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TOWN MEETING I - JUNE 25, 1978

Town Meeting I was the centerpiece of Houston's first formal celebration of Gay Pride Week. Prior to the Anita Bryant protest the homosexual community was found at bars and house parties but was largely silent in the greater community; at the end of that protest, there was a community that had found common goals and aspirations and was ready to voice them.

Ray Hill, with others, conceptualized a Town Meeting that would begin
a community dialogue and motivate gay people into a viable political force working for equal rights and privileges. The event was coordinated by the Gay Political Caucus. It was the first politically oriented homosexual meeting in the United States (Houston Chronicle). Four-thousand people attended the meeting at the Astro Arena and it made the news on the front pages of both Houston Sunday papers and also on television.

Former Texas State Representative, gubernatorial candidate, and later vice-presidential nominee, Sissy Farenthold was the keynote speaker. Her words spoke directly to the meeting's resolutions regarding civil rights, health, and safety: "We are none of us free unless we all are free. We cannot open the door to some minorities while denying access to others."

Ginny Apuzzo, of the National Gay Task Force, chaired the meeting. The concerns of Houston's gay community were outlined in 13 propositions addressing job security, police action against gays, health care, and the repeal of the Texas sodomy statute.

Town Meeting I resulted in the creation of: the Montrose Counseling Center, the Montrose Activity Center, the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, the Hispanic Caucus, the Montrose Sports Association. A resolution was passed to form an alliance with Transgender individuals.

The closing speaker, Donald Embinder, publisher of Blueboy magazine emphasized that the vast majority of non-gay people are supportive of human rights, including full equal rights for Gay people.
(LXIX: Volume 1 No. 22, June 30 - July 7)