Houston LGBT History Timeline

1970s

Year

In Houston/Texas

Other Events in United States
1970

Integrity/Houston founded in Feb 1970, as a service and fellowship organization.

KPFT went on the air, the home of diversity programming, with many shows over the years, like Wilde N Stein, Breakthrough, After Hours and Queer Voices

August. The Nuntius. The first Houston community gay newspaper, published by Phil Frank (real name: Floyd Paxton Goff) and it was a good mix of local news, gossip, drag and bar information. By October 1972 it had merged with the Dallas publication Our Community, with both names on the cover. Last known issue was October 1976.

Fall. Formation of the Gay Liberation Front. Lasting a couple years its heavily leftist philosophy was not well received in Houston. It was loosely associated with the University of Houston, but did not have university sanction.

Gayboy was a Houston-based pubication, borderline pornographic, begun in 1970 by Anaco Publishing and Editor Ray Houston. There were six issues through 1972.

September. The bar Briar Patch opened, and was in business until the Spring of 2005.

Noted gay activist Morris Kight, a Texan living in Los Angeles, was responsible for the first Remember Stonewall vigil. A“Gay-In” that took place on June 27, 1970.

The American Library Association GLBT Round Table was founded in 1970 as the Task Force on Gay Liberation and is considered the nation's first gay, lesbian & bisexual professional organization

The Advocate estimates that there are approximately 6,817,000 gays and lesbians living in the United States

July 2. The Fifth Biennial Convention of the Lutheran Church in America expresses its opposition to discrimination and oppression of gay men and lesbians

July 4. The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association becomes the first mainstream religious group in the US to recognize publicly the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual clergy and laity among its members and to demand "an end to all discrimination against homosexuals."

July 25. The Vatican issues a statement reminding the faithful that the Roman Catholic Church considers homosexuality a moral aberration

Huey Newton, leader of the Black Panthers, publicly states his "solidarity" with the "Gay Power" movement. He declared: "Whatever your personal opinion and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals, we should try to unit with them in a revolutionary fashion. We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people."

1971

March. "Mary's...Naturally," an iconic bar and for a time Houston's oldest continuously open gay bar, closing in 2009. Also see...

L.U.E.Y. (Let Us Entertain You) founded by the Texas Riders in order to 'keep the party going' for individuals returning from Mardi Gras in New Orleans." It officially became an annual event in 1973, under the organization Houston Council of Clubs.

January 1971. The New York Times Magazine includes a groundbreaking seven-page essay by writer Merle Miller entitled "What It Means to Be a Homosexual."

Seven lesbians, including Barbara Gittings, break new ground on US Television when they appear on The David Susskind Show.

Andy Warhol's play "Pork" opened. The cast included a sixteen-year-old drag queen named Harvey Fierstein. See this link for a lot more info on Warhol.

First gay community center opened in L.A.

Exiled Texan Jim Kepner began to make the documents and memorabilia he had been amassing available to researchers. This ultimately became the International Gay and Lesbian Archives, consisting of over 25,000 books, as well as many thousands of other items. Kepner's archives were merged with the collection of the ONE Institute in 1994

The Gay Book Award Debuts

The state of Idaho repeals the sodomy law - Then re-instates the repealed sodomy law because of outrage among mormons and Roman Catholics

The newly formed Libertarian Party calls for the repeal of all victimless crime laws, including the sodomy laws

1972

Houstonians participate in the Dallas Gay Pride Parade. Houstonians helped sponsor this, the first Pride Parade in Texas

Oct 1972. Montrose Gaze, Houston’s first gay community center, opens it’s doors.

Nov 1972. Four female members of the Circle of Friends, tired of the "sexism of that organization," formed the Dallas Chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis.

October 5. First "gay marriage" in Texas, between Billy Ert (dressed in female attire) and Antonio Molina. It was not legal but got a whole lot of attention.

Delaware decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

Inner Circle Dinner

Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes the first U.S. city to pass a broad gay civil rights law. The city council passes the city's human right code making discrimination against gays in housing, public accommodation, and employment illegal throughout the city.

At the 1972 Democratic National Convention, two openly lesbian and gay delegates, Madeline Davis and Jim Foster made history when they gave a televised address before the convention. Click to find Madeline Davis interview and spotlight

Washington, D.C.'s first Pride Parade

San Francisco bar Twin Peaks Saloon founded by two lesbians was the first gay bar to have floor-to-ceiling windows, so that passers-by could see the inside

National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in New York. Within three years, more than 5,500 members in 10 US chapters receive what is probably the earliest bisexual newsletter, The Bisexual Expression

The first chapter of PFLAG founed in New York City. See link for local clippings.

