Town Meeting I
June 25, 1978

Town Meeting I was the centerpiece of Houston's first formal celebration of Gay Pride Week.
Prior to the Anita Bryant protest the homosexual community was found at bars and house parties
but was largely silent in the greater community; at the end of that protest, there was a community
that had found common goals and aspirations and was ready to voice them.

Ray Hill, with others, conceptualized a Town Meeting that would begin a community dialogue and
motivate gay people into a viable political force working for equal rights and privileges. The event
was coordinated by the Gay Political Caucus. It was the first politically oriented homosexual meeting
in the United States (Houston Chronicle). Four-thousand people attended the meeting at the
Astro Arena and it made the news on the front pages of both Sunday papers and on television.

Former Texas State Representative, gubernatorial candidate, and later vice-presidential nominee,
Sissy Farenthold was the keynote speaker. Her words spoke directly to the meeting's resolutions
regarding civil rights, health, and safety: "We are none of us free unless we all are free. We cannot
open the door to some minorities while denying access to others."

Ginny Apuzzo, of the National Gay Task Force, chaired the meeting. The concerns of Houston's
gay community were outlined in 13 propositions addressing job security, police action against
gays, health care, and the repeal of the Texas sodomy statute.

Town Meeting I resulted in the creation of: the Montrose Counseling Center, the Montrose Activity
Center, the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, the Hispanic Caucus, the Montrose Sports Association.
A resolution was passed to form an alliance with Transgender individuals.

The closing speaker, Donald Embinder, publisher of Blueboy magazine emphasized that the vast
majority of non-gay people are supportive of human rights, including full equal rights for Gay people.
(LXIX: Volume 1 No. 22, June 30 - July 7)

 VERY rare AUDIO CLIP from Town Meeting I, of just a part of the afternoon discussion,
on the proposing and voting on the items on the agenda, 1 hour 33 minutes.

Many speakers are not clearly identified, and the tape starts already several hours
into the day, but at the 11 minute mark you can hear Ginny Apuzzo (of NGTF) acting as chair.
Per the workbook it appears they are in the area of Topics of Resolutions, VI Legal
Reform, Civil Rights, and the structure is very much adhering to Robert's Rules of
parliamentary procedures. Of special interest are the motions made at the 1:15 mark
by trans activists Toni Mayes and Phyllis Frye. Other speakers include Larry Bagneris,
Patty O'Kane, Donald Embinder (of GRNL and Blueboy, at 1:02)



New Addition (Jan 2019): Poster from 1978 Gay Pride Week and Town Meeting I  (18"x20")
I believe this is very rare, as I had never even seen an image of it before it was
given to me. It had hung in Ray Hill's apartment, probably for forty years.
Also, since the first full-scale Pride Parade was in 1979, this is no doubt the first "Pride Poster"

See full scale poster
to read the small text


Also see, Town Meeting Photos

The Houston Human Rights League (HHRL) was essentially Ray Hill's official "organization"

Download this issue of LXIX


Download this issue of LXIX



below, cover of This Week in Texas saluting the conference



Coverage from LXIX

And here is a publication (with additional info) issue by the Ad Hoc Committee

Sissy Farenthold's Town Meeting I Address

TMI Memorabilia, Courtesy of Blase DiStefano

The TMI Workbook

Download PDF

aborted attempts at a Town Meeting II
in 1985

in 1990

TM II finally happened in conjunction with Spectrum 95,
but had very low attendence and did not amount to much