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Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane Harvey

Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane Harvey

LGBT Houston Shines Following Hurricane Harvey: Looking At The True Acts Of Kindness From The Houston LGBTQ+ Community After One Of The Worst Hurricanes In American History


A Special Two Part Series


(HOUSTON) — Standing outside Houston’s LGBTQ community center, The Montrose Center, in the early afternoon of Thursday, August 24th, you could see Hurricane Harvey was approaching Houston. The sky was dark, and the winds had arrived. The rainfall would come only hours later and would last for several days without relent until Wednesday, August 30, 2017.

During and in the wake of the storm an innumerable amount of Houstonians lost their homes, vehicles, pets, possessions, while some even less fortunate lost their lives and those close to them. Our great city was devastated!

The attention of the entire nation turned to Texas. With that attention, came the influx of aid from all over. Louisiana’s Cajun Navy responded to need, shuttling down boats and volunteers to rescue people from the deadly flooding. According to the National Weather Service, areas of Houston received over 50” of rain.

“I wanted to feel like I could do something. We all felt powerless. We can’t do anything to stop a hurricane, but we can do something afterward.”– Michael Glazner

The American Red Cross set up the state’s largest shelter-in-place at Houston’s downtown George R. Brown convention center. Initially housing 10,000 evacuees, other facilities were opened including NRG Arena and the Toyota Center.

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation became infamous with celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Sandra Bullock, Chelsea Handler, and Ellen DeGeneres contributing large sums of money to relief efforts. Cristela Alonzo, comedian, and actress from Texas and an adamant LGBTQ+ ally went so far as to research shelter locations needing supplies and volunteers.

ABTHarvey-223x300 Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane HarveyAs an estimated 32,000 people were displaced from their homes in Harris County, Houston’s truest acts of heroism from local citizens began to shine. NRG, George R. Brown, Houston Food Bank, Pets Alive, to BARC and Gallery Furniture and many other facilities set up as shelters were inundated with volunteers.

As #HurricaneHarvey pounded Houston with rain, members of Houston’s LGBT pride organization, Pride Houston, Inc., went into action collecting contributions and left over supplies (from Houston’s June Pride Celebration) for delivery to the George R. Brown Convention Center for people in need. Items like bottled water, clothing were donated.

In the days since the storm social media has been overwhelmed with photos and posts from Houston’s LGBTQ+ community. Images of volunteers helping one another, and posts details someone’s random acts of kindness. There are so many.

“It seems like our community has either had to step up for themselves for so many years or by extension have gotten used to stepping up for other people and helping out,” former ‘Friends of Pride’ committee co-chair Michael Glazner said to About Magazine.

“I’m impressed, honored, and privileged to be a part of this community, ”  Glazner said. Glazner was one of many Pride Houston, Inc. volunteers that assisted during Hurricane Harvey.

Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston Sheriff

(Photo: About News) Family and Legal Team of Jesse Jacobs
(Photo: About News) Family and Legal Team of Jesse Jacobs

 

Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston Sheriff

The Family Of Jesse Jacobs, A Gay Man That Died In Custody Of The Galveston County Jail Have Filed A Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston’s Henry Trochesset And Officials For His Death!


 

(Galveston, Texas) 03/14/16 – On the steps of the United States Federal Court House in Houston; family, friends, and the legal team for Jesse Jacobs announced their filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against Galveston Sheriff Henry Trochesset and officials after one year of ‘run arounds, no answers, and lack of transparency from officials’.

In the middle of some of the biggest media outlets in the country, lead attorneys U.A. Lewis and Debra V. Jennings outlined details in the federal complaint filed on the one-year anniversary of their client’s death.

The federal complaint accuses the Galveston County Sheriff of having blood on his hands in the death of Jacobs, accusing the Sheriff, his medical staff, and jailers of violating Jacob’s 8th and 14th amendment rights.

“The Galveston Sheriff executed our son.” The father of Jacobs stated to members of the media. “Today is the next step in finding answers.”

According to the complaint, Jacobs started having seizures after four days of incarceration as a direct result of lack of prescribed medication.

Disturbing details in the complaint outline how jail officials placed Jacobs in solitary confinement after he started to show signs of ‘withdrawals’ instead of transporting him to UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch). The jail did not have a medical unit, as required by federal law.