1973
Representatives from the Houston Gay Political Coalition (a precursor to the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus) appear before Houston City Council. Coalition members unsuccessfully request the last week in June be declared Gay Pride Week.

First meeting of the Sexuality and Lesbianism Task Force takes place at the Milam Steet Women's Center in Houston.

September 20, 1973 - In their so-called "battle of the sexes", tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome

Marion Pantzer and Lynn Hornaday opened the long-running lesbian club named Just Marion & Lynn's in September, with original location at 817 Fairview, and then in Oct 1984 moving to 903 Richmond, closing in 1987. Marion was killed during a robbery on March 11, 1986.

Oct.15, Bruce Voeller, Dr. Howard Brown, Ron Gold and Nath Rockhill found the National Gay Task Force in New York City

Six-hundred gay men and lesbians joined hands and formed a chain across the George Washington Bridge in New York City to protest discrimination against homosexuals

The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, Transgenderism, however, remains listed as a mental disability, termed "gender dysphoria," to this day.

Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle Is Published

Dignity becomes a national organization.

An anti-transgender backlash causes activists to physically prevent Sylvia Rivera from speaking at the Stonewall commemoration in New York, and Beth Elliot, a lesbian transsexual woman who had once been vice president of the San Francisco chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis was ejected from the West Coast Lesbian Conference in Los Angeles.

The Gay Raiders, a Philadelphia-based activist group, led a national campaign to change the TV networks’ portrayal of gays and lesbians. The group’s most famous “zap” took place in 1973 when activist Mark Segal (now publisher of Philadelphia Gay News) interrupted the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite bearing a placard that read, “Gays protest CBS bigotry.”

1974

May 25-27. The 7th National NOW Conference held in Houston

Houstonian Harla Kaplan starts a NOW task force on sexuality and lesbianism.

Mayes v. Texas The first challenge to Houston's "cross-dressing" law

March. The Metropolitan Community Church Gay Bible Study Group (which evolved into Resurrection MCC) rented a storefront at 2020 Waugh.

March. Henry McClurg began his several decade publishing career with Contact in March 1974, lasting 17 issues until absorbed by The Advocate in late 1975.

June 21. First Texas Gay Conference was formed in late 1973 and held in Fort Worth. Succeeding events were held annually through 1982, rotating in different cities around the state to organize political activism. Conferences featured national speakers See this link for the programs.

AT&T is the first major American corporation to agree to an equal opportunity policy for lesbians and gay men

The first federal gay rights bill is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Equality Act of 1974, would have amended the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by adding "sexual orientation” to the list of those protected from discrimination

Jan Morris's Conundrum is published, a personal transgender journey

Ohio repeals its sodomy laws

Robert Grant founds the American Christian Cause to oppose the "gay agenda," the beginning of modern Christian politics in America

Episcopal ministry to Gay Christians, Integrity, is founded

Walter Cronkite featured a major segment on gay rights after speaking with Mark Segal, a gay youth activist who had interrupted his broadcast five months earlier

1975

First Garden Party - drag-attired event, fundraising for the community until around 1999

The Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus (Now the HGLBTPC) founded by Pokey Anderson, Keith McGee, Bill Buie and Hugh Crell. It is the South's oldest GLBT civil rights organization. The Houston Pride Parade was first run by the Houston Political Caucus. Much more info...

The lesbian publication Pointblank Times began in March 1975, founded by Linda Lovell and Alison McKinney, with a large staff including Pokey Anderson. It existed until at least May 1978.

This Week in Texas (TWiT) begins publication. Although many now consider the publication a "bar rag," in the early years it covered much of what was happening in the state concerning the gay community

A press conference is held by Houston’s GLPC. Ray Hill announces that this year will be the last quiet celebration of the Stonewall anniversary in Houston.

August 1. Gary J. Van Ootegham, then the county comptroller, goes before the Harris County Commissioners’ Court and speak out about gay rights

June 20-22. Second Texas Gay Conference, held in San Antonio

June 28. Austin's first Pride Parade

The Montrose Activity Center (MAC) had a long and rocky existence, technically forming in December of 1975 and obtaining a building in 1976 and selling it in 1982 (giving proceeds to the Montrose Counseling Center). It went on, adding the production of the Gay Pride Week events as a subprogram until that spun off into their own organization.

