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Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

Frank Billingsley

Mothers, Marriage, and Meteorology

A closer look at KPRC Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley and his new book Swabbed and Found.

(HOUSTON) — Frank Billingsley is no stranger to the City of Houston. In fact, he’s been in the living rooms of Houstonians for years as KPRC Channel 2’s chief meteorologist—a position he assumed over twenty years ago in 1995. Despite how well we may feel we know him—Frank has never held back from sharing details of his personal life—there are still many things that the public doesn’t know about him.

Many of those details are outlined in Frank’s new book, Swabbed and Found, which chronicles his life not just as a meteorologist, but as a gay man and a child of adoption. The latter recently led Frank upon an incredible, sordid, and sometimes complicated journey to discover better who he is and where he comes from.

I sat down with Frank in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey to discuss the book, his life before this journey, coming out, and, of course, the weather.

Billingsley states that while his sister—who is also adopted—for years yearned to find out more about her birth parents, the need to know about his own had never overwhelmed him. In fact, it wasn’t until his colleague and dear friend, Dominique Sachse, presented him with an email link about biological genealogy testing that he even considered it a possibility. After all, his home state was a closed-records state that didn’t allow for adoption records to be released if requested to remain closed by the birth parents. At least not without “a lot of trouble and a lot of money,” as Frank put it himself in our interview.

“That was the first time that I had realized that it [genealogical science] had become sophisticated enough and that the database had become as big as it is … It’s like a fingerprint. It’s so unique that it can link you to another person.”

Yet, it was that link that led Mr. Billingsley down a road to discovering his birth mother—who he has since met and with whom he has established a relationship. As Frank puts it, “not everybody wants that information,” when it comes to finding the people that put them up for adoption. However, that knowledge led him to a more enlightened state of being—closure even. To hear Frank make a compelling argument on the idea of closure and finality, “Closure is closure. And closure is very often sad. You close life with a funeral. You close relationships with a glass of wine. You close jobs with hugs and tears. But closure is a part of life.”

SF_FNLcvr-683x1024 Frank Billingsley: Mothers, Marriage, and MeteorologyClosure, however, did prove harder for some than others. Billingsley’s aforementioned sister did discover her family, only to find that her birth mother had passed of cancer and that her father wasn’t open to a relationship with her. She did, however, find that she had half-siblings, with whom she has maintained contact.

When the conversation circled around to Frank being gay—Frank and his husband Kevin, with whom he has a stepson, married on December 12th, 2012—I asked Frank about coming out to his parents in a decade not as accepting as the 2010s. Frank admits that it wasn’t easy, but that it wasn’t as difficult as the coming out stories that are often told. He states that his adopted father admitted he didn’t understand homosexuality, but knew how smart Frank was. He continued to tell his son that if someone as smart as Frank thought that it was okay, there couldn’t be anything wrong with being gay. “

However, when it came down to meeting his biological mother, Billingsley admits that there was a moment where it felt as though he had to come back out of the closet. He states that his mother, like his adopted parents, is a devout Christian, and that maybe she does not understand homosexuality.

Being someone in the media, Frank is never without news in his face. A supporter of the strides that the Obama Administration made for LGBTQ people, I asked Frank what he thought of the current administration, and whether or not he worried that rights would be stripped away from LGBTQ people. He seemed hopeful, stating, “I don’t think that the legislation would be there to support that. And if it does, I don’t think the people who vote for the legislature will support that. I don’t think we want to see our country go back.” He continued, “When we’re dealing with human beings, and their rights to be human beings, taking a deep breath and pondering whether the decisions concerning their rights are futile. If you look at the trans military ban—you have generals who are saying, ‘No, no!’ It’s bad enough we’re banning Muslims … and now this?”

As far as Hurricane Harvey is concerned, Billingsley was concerned for what he proudly refers to as “my city,” a phrase Houstonians everywhere are familiar with and that binds us together. He states he wasn’t surprised by how the city came together, nor was he surprised by the impact of the storm—which he himself predicted to bring as much as 50” of rain to certain areas surrounding the city.

