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JACK VALINSKI

When Jack Valinski moved to Houston in 1981 he was a Republican and in the closet, but that did not last long. He came to work for ABC affiliate, 97 Rock, now Mix 96.5. He began listening to the KPFT show Wilde-N-Stein and its host Ray Hill and was soon volunteering to run the audio board. In 1982 Valinski moved into one of the roles as host and producer. This has been his longest continuing thread of activism in Houston.

The Wilde-N-Stein show lasted until being cancelled by the station on 11/30/92, along with the women's show Breakthrough. After much protesting from the community KPFT allowed another show debuting March 5, 1993, named Lesbian & Gay Voices, which changed its name to Queer Voices in January 2002, and this show remains to this day, with Valinski as Executive Producer. On the show Valinski has been a quiet leader and is an expert interviewer, definitely gravitating to the politics of the gay community.

And he could not help but being involved in Houston's political groups. He's been a long-time member of the GLBT Political Caucus, has been a past Vice-President and an Executive Board member, and has been honored with several awards by the Caucus over the years. He's also been honored by the Texas Human Rights Foundation and the Houston Equal Rights Alliance. He was deeply involved for many years with the Montrose Activity Center (MAC) and was its newsletter editor.

It was with MAC that the Houston Pride Parade got its beginning, as a sub-project. Valinski had many roles in Pride over his roughly 23 years of involvement, ranging from overseeing the media to being Executive Director, and he helped shepherd the group to become its own organization. A proud accomplishment was when the Parade became a nighttime event in 1997. He was named Male Grand Marshal for the 2007 Pride Parade. Never far from politics, his current job is as Community Liaison with the Mayor's Office for the City of Houston.