California and Washington decriminalizes same sex acts between consenting adults.

In a change of policy, the U.S. Civil Service Commission decides to consider applications by lesbians and gay men on a case-by-case basis. Previously, homosexuality was grounds for automatic disqualification.

US Army Sgt. Leonard Matlovich is on the cover of Time Magazine with the headline, "I Am a Homosexual."

The National Gay Task Force works on the introduction of the first gay rights bill in the U.S. Congress (HR5452), sponsored by Rep. Bella Abzug.

David Kopay the first professional football player to come out

1976

February. Doonesbury character Andy Lippincott, a classmate of Joanie’s, told her that he was gay. Since the strip was removed from the Houston papers, Ray Hill read it aloud on the radio

Houston's first gay pride parade, an informal march, is held downtown during the afternoon of June 20, sponsored by the University of Houston's Gay Activist Alliance. 300 -400 people attend. Marching with them was a legend of the time Vito Russo

June 18-20. Third Texas Gay Conference held in Houston

Pokey Anderson the first openly lesbian political candidate in a run for neighborhood commissioner

Henry McClurg resumed his publishing with the Montrose Star in July 1976, which morphed into The Star in 1980 and then the Montrose Voice in October 1980.

Colt 45’s founded, a self-styled "Western charity club," doing social and fundraising efforts.

December. Montrose Activity Center (MAC) opened

December 20. Gary Wayne Stock shot and killed by HPD officer at the corner of Fannin and Drew

Janus Information Facility established in Galveston with financial backing from the Erickson Educational Foundation created by Trans pioneer Reed Erickson. This facility provided worldwide information concerning transsexualism and its treatment to anyone attempting to find answers.

Indiana, South Dakota and West Virginia decriminalize private consensual adult homosexual acts

Candidate Jimmy Carter announces that if elected he will support and sign a federal civil rights bill outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians

The first part of the daily serial "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Maupin’s “Tales of the City” featured a transsexual as a main character.

San Francisco - at the second annual convention of Integrity, writer-Priest Malcolm Boyd calls the Church's response to homosexuality a "negative scandal of the Gospel" See Episcopal News Service story here

1977
A planned Pride Parade is cancelled due to a lack of funds. However, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals, and friends respond to a Texas State Bar Association-sponsored appearance by Anita Bryant, the virulently anti-gay Florida orange juice spokesperson and former Miss America. An estimated 12,000 (Jack’s article says est. 6,000, Pokey says est. 3,000) participate in the Anita Bryant Demonstrations. A few weeks later, Houston's gay community held it's first Gay Pride Rally in Cherryhurst Park.

Houston’s Pokey Anderson is one of 14 representatives invited by Jimmy Carter’s Assistant for Public Liaison, Margaret (Midge) Costanza, to go to the White House for the first-ever official White House Meeting between presidential staff and lesbian and gay activists

National Gay Task Force Executive Director Jean O' Leary is appointed to President Carter's International Women's Year Commission and coordinated the passage of sexual preference resolutions at 30 state conferences and the National Womens Conference in Houston, November 18-21, a milestone in making equality for lesbians a key feature of mainstream feminist advocacy

Texas Human Rights Foundation founded by Robert "Mort" Schwab

Charles Gillis and Ken Cyr open the first location of the Wilde 'n' Stein bookstore at 819 Richmond. The first non-pornographic gay and lesbian oriented bookstore in Houston. It relocated twice, from 819 Richmond to 520 Westheimer, and then to 802 Westheimer. Importantly, it also functioned as a community and political center, offering space for community organizations such as Integrity (later Interact), and sheltering for some time the Texas Gay Archives before they merged with the Charles Botts Collection at MCC Resurrection. It closed in 1986.

June 18-19. Fourth Texas Gay Conference held in Austin

January 10, 1977. The Episcopal Church ordains Ellen Marie Barrett. She is the first openly lesbian cleric of any major religious organization in the US

Wyoming decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts

Log Cabin Republicans is formed in Southern California (originally called "Gay Republicans”)

The first gay film festival founded in San Francisco

Renee Richards, a transsexual tennis player, was ruled eligible to play in the women's division by a New York judge

Sandy Stone is "outed" while working for Olivia Records, the first womens' music record label, as a recording engineer. Lesbian activists threaten a boycott of Olivia products and concerts, forcing the company to ask for Stone's resignation.

