widely known as Houston's “Stonewall Movement”, so the legacy that began in downtown will continue on in downtown Houston in 2015."
Now these are the past parade dates back to 1994:
2014: 28
2013: 29
2012: 23
2011: 25
2010: 26
2009: 27
2008: 28
2007: 23
2006: 24
2005: 25
2004: 26
2003: 28
2002: 29
2001: 24
2000: 24
1999: 26
1998: 28
1997: 28
1996: 23
1995: 25, a Sunday
1994: 12, a Sunday, held to not conflict with NYC's Stonewall 25
See it?…/pride-houston-juneteenth-p…

Ashton P. Woods
November 12, 2014 · 

"...What involvement has the African American community been part of in past the events...."
We attend Pride Houston LGBT Pride Houston Celebration faithfully and spend our money at this event....THIS IS WHAT THEY THINK OF US
‪#‎CHANGEtheDATE‬ ‪#‎RESPECTus‬ ‪#‎RespectJuneteenth‬
Ashton P. Woods's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
The winds of Media ‪#‎PRIDEneedsFIXIN‬ ‪#‎RespectJUNETEENTH‬ ‪#‎WeEXIST‬
Houston, We Have A Pride Problem |News | Towleroad
Houston, We Have A Pride Problem -- News |-- Gay Pride, Houston, Texas

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
Ashton P. Woods's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
A MESSAGE TO LGBT Pride Houston Celebration Pride Houston from theHarris County Democratic Party

‪#‎RespectJuneteenth‬ ‪#‎CHANGEtheDATE‬
Harris County Democratic Party
As a participating organization in both Juneteenth festivities and the Houston GLBT Pride Parade, the Harris County Democratic Party understands the importance of both events to the citizens of Houston and the surrounding regions.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was the day when slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom was finally granted.
The Houston GLBT Pride celebration has traditionally been held near the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, where GLBT people unified and stood against police raids and brutality.
Both celebrations are significant and the fact that so many people want the freedom to celebrate both demonstrates the rich cultural diversity of the Harris County region.
At a time when voting rights remain under attack and violence against people of color and GLBT people continues to occur, Democrats should continue embracing diversity and honor history.
The Harris County Democratic Party urges the leadership of Pride Houston to reconsider their decision to hold the GLBT Pride Festival and Parade on Juneteenth weekend.

Jolanda Jones
November 13, 2014 · 
Thank u Almeda 4 sending this out today & paying attention 2 the worker bees in our community. I appreciate u. Another update: Since Almeda sent this out, Pride Houston has said they will reconsider moving the parade date. Also I spoke of this issue at the Democratic Brown Bag Luncheon this afternoon 2 apprise Democrats of this important matter & I'm happy 2 say that the Democrats in the meeting were supportive of us & Chairman Lane Lewis shortly thereafter sent out his press release in favor of Pride Houston reconsidering their parade date. I'd also like thank Michael Harris, Ashton Woods & Tarah Taylor 4 giving me the information I needed 2 run with the ball. ‪#‎Juneteenth‬ ‪#‎PrideHoustonReconsideration‬ ‪#‎Awesome‬‪#‎ThxKeithWade‬ ‪#‎ThxBradPritchett‬ ‪#‎ThxKristenCapps‬ ‪#‎ThxMaverickWelsh‬@jonesjolanda @survivorjolanda Jolanda Jones
Dear Friends,
Good afternoon everyone. I'm happy to announce that former council member Jolanda Jones has been working diligently behind the scenes to get this issue resolved related to PRIDE Houston setting their parade on June 20th. She has been able to make tremendous strides. She worked with GLBT organizations to get their support of our African American community. She's also been working with the mayor's office to get them to be supportive of moving the PRIDE parade to a date that does not conflict with Juneteenth. The date that the parade should be the weekend of June 27th because the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is actually June 28, 1969.
She also spoke to Harris County Democratic Chairman Lane Lewis about this issue to try to get him to take a stand in favor of the PRIDE Parade being moved to the actual weekend of the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Jolanda notified us about the PRIDE Houston monthly public meeting tonight which is at 7 o'clock at the Montrose Center, 401 Barnard St., Houston, TX 77006. She's the one who encouraged us all to come and be heard.
So just to give an update I'm thankful that someone notified Former Council Member Jones about this problem because the moment she got involved she got things moving. Per the Council Member the GLBT organizations that she spoke with were immediately supportive of moving the parade and trying to figure out how they could be helpful to us. The only organization at this point that seems not to understand is PRIDE Houston. Council Member Jones informs me that our attendance and participation at the meeting tonight will be the first step to getting PRIDE Houston to do what's right for the African American and GLBT community. If they don't get it then she is helping to organize a boycott of the PRIDE Houston sponsors.
This reminds me of how she always fought for us on city council. I hope to see everyone tonight at the meeting so that our voices will be heard.
Almeda Dent
— with Edward Pollard and 11 others.

Jeffry Faircloth
November 13, 2014 · 
At the Pride Houston town hall meeting. The committee has announced that they have now changed the date to the traditional date of the 4th Saturday of June. Good news. — with Robert Kory Shipman and 5 others at The Montrose Center.

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · 
BREAKING LGBT Pride Houston Celebration HAS BEEN MOVED TO JUNE 27th 2015!

Ashton P. Woods
November 13, 2014 · Edited · 
2015 Houston pride parade date moved after uproar from community over its overlap with...
The initial date set by the Pride Houston's Board overlapped with Houston's Juneteenth parade. But it moved the date Thursday after board members admitted they did not...

Mark Eggleston
November 13, 2014 · 

Very thankful that Pride Houston has decided to honor Juneteenth and reschedule the 2015 Pride Parade to June 27. ABC13 news segment — with Jacques Bourgeois and Ashton P. Woodsat The Montrose Center.
Mark Eggleston's photo.

Ashton P. Woods
November 14, 2014 · Edited · 
Communities clash over Juneteenth, Pride parades
The City of Houston's Pride Parade typically takes place the last Saturday of June, but Houston Pride Inc. board members told Local 2 they wanted to move the date up a week next year.