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FAB FIVE / TAKE FIVE

In 1993, Gary Van Ooteghem, Rob Bridges, Gene Harrington, Brian Bradley and Ray Hill, AKA the Fab Five, ran for seats on Houston City Council. The sheer number of gay candidates running for office that year represented a wave of gay activism in Houston Politics never before seen. It signaled that it was "Our Turn" to speak for ourselves. Campaigning for office at dozens of campaign forums, meeting with multitudes of groups and being interviewed
by the media allowed them to be seen as individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and divergent positions. It allowed people to get to know them
as individuals.

Rob Bridges, one of the candidates said, "This race is about speaking for ourselves, and shattering the stereotypes that hold us back as individuals and as a community. Instead of complaining about what we can't do, we are expanding the definition of what we can do. We can run, we can win and we can serve our city as well as or better than any sitting elected official."

Though few caucus-endorsed hopefuls won or made the runoffs, disappointment that the five openly gay candidates for Houston City Council failed to make the runoffs was tempered with an awareness that the gay and lesbian community had gained political strength from having several of its own on the ballot. Gene Harrington told the crowd, "The election tonight is not the issue. We have made our voices heard, and never again will we be silent."

Source: the TWIT October 15 - October 21, 1993 issue
Introduction written by Annise Parker

          

Obituaries: Gary Van Ooteghem, Rob Bridges, Brian Bradley