Houston LGBT History Timeline



In Houston/Texas

Other Events in United States
November 17. Phyllis Frye appointed by Mayor Annise Parker as the first out, transgender judge in the nation.  

June 17. Publishing date of an important book by Dale Carpenter, "Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence V Texas."

August. Neon Boots, the largest gay bar in Texas opens in the site of the historic Empire Ballroom, on Hempstead Highway. Though not as centrally located as the Brazos River Bottom (which closed in March 2013 after 35 years) it now fills that void for country dancing.

June 26. In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.

The Pride Parade for the first time in Houston's history was not held in Montrose (route had always been along Westheimer), and instead the event was held downtown. Moving from Montrose was done with a great deal of controversy as the Pride Committee did not consult the community at all and just handed the decision to them. The event however was a success with record attendence (helped along by the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage that week). The committee claimed 700,000 in attendance, though some say a figure in the 200,000 range is more reasonable.

July. Baylor University has made a major change to its student conduct policy, ending its longstanding ban on “homosexual acts.”

November. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), passed by City Council in May of 2014, was immediately challenged by the bible bigots, with petitions, lawsuits and finally getting their way, a place on the November ballot. Deceitful campaigning led to a 63% to 37% loss, repealing the ordinance.

June 26. The Supreme Court announced a decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

January 6. Fran Watson was elected as the first female African-American President of the GLBT Political Caucus. (Jim Cotton was the first male African-American, in 1977, serving only a few months)

November. The Eagle bar opens its new Phoenix Room, celebrating Houston history and ressurecting the iconic Mary's mural, along with other displays. It is believed to be the first dedicated history space within a bar in the country.

January 3. Mike Webb elected as the first genderqueer Caucus President. He had served two years as Vice-President. He technically was the first black man elected to that office, as Jim Cotton succeeded to the office due to a vacancy. March. At A&M, College Station, Bobby Brooks is elected as the first openly gay student body president.
November 24. End of an era....the passing of Houston's Gay Icon Ray Hill at age 78, after over 50 years of maverick activism, our citizen provocateur.  

1940s & Prior