Upfront Newspaper
Houston, Texas
1978 - 1981

This section of this site will feature the late 70's Houston gay newspaper "Upfront," founded by
Gary Van Ooteghem. For better or worse (I think worse) it became Upfront America in 1980,
and lasted only two issues into 1981. There were 68 issues in all.
Below each cover scan will be listed some of the major stories and people in that issue.
Access to the Upfront collection courtesy of U of H LGBT Resource Center.

Also see Upfront Photos, from 1978-79

GARY VAN OOTEGHEM

From "Houston We Have History: The Banner Project"

Born February 2, 1942, Gary van Ooteghem moved to Houston in 1975 to serve as Comptroller of the
Treasury and Harris County Assistant Treasurer. Inspired by Leonard Matlovich, a U.S. soldier resisting
a discharge from the military resulting from his admitted homosexuality, Gary informed his boss that he
intended to appear before the County Commissioners Court at their August 1, 1975 meeting and
propose they adopt a regulation protecting the civil rights of homosexuals.

His boss insisted that he sign a letter acknowledging awareness that he was not to participate in political
activities during business hours. He refused to sign and was consequently dismissed from his job. He
filed against the county for job discrimination and after many years eventually won his suit in 1986.

Reaction from Van Ooteghem was one of wanting his job back, not the money. He told TWT NEWS/
Houston that he would give the money to charity since it was a victory for the community. "I did not
win the reinstatement I had sought and so I really did not win my particular battle. However, the
community did get a 'win' situation out of all of this in that Harris County has been effectively held
accountable in a high court of law for the illegal act of firing a person simply because he was gay."

The publicity surrounding Ooteghem's activism in 1975 caught the attention of a group of LGBT
Houstonians as they were initially founding the Houston Gay Political Caucus. At their invitation,
Gary became the caucus' first president in February of 1976. He was also known for his role in the
organization of the Anita Bryant march, founding the Montrose Activity Center, was at the first meeting
of the Gay Rights National Lobby (Human Rights Campaign), published "Upfront" magazine for three
years and took part in founding Executive and Professional Association of Houston (EPAH). He died
in 2000 at the age of 57 during surgery.


Volume 1-1
4/7/78, PDF

First issue, GPC new President & endorsements, Steve Shiflett, EPAH start,
Coors boycott,
Cuddles bar

Volume 1-2
4/28/78, PDF

Town Meeting I, Pride events announced, Ray Hill, Steve Shiflett, Charles Law, Women's concert

Volume 1-3
5/12/78, PDF

Town Meeting I (TMI), GPC, Human Rights Foundation, MCCR, gays meet Mayor McConn

Volume 1-4
5/26/78, PDF

TMI, Lesberadas, election results, New Ways Ministry, Montrose Sports Association (MSA)

Volume 1-5
6/9/78, PDF

TMI, Montrose Activity Center, Sissy Farenthold, Mickey Leland, GPC, Integrity/Houston

Volume 1-6
6/23/78, PDF

TMI, Ginny Apuzzo, Briggs Amendment, Dallas Texas Gay Conference 5, Gay Chicano Caucus, MSA, Larry Bagneris

Volume 1-7
7/7/78, PDF

TMI, Gay Speakers Bureau, Steve Shiflett Interview, NGTF

Volume 1-8
7/21/78, PDF

TMI Photos Stolen by Radical Feminists, EPAH formed, Ray Hill, Steve Shiflett

Volume 1-9
8/4/78, PDF

HPD Crime Study, Metro Referendum, Matlovich film, Montrose Activity Center (MAC)

Volume 1-10
8/18/78, PDF

Texas Gay Task Force, Midge Costanza, March on Washington announced, Bagneris new GPC head, Gay Bob doll

Volume 1-11
9/1/78, PDF

GPC voter registration, Dignity/Houston, book and theatre reviews, vice squad raids, MAC


Volume 1-12
9/15/78, PDF

GPC anniversary, Chemical Bank, Richmond Ave, MAC, Matlovich, Boys in the Band

Volume 1-14
9/29/78, PDF

Texas Democratic Convention, Prop 6, Judson Robinson, Del Martin, GRNL, UU Church, film Word Is Out
[there was no vol. 13]

Volume 1-15
10/13/78, PDF

Van Ooteghem lawsuit, Prop 6 event w/ Martin, Matlovich, Kopay,
Troy Perry, 21.06,
NGTF, EPAH election

Volume 1-16
10/27/78, PDF

Prop 6 event photos, MAC, John Hill, NGTF,
Tea for 2000,
GPC endorsements
[now up to 20 pages,
lots of ads]

Volume 1-17
11/10/78, PDF


Prop 6 defeat, GPC, Steve Shiflett, election results, Gay Rights National Lobby (GRNL), MAC sells Upfront, NGTF, book review "Loving Someone Gay"

