Texas LGBT leaders keynote Tarrant County Stonewall fall fundraiser

Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats is kicking off its fall fundraising efforts with a “Building on Legacies” event next Tuesday.

Former state Rep. Glen Maxey, state Rep.-elect Mary Gonzalez and Dallas County 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker are scheduled speak at the event.

Felipe Gutierrez, Stonewall president, said the event symbolizes the work in the past with Maxey, Parker’s current work and Gonzalez’s future work in the Texas House.

“Our goal was talking about the past, the work in the present and in the future and how we come together to work on issues,” he said.

The event is at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the home of. Scott W. Green and Garrett Warren, at 3905 Summercrest Drive in Fort Worth.

General admission is $75. Sponsorships are also available for $250 (for two tickets, $500 for four tickets and $1,000 for six tickets. All sponsorships include donor recognition and an invitation to private donor cocktail party.

For tickets, contact Scott Green at sgreen6@sbcglobal.net. Deadline to RSVP is today or ASAP. For more info, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

Mary Gonzalez to speak at Fort Worth Latino voter symposium Saturday

Just because queer state representative-elect Mary Gonzalez doesn’t have an opponent in November, doesn’t mean she’s not staying busy.

Gonzalez, who came out as pansexual in today’s edition of Dallas Voice, has recently accepted the role of Latino outreach coordinator for the Texas Democratic Party. The job will include planning events like Saturday’s Latino Voter Engagement Symposium in Fort Worth in an effort to help Latino voters get engaged in politics.

“The numbers are there so if we encourage more Latino voters to vote, then we could win more Democratic races,” Gonzalez said.

Saturday’s event is planned in conjunction with state Democratic Executive Committee meeting, but Gonzalez said the response has been so positive that she’s in the process of planning more symposiums in San Antonio, Houston and El Paso in the next few months.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa will give a welcome Saturday, followed by the Democratic strategist and MSNBC contributor Chuck Rocha for the keynote. Attendees will also hear from state Rep. Armando Walle on how to motivate the Latino community, and Gonzalez will also speak at the event.

The event is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Hilton Hotel, at 815 Main Street in Fort Worth. About 100 people are expected to attend the event. There is no registration or fee to attend.

For questions or more information, contact Gonzalez via email at mgonzalez@txdemocrats.org or call 512-478-9800.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas fundraiser for out lesbian House hopeful Ann Johnson raises almost $3K

Ann Johnson speaks at a fundraiser July 24 at Stoneleigh P in Dallas about changes she wants to make to education and healthcare if elected to represent Houston’s District 134 in the state Legislature. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

A cozy crowd gathered Tuesday to mix and mingle with out lesbian Ann Johnson, the Democratic candidate for Houston’s House District 134, at Stoneleigh P restaurant in Dallas.

New Leaders Texas hosted the fundraiser for Johnson that drew about 40 people. New Leaders Executive Director Kathleen Thompson said the event raised $2,645. Johnson faces one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November. If Johnson wins, she and El Paso’s Mary Gonzalez would become the first two openly LGBT women in the Texas Legislature.

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs introduced Johnson, noting their similarities in age,  attending law school in Houston, working with their fathers, and both taking on incumbents, as Griggs did last year.

He said that Texas has Republican 2-1 majority in the state Legislature, but electing Johnson is a step toward changing that imbalance.

“In Texas, we can decide what we want to be and we can go be it,” Griggs said. “This is a moment to start to make that change, to start to make a difference.”

Johnson’s father, Jake Johnson, was a state representative in the 60s and worked on Barbara Jordan’s campaign. Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and was the first black female from the South elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson’s mother is former Civil District Judge Carolyn Marks Johnson.

“I am fortunate that both of my parents taught me the honor of public service,” Johnson told the crowd Tuesday. “Houston has this incredible history of making a difference and being diverse.”

While she did not touch on her sexuality, focusing on her two major campaign issues of education and healthcare, Johnson had her partner Sonya at her side Tuesday proudly talking about the campaign trail.

As a cancer survivor, Johnson expressed her desire to back healthcare funding for all Texans, saying affordable healthcare and education are areas where Texas can go from one of the worst states to one of the best.

Texas ranks 43rd in the U.S. for graduation rates, 45th for SAT scores, a fact that Johnson said she’s focusing on changing if elected by providing better funding to public education.

“I have vision to take us from worst to first,” she said. “If we go from worst to first, we can create a public education system that we can be proud of.”

More photos and video below.

—  Dallasvoice

Lesbian TX House candidate Ann Johnson to visit Dallas on Tuesday

Houston attorney and Democratic House candidate Ann Johnson will hold a fundraiser in Dallas on Tuesday while she’s in town for the North Texas Children’s Law Symposium.

Johnson, who focuses on child advocacy cases in her private practice, is among the presenters at the symposium and will lead a discussion on the decriminalization of child-trafficking victims, talking about the minor she represented in the 2010 case, In re. B.W., heard before the Texas Supreme Court.

Johnson is the Democratic candidate in Houston’s House District 134. She will face one-term incumbent Republican Sarah Davis in November.

New Leaders Texas is hosting a fundraiser for Johnson on Tuesday evening. The organization endorsed and funded Mary Gonzalez, but is now shifting its attention to Johnson after Gonzalez won her primary. Gonzalez is unopposed in November.

If Johnson wins, she and Gonzalez will be the first two LGBT women elected to the Texas House — and the only LGBT members of the Legislature.

“New Leaders Texas is dedicated to changing the face of Texas leadership,” said Brian Stansbury, the president of the board of New Leaders Texas. “Electing Ann Johnson will be an important step in achieving that goal. Ann will fight to make Texas a better place for all Texans, and we believe it is important to give Texans from across the state an opportunity to step up and support Ann in this election.”