1978

Feb 1978, though not the first gay bar in that location at 2400 Brazos (there were three before it within three years) the Brazos River Bottom became the iconic country dance bar, closing 35 years later in March of 2013. Many learned to two-step at their weekly dance lessons and it was homebar to the clubs Southern Country and the Rainbow Ranglers.

On Easter Sunday a small party among friends gathered at an apartment complex on Clay Street. The word spread of the event, and the following year they set up a sound system outdoors and sent out invitations. By the early 1990's the party attendance had grown so large that the hosts decided to move to the new outdoor plaza at the Wortham Center downtown on Buffalo Bayou; Bunnies on the Bayou was born.

The Montrose Mining Company opened on March 25, 1978, currently the oldest gay bar in Houston (LaFitte's in Galveston is older). The address housed three other gay clubs from 1971 until 1978, when the Mine made it their home.

April 7. Upfront began publication, a full news souce guided by Gary Von Ooteghem, changing its name to Upfront America in January 1980 and broadening its focus, lasting until January 1981.

May 9. The Lesberadas group formed, to initiate communication between lesbians and gay men.

June 9-11. Fifth Texas Gay Conference held in Dallas

Formal celebration of the first Gay Pride Week in Houston in June with a full schedule of political and social events, including Town Meeting I , held at the AstroArena, a hall adjacent to the Astrodome in what is now Reliant Park. Nearly 3,500 people attend. As a result, integral local service groups, including Gay & Lesbian Switchboard Houston, Montrose Sports Association, and the Montrose Counseling Center, are born.

Coordinating Council of Gay Organizations formed to represent the gay community in Houston.

October. Initially called Parents and Friends of Gays, this group morphed into PFLAG by 1983.

Executive and Professional Association of Houston, EPAH
formed

Harvey Milk helps to defeat a California initiative that would ban gays from teaching in public schools. On November 27, San Francisco Supervisor Dan White assassinates Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.

Spring. National Coalition of Black Gays founded in Columbia, Maryland.

June 25. The Rainbow Flag debuts at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade

May 25, The first "Gay Day" at Disneyland is held. More than 15,000 people attend and it's the largest private party ever held at Disneyland.

1979

The Montrose Counseling Center was founded with a handful of counseling professionals, and a two-room office at 900 Lovett. They obtained non-profit status by the end of the year, adding six more to a part-time staff. The facility moved to 701 Richmond in early 1993 and in June 2007 obtained their own building at 401 Branard. More history.....

July 1. First Official Houston Pride Parade held in Montrose. The parade was followed by a rally at Spotts Park, where 5,000 community members enjoyed music, speeches, dancing, and fireworks.

November. The Montrose Singers, now The Gay Men's Chorus of Houston, founded. See more info...

July. The Montrose Patrol was created to protect citizens from harassment and violence in the streets. About 50 volunteers patrolled the streets, carrying CB radios.

August 17-19. Sixth Texas Gay Conference held in Austin

While the Houston Pride Band began getting together to play in 1978 they really ramped up in the Spring of 1979 to get ready for the March on Washington. They were first the Montrose Marching Band, then the Montrose Symphonic Band, the Lonestar Symphonic band and finally the present name.

October 14. An estimated 100,000 people, with delegations representing every state and tell foreign countries, participate in the first-ever March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

New Jersey decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexuals acts.

Business Week reports that gays control one-fifth of the spendable income in the United States, giving rise to businesses going after the "Pink dollar".

The first Mr. International Leather contest is held. The winner is David Klos

Jerry Falwell forms The Moral Majority

Researchers at Columbia University issue a report that concludes that homosexuality is a result of nurture, not nature ("upbringing and psychological causes").

The National Coalition of Black Gays sponsored a conference in Washington DC, The First Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference.

Johns Hopkins Medical Center closes its Gender Clinic, under the recommendation of new curator, Paul McHugh, John Money's successor and an opponent to both Money's idea of gender as being learned, and Money's support of transsexuals' need to transition. Over the next two decades, many of the other Gender Clinics across North America would follow suit. The closure was justified by pointing to a 1979 report ("Sex Reassignment: Follow-up," published in Archives of General Psychiatry 36, no. 9) by Jon Meyer and Donna Reter that claimed to show "no objective improvement" following male-to-female GRS surgery. This report was later widely questioned and eventually found to be contrived and possibly fraudulent, but the damage had been done.

1940s & Prior
1950s

1960s

1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s