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
Final: A Special Two Part Series
(HOUSTON) — An invaluable asset to Houston’s LGBT community–and to Houston as a whole–is local bar owner Julie Mabry. Mabry, a well-known face and name in the LGBTQ community as owner and operator of the only LGBTQ girl bar, Pearl Bar. During the storm, Mabry took herself to the streets armed with friends and Facebook Live as she shared videos of devastation from the storm.
As the weather has cleared, Mabry only worked harder. In the days to follow Mabry opened her bar as a donation center, and to host a benefit in conjunction with the University of Houston’s LGBTQ Alumni Association raising funds for the Barker Ripley’s senior citizen community.
Others Making #HoustonStrong
Houston’s chapter of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors member Melissa Vivanco stepped up when people needed her the most after #HurricanHarvey.
Vivanco is no stranger to volunteering. Her handprints can be seen all across the Houston LGBTQ community. Vivanco has spent the days following Harvey collecting donations for those in need, rescuing animals, and helping her fellow Houstonians. Melissa continues to prove just what an important part impact the LGBTQ community can have on the city struck by tragedy.
Ricky Ferguson; a teacher for Houston ISD, had a bit of foresight for how catastrophic this storm was going to be. Ferguson took the opportunity to organize a box truck full of donations and supplies coming from the Carolinas to be brought to Houston. The truck arrived post-Harvey and its supplies was donated to a charter school for distribution.
Other members of the community who have stepped up to help out include Travis Nixon, who also has served as a committee chair for Pride Houston, Inc. Nixon spent evenings at the George R. Brown Convention Center volunteering. As the storm raged into Houston, Nixon took to social media to engage his friends, and build a volunteer base to join him, and to make donations.
Where we go from here
There is absolutely no question that the recovery from Hurricane Harvey is a long and tumultuous road ahead. Still, if any of the people above are any indication of what good can come from within a community, a light can be seen at the end of that long, winding road. It is nothing short of miraculous that a community like that of LGBTQ people—which has for decades faced ostracization, oppression, and violence—has stood up when its city was in need and put aside every adversity they have faced in order to help.
This speaks to what our community is all about. Though imperfect, and though we have a very long way to go in terms of inclusivity, LGBTQ understand what it means to extend a hand when one is needed. Color, creed, religion, nationality, citizenship status, gender identification–those are nonissues to the majority of LGBTQ people on a day-to-day basis, and that bleeds over into crises such as the storm that was Harvey.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. But what does it take to raise an entire city back onto its feet? It takes exemplary human beings in every form coming together and sharing basic human compassion and love. It takes people like we see here within our own community.
Thank you, Houston’s LGBTQ people, for helping to make us #HoustonStrong.