Billingsley’s book (being released by Houston’s Bright Sky Press) is a page-turner. It’s one that Houstonians will read with ease because each word can be heard in Billingsley’s voice. That won’t stop it from gathering attention outside Houston, however. For there’s much more appeal in a story the story than just Frank’s fame. In fact, it would be fair to say that anyone who has ever had uncertainties about who they are will have a difficult time putting the book down. However, in this debut chronicle of his life, his main message rings loud and clear:

Regardless of color, orientation, race, nationality, religion, age, size—people are people. We’re all related by that fact. And as such, people all deserve the same rights and respects.

And if there may be no better mouthpiece in Houston for that message to come from than Frank himself—a smart, successful, well-round, and well-respected gay man and pillar of the LGBTQ community.

Making Herstory At Austin Pride With Jackie Huba

Making Herstory At Austin Pride With Jackie Huba- About Magazine

 

Jackie Huba Makes History As First Female Drag Queen To Perform At Austin Pride Celebration

So many of us are controlled by our bosses, lovers and friends who convince us we aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough. Not anymore! In a new book titled, FIERCELY YOU: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queen, author and TEDx speaker Jackie Huba is handing out lessons and teaching how to apply ‘bold drag queen’ tactics into our everyday lives.  By putting honey where her mouth is, she will take the stage of Austin Pride on Saturday, August 27 to prove just how courageous she can be, performing as her drag persona, Lady Trinity.

About Magazine: You’re making history as the first female drag queen to ever perform on the main stage at the Austin PRIDE Festival!  Jackie Huba: I’m truly honored, to say the least. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it will be unlike any performance I’ve ever done. Given we are right in the middle of a political season, I decided to do a topical theme. So just imagine a pantsuit-wearing badass showing an orange-faced character who’s boss.

 

 

 

About Magazine: How did you find drag?Jackie Huba: Stumbling upon RuPaul’s Drag Race was what led me to my admiration of these fearless drag artists. I began going to the local drag shows in Austin and San Antonio and began meeting the local queens. Then drag event promoter Rey Lopez connected me with the top drag queen in Austin, Kelly Kline, who volunteered to be my drag mother. She spent countless hours teaching me everything a drag performer needs to know: theatrical makeup, wig styling, costuming and lip-sync.Making-Herstory-At-Austin-Pride-With-Jackie-Huba-576x1024 Making Herstory At Austin Pride With Jackie Huba

About Magazine: You’ve gotten incredible support from the drag community.  Jackie Huba: The drag community is extremely accepting of women who do drag. They’ve told me they love seeing anyone love the art form as much as they do.

About Magazine: What are the 5 Keys to Fierce that you write about in your book? Jackie Huba: They are the lessons I have learned. First, Create Your Drag Persona: consciously create the person you’ve always wanted to be. Then, Always Look Sickening in Everyday Drag: dress for power. After that, Strike a Pose and Embody Your Power: use power posing and physicality to instill inner confidence. Then Tell Your Critics to Sashay Away: quiet both inner and outer critics. And lastly, honey, You Better Werk! Take small risks to propel yourself to taking even bigger ones. 

About Magazine: These are lessons anyone can put to use in their everyday lives. Jackie Huba: Exactly! At work and in their personal lives. The Keys work because they are all rooted in psychological principles. For the book, I collaborated with a licensed therapist, Shelly Stewart Kronbergs, who breaks down the psychological research into layman’s terms.

About Magazine: Good luck at Austin Pride!  Jackie Huba: Thank you! Austin PRIDE is a terrific organization. I’m honored and humbled to have been selected to perform this year, alongside such amazing artists!