In the solitary cell that had no water, sink, shower or toilet, Jacobs was found unresponsive, with his matress covered in fecal matter.

“This is one of the worst cases of medical indifference to human life I have ever seen,” said Houston civil rights attorney, Randall Kallinen, “This goes on far more often than the public realizes.”

Jacobs was sentenced to 30 days (would have served only 15) for a DWI in Galveston County in 2015. The family claims the jail staff was provided with a prescription Jacobs needed, and had been prescribed for more than 10 years.

The complaint alleges that’s because the jail officials refused to provide prescribed medications that were imperative for Jacobs, he died.

One of the medical doctors mentioned and asked to provide health care to Jacobs while incarcerated appeared before the Texas Medical Board last week in Austin, Texas ‘steaming’ from a complaint filed by the Jacobs family. Another doctor, Dr. Teresa Becker, has a hearing set for April.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner determined Jesse’s cause of death to be “abrupt discontinuation of long term medication.” Jacobs died one year ago today at the University of Texas Galveston after being transported from the Galveston County Jail.

The family is seeking twenty-five million dollars in the lawsuit.

About Adds New Editors, New Business

2018 Will Bring New Editors Into About Magazine, About Editions, The Magazine’s Publishing Company.

(HOUSTON) – In addition to its new trans-specific content page, About Magazine will be adding two new editors to its staff in 2018. The first of which is Jessica Olsen, who will serve as the assistant editor for About Magazine under editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez. The second of which will be Ian Townsley, who will serve as the associate editor for About’s trans-content page, About Trans. Additionally, Ramirez’s publishing company, Black Magic Media, will be absorbed by About Magazine in December. The new publishing company will be a branch of About Magazine, called About Editions.

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Olsen has worked with Ramirez at Black Magic Media as the editor of fiction. Her responsibilities will include content editing and generating creative ideas for new content. Though not LGBTQIA herself, Olsen is an avid supporter of LGBTQIA rights and an ally to the entire community.

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Townsley is an outspoken advocate for the trans community who hosts support groups at the Montrose Center and local churches around Houston. He is also a drag king who performs in and puts on numerous benefits to serve the trans community in obtaining gender-affirmative surgery. Additionally, he has taken on the endeavor of helping trans people legally change their gender status. Syder-Blake himself is an out trans man.

Though Black Magic Media was not strictly LGBTQIA content before (though many of its titles were written by queer writers), it will be after it’s first season of books. The first book, a collection of poetry by Short Story America prize winner Mathieu Cailler (May I Have This Dance?) will be released December 14th, 2017. The remaining books to be published throughout 2018 are How to Break My Neck (Jessica L. Walsh), Heart Radicals (Les Kay, Sandra Marchetti, Allie Marini, and Janeen Rastall), Lifelong Learning (Ezekiel Jarvis), the second edition of Ramirez’s novel Witches of the Deep SouthSpace Baby (Nicole Oquendo), Nesting (Kristen Figgins), Lady Leda’s Dancing Girls (Amber Edmondson), q & a (Steven and Ben Ostrowski), i was born dead (Caseyrenée Lopez), Maleficium (Witches of the Deep South #2 (Ramirez), Naomi and the Reckoning (Christine Stoddard), and Shotgun Mirage (David Rawson).

Mathieu Cailler’s May I Have This Dance can be pre-ordered here.

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Alabama top justice tells judges not to issue gay marriage licenses

Alabama’s top justice said Wednesday that state probate judges should not issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage last year.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore cited conflicting rulings and said until they are resolved, a prior directive from March telling judges to comply with the state’s gay marriage ban would remain in effect.

He wrote: “Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

Moore issued a similar order last year. It’s unclear what impact the decision will have in the state, where some officials are issuing the licenses and others are not.

Susan Watson, director of the ACLU of Alabama, called Moore’s order “silly” and said it wouldn’t change the fact that most Alabama judges are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore said in Wednesday’s decision that even though the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated anti-gay marriage laws – he cited laws in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee  — “confusion and uncertainty exist among the probate judges of this State as to the effect” on existing orders in Alabama.

He continued, “Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell (the Supreme Court case); others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses.”

Moore said the broader issue remains before the Alabama Supreme Court, “which continues to deliberate on the matter.”