Volume 1-18
11/24/78, PDF


Local gays on TV, Pointblank, UU Church, GPC, book review, secret HPD vice report
(and, Vol 1 is complete
in only 9 months..:)

Volume 2-1
12/8/78, PDF

Van Ooteghem vs Harris County, Montrose murder, Harvey Milk death, MAC benefit, local MCCR LP, Mr Club Houston


Volume 2-2
12/22/78, PDF

Van Ooteghem lawsuit, another Montrose murder, Ray Hill lawsuit,
GPC forum,
MAC tree trimming,
March on Wash plans,
Tea for 2000, GRNL

Volume 2-3
1/12/79, PDF

NGTF, Harvey Britt, March on Washington, Mary Watkins LP, MCCR, book review "Dancer from the Dance," Abortion

Volume 2-4
1/26/79, PDF

March on Washington date set, Patricia Nell Warren appearance, Women's Music, Mardi Gras Houston, Rev Larson new MCCR minister

Volume 2-5
2/9/79, PDF

Ray Hill & Charles Law on the radio, Tea for 2000, Harry Britt interview,
Gay Resource Services
at U of H

Volume 2-6
2/23/79, PDF

GPC elections, Tower Theatre renovation, Texas Gay Task Force, Annella Harrison at U of H, NGTF fundraiser, Dignity meeting, Fanny Farmer

 

Volume 2-7
3/16/79, PDF

March on DC plans, early PFLAG, new home for MCCR, Integrity/Houston 9th anniversary, new NGTF co-director

Volume 2-8
4/04/79, PDF

This issue devoted heavily to photos, and now costs 25¢.
Unknown how successful
charging for the paper was.

Volume 2-9
4/18/79, PDF

Public meeting with Police Chief, Phyllis Frye interview, MAC story, City Hall rally, MAC Marching Band, 24 pages

Volume 2-10
5/2/79, PDF

Westheimer Arts Festival, disension among Nat'l groups re DC March, Sweat Tea Dance

Volume 2-11
5/16/79, PDF

National Women's Music Festival, Pride Parade plans, Galveston, Larry Bagneris, Kathy Whitmire

Volume 2-12
5/30/79, PDF

Pride Week plans, Westmoreland Festival, Larry Bagneris, How to build a float, Wilde 'N' Stein bookstore, Village People
at the Summit

 

 

Was there a Volume 2-13?

No, the Upfront offices were the
victim of malicious burglary on 6/8/79, with $8700 worth of phototypesetting equipment stolen. So, this issue had
to be cancelled. See article on this
on page 4 of the next issue.

Volume 2-14
6/27/79, PDF

Pride Week schedule, Upfront office robbed, film festival, Off the Wall Productions, U of H, Ray Hill on Police Chief Caldwell.
36 pages, in two parts

Volume 2-15
7/11/79, PDF

Packed full of photos from Pride Week, including a few from other cities. 32 pages, with most
full-page ads omitted


Volume 2-16
7/25/79, PDF

MAC foreclosure threat, DC March conference held in Houston,
Los Angeles Pride photos,
anti-gay violence, Ron Paul interview, Weingarten dispute

Volume 2-17 (36 pages)
8/15/79, PDF

GPC man appointed to Dem Party post, MAC troubles, 79 March Freedom Train, play Women Behind Bars, Vecchio photos

Volume 2-18
8/29/79, PDF

Patricia O'Kane named to Police Advisory Board, 6th annual Texas Gay Conference, 10-page Castro Street Fair photo spread, Larry Kramer visit, MAC

Volume 2-19
9/14/79, PDF

March on Washington planning continues, with bus to DC, new women's group The Family of Sisters, PAFOG March plans, MAC follow-up, Gay Fest '79


Volume 2-20
9/28/79, PDF

more March on Washington planning, (of course), Montrose Marching Band, MCCR Festival. Note, once again a free
publication

Volume 2-21
10/12/79, PDF

last issue before MOW, GPC endorsements, Houston Police Chief problems, Montrose Day at Astroworld, gay Hispanics, more Montrose Marching Band

Volume 2-22
10/26/79, PDF

Finally, the March, with Phyllis Frye on the cover, this issue includes extensive photos from the weekend, also as it was election time, lots of political ads.
40 pages, largest issue

Volume 2-23
11/9/79, PDF

more MOW and election
follow-ups, Westheimer Arts Fest, women's music performer Lee McCormick (of More Joy),
Ruth Ravis, Andy Mills

Volume 2-24
11/23/79, PDF

MAC vs Family Center, city election follow-up and run-off, Lance Laylor, MCCR building dedication, Eleanor Tinsley, letters to the editor