Jackie Huba aka Lady Trinity performs at the Austin PRIDE Festival on Saturday, August 27, with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 Winner Bob the Drag Queen, Miss Texas All-American Goddess Kelly Kline, and the newly crowned Miss Austin Pride 2016 Vegas Van Cartier. 

Jackie Huba’s FIERCELY YOU: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queen releases August 15. For more info, visit http://enterthequeendom.com.

Author Terry E. Hill’s New Release “The Committee”

“The Committee” Selects a Black Female President
in Bestselling Author Terry E. Hill’s New Release

Terry E. Hill’s “The Committee” is a beguiling tale that twirls Illuminati conspiracy, New Orleans voodoo, American politics and a subplot gay affair in a delicious twist of turbulence and turmoil.
San Francisco – With Come Sunday MorningWhen Sunday Comes Again and The Last Sunday, author Terry E. Hill has proven himself an adept story weaver. Enthralling his readers with a trilogy based inside a megachurch setting, his well-spun plots of scandal, suspense and seduction were delivered with acute precision. Skillfully whipping his readers into a page-turning frenzy, they rushed to keep abreast of characters bigger than the books that encased them.  With the release of The Committee on Urban Renaissance, an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp., the author ups the ante and moves into the world of politics.

The Committee is a beguiling tale that twirls Illuminati conspiracy, New Orleans voodoo, American politics and a subplot gay affair in a delicious twist of turbulence and turmoil. We find out that the secret society behind the country’s biggest political ploys is a mysterious New Orleans family of Creole women who head “The Committee.” It is they who in fact control the white men mistaken to be the country’s power figures! “The Committee” has selected every US president since James Monroe and controls much of the country’s economy. When they make the decision that the United States is not only ready for a Black woman president, but also select her, the phrase, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ takes on new and insidious meaning.

Camille Ernestine Hardaway is the first African American female mayor of Los Angeles and she has it all – stunning good looks, power, a seemingly devoted husband and influential allies. “The Committee” has decided that she will be the first Black female President of the United States and will stop at nothing to ensure their rising candidate reaches the White House. Author Terry E. Hill sublimely works hypnosis with the written word as he winds the reader deeper down a sinister black hole with each chapter. The Committee’s lethal combination of manipulation, intimidation, mysticism and murder make for the most intoxicating political thriller.
With an adoring fan base waiting in high anticipation, Hill is hosting a Facebook contest. The author (on Facebook at Terry E. Hill ) will give away 25autographed copies of The Committee to the lucky winner. The contest ends at midnight on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18th. Participants can find more details on The Committee’s Facebook page and / or enter on his Facebook page.
Author Terry E. Hill
The Committee is Hill’s fourth novel. Come Sunday Morning was his first book, followed by When Sunday Comes Again in 2012 and The Last Sunday in 2013. The publisher consolidated Hill’s first two books into one and re-released it 2014 as The Come Sunday Morning SagaCome Sunday Morning was selected as number three of the five best fiction books for 2012 by the Sankofa Literary Society. When Sunday Comes Again was released in the summer of 2012 and made the AALBC (African American Literary Book Club) Urban Fiction Best Seller List. Hill’s novels have also been featured on the Bestsellers List of Black Expressions and have been selected as best books of the month and year by various bookstores and book clubs throughout the country. The Sunday Morning Saga has been acquired by more than 10,000 libraries in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Hill has developed a significant and very loyal audience who eagerly await each new release. Elev8.com, an online property of Hello Beautiful, profiled the author as the next E. Lynn Harris for his clever storytelling and LGBT subplots. He and his writings have been featured on BET.com‘s monthly YOU GOTTA HAVE IT column, Crème Magazine, Elev8/Hello Beautiful, Black Literature Magazine and The Literary Network.

Hill’s writings are amazing works of fiction that continuously stir conversation on important topics nationwide.
Purchase The Committee on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.
Visit the author’s website at http://www.terryehill.com/
Follow Terry E. Hill on Facebook at Terry E. Hill and Twitter @MrTerryEHill now!