Volume 3-1 (32 pages)
12/7/79, PDF

21.06 challenge starts, Don Baker, election wrap-up, xmas tree caper, Westheimer Colony Assn, Pacifica Radio, Rainbow Society of the Deaf, letters to the editor

Volume 3-2
12/21/79, PDF

Don Baker Story, 21.06,
Meg Christian in Houston, Integrity/Houston,
letters, GPC party

Upfront America
January marked the start of a new direction, an attempt at Upfront becoming a national publication, one that, alas, would only last a year.
You could notice the change in focus over the previous few months of 1979. A San Francisco office had opened, with distribution there,
and much of the content was split between San Francisco and Houston, and more National news. Personally, as this page of my site exists
for enabling the research into Houston history, Upfront trying to compete with The Advocate was not the content I wanted.

Volume 1-1
1/4/80, PDF

comprehensive look back at 1979, in other words, Lots of photos
from the last year, MAC/Family schism update

Volume 1-2 (24 pages)
1/18/80, PDF

Meg Christian concert, Gay Hispanic Caucus

Volume 1-3
2/1/80, PDF

Steve Shiflett plans, MAC, GPC meets with Mayor

Volume 1-4
2/15/80, PDF

MAC, GPC election: Shifflet vs Bagneris

Volume 1-5
2/29/80, PDF

Montrose Patrol, Steve Shifflet wins GPC election

Volume 1-6
3/14/80, PDF

Pride Week plans, Shiflett unity efforts, Montrose murder and suicide

 

Volume 1-7
3/28/80, PDF

MAC remodeling, Rainbow Society of the Deaf, FCC ruling

Volume 1-8
4/11/80, PDF

Don Baker & 21.06, GPC resignations & endorsements, Steve Shiflett resigns, Troy Perry in Houston

Volume 1-9
4/25/80, PDF

Lambda Club dissolves, Westheimer Arts Fest,
city election ads

Volume 1-10
05/09/80, PDF

Harry Britt interview, city election results, Van Ooteghem on his job discrimination, Pride poster

Volume 1-11
05/23/80, PDF

essentially no
local content

Volume 1-12
06/05/80, PDF

Publisher Van Ooteghem resigns, Montrose shooting, Pride Week calendar, PFLAG panel

Volume 1-13
06/20/80, PDF

new publisher is J Hardy Williams, Annella Harrison article (PFLAG), Pride Week plans, Lee Harrington new GPC Pres

Volume 1-14 (16 pages)
07/04/80, PDF

Fred Paez killing, 61 arrested in Mary's raid,
Gay Pride photos

Volume 1-15
07/18/80, PDF

Mary's raid, Paez killing follow-up, Austin Women's Festival

Volume 1-16
08/29/80, PDF

Fred Paez task force, Ray Hill sues police, Tea for 2000 - the Bushes

[6-week gap]

Volume 1-17
09/12/80, PDF

GPC pres Harrington streamlines policies, Bushes party recap

Volume 1-18
09/26/80, PDF

discrimination in bars, Mickey Leland stand, Matlovich win,
GPC endorsements

Volume 1-19
10/10/80, PDF

Montrose hate crime victim first person account

Volume 1-20
10/24/80, PDF

Montrose Counseling Center extensive article, Danberg ad

Volume 1-21
11/7/80, PDF

MAC building for sale,
Van Ooteghem wins county lawsuit, GRNL update, Lee Harrington meets Jimmy Carter

Volume 1-22
11/21/80, PDF

BWMT Conference in Houston, photo article on Houston bars,
Neon Woman review

Volume 1-23
12/05/80, PDF

GPC screening process, letters to the editor, Ratshole bar

Volume 1-24
12/19/80, PDF

The Tumblebugs:
cross-dressing history, combatting crime in Montrose

Volume 2-24 (12 pages)
1/2/81, PDF

GPC 6th anniversary, Integrity/Houston,
letters to the editor
Mary's patio, naturally
not sure why not #2-1


Volume 2-2 (16 pages)
1/16/81, PDF

Citizens for Human Equaltiy (CHE) forms, GRNL, Upfront America relocates, Colt 45s

 

January 16, 1981 was the last issue. And you
could tell it was coming, as the number
of pages were diminishing and they just
moved to a smaller office. They also stopped
listing a San Francisco sales office phone
number at the end of August, so distribution
there likely also stopped. Van Ooeteghem
had run out of funds and the paper did not
generate enough to sustain itself. I wonder
if trying to expand to San Francisco hurt
the effort or just postponed the end.


However, turned out Hardy as Publisher only lasted two months,
as Van Ooteghem was again listed, with no explanation;
Hardy was no longer listed as a photographer by late September.
Perhaps
Van Ooteghem had to take it back to try to save it.

below, last masthead