The fundraiser is Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Stoneleigh P restaurant, 2926 Maple Ave.

People who attend the event will be asked to donate $100 and hosts are expected to donate $250. A suggested minimum donation is $50. Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman is among those listed on the host committee.

While Equality Texas has not endorsed in the race yet, as both Johnson and Davis have expressed interest in working with the organization, Coleman said his support is personal, having met Johnson before.

For more information, email info@newleaderstexas.org or call 512-591-8683.

—  Dallasvoice

Victory Fund endorses out lesbian Ann Johnson in Texas House race in Houston

The Washington D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund announced 17 endorsements Tuesday including Houston’s Ann Johnson.

Johnson, who is the daughter of former state Rep. Jake Johnson, ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary in House District 134. She will face against one-term Republican incumbent Sarah Davis in November.

Johnson is a former prosecutor who handles child advocacy cases in a private practice, representing victims of bullying and harassment in public schools.

If Johnson wins in November, she will be the second lesbian voters send to the state House after Mary Gonzalez’s election in the Democratic Primary in May. Gonzalez doesn’t have Republican opponent in the general election.

Victory Fund spokesman Denis Dison said having two openly LGBT legislators join the Texas House would intensify the impact and change in dialogue among the conservative-controlled House.

“Ann’s deep experience as an assistant district attorney and legal advocate for kids makes her well-suited to serve in the Texas House,” he told Instant Tea. “She is carrying on her family’s impressive legacy of public service, and we are proud to support her campaign.”

Look for more about Gonzalez and Johnson in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  Dallasvoice

WATCH: Mary Gonzalez on MSNBC

Two days after she appeared on the front page of the El Paso Times, rising political star Mary Gonzalez, who is set to become Texas’ only openly LGBT state legislator in January, appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday, where she was interviewed by gay host Thomas Roberts. Watch it below.

—  John Wright

Gonzalez profiled as ‘new face’ of El Paso politics

More like the new gay face of Texas politics.

In a profile about the future House District 75 Rep. Mary Gonzalez on the front page of Monday’s El Paso Times (shown at right), the 28-year-old is modeled as a “new face” for the district.

Gonzalez won her Democratic primary and will replace retiring state Rep. Chente Quintillia. She is unopposed in the general election.

Aside from being the first openly gay woman elected to the Texas Legislature, Gonzalez is also the first woman to represent the El Paso district. But Gonzalez “doesn’t dwell on those labels,” according to the article.

Instead, the eldest of 11 siblings will focus on how to improve the lives of families who face hardships from education to clean drinking water, remembering the time her house burned down and the community reached out to help her family.

Gonzalez recently told Dallas Voice after she won the primary that her passion lies with the impoverished unincorporated areas of her district and she wanted to bring better living conditions to the citizens there.

But her historic election has not gone unnoticed as she heads to Austin in January to serve as the second openly gay representative, after Glen Maxey, who served from 1991 to 2003. Her race – and election – drew a swarm of media attention. She told the El Paso Times the coverage was around 3,500 articles.

Read an in-depth interview with Gonzalez in an upcoming edition of Dallas Voice.

From the El Paso Times:

She added that there were times during her campaign that she questioned whether her gender, age or sexuality would work against her.

She focused on the issues, she said, and remembered her mother telling her that what she was facing was no harder than living in the colonias without basic infrastructure. That’s one of the key issues she hopes to address, Gonzalez said. “I am, of course, aware I’ve created this ‘history,’ but I always ran this race on issues,” she said. “I wanted people of El Paso to understand what legislators do and what they can do for them.”

“Do I think it’s important for people to see diversity in the Legislature? Yes, certainly,” Gonzalez continued. “But this campaign was not about me or the boxes people could put me into. It was about issues and having the qualifications to address them.”

What lies ahead, Gonzalez said, is more than mere politics.

“I think my whole life I’ve subscribed to the leadership style of inspiring and empowering groups and communities,” Gonzalez said. “If I can do that as a state legislator then I will have succeeded.”

—  Dallasvoice

Gay El Paso House candidate Mary Gonzalez to visit Dallas for LGBT fundraiser next week

Mary Gonzalez

Mary Gonzalez, an openly gay candidate for Texas House from El Paso, will be in Dallas on Thursday, May 3 for a fundraiser sponsored by the Texas Equity PAC, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and Annie’s List.

Of the four known openly LGBT candidates for Legislature in 2012, Gonzalez arguably has the best chance to become only the second out lawmaker in the state’s history and the first since Glen Maxey, who served from 1993 until 2001. Texas is one of only 18 states that lack an openly LGBT legislator, and according to the Victory Fund, no state has ever passed relationship recognition without one.

Gonzalez is one of three candidates in the May 29 Democratic Primary  in El Paso’s District 75 who are vying to replace Rep. Chente Quintillia, who isn’t seeking re-election.

“The oldest of eleven children, Mary Gonzalez is a natural born leader,” an invitation for next week’s fundraiser reads. “Before putting herself through college to eventually become a PhD candidate and Adjunct Professor, Mary spent her adolescent years advocating for underserved colonias in her hometown of El Paso. Now, Mary is putting her education and experience to work for the people of El Paso and is poised to become Texas’ only LGBT voice in the state legislature. Come meet this remarkable young woman and catch a rising star on her way to the Capitol!”

The fundraiser will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the home of Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman and his partner, Gregory Pynes. Other hosts include Cece Cox; Jack Evans and George Harris; Scott Green and Garrett Warren; Chris Luna and Kent Mecklenburg; Karl Meyer and Craig McCartney; Dr. Mark Parker and Eric Johnson; and Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld.

The suggested donation is $100, or become a host for $250.. For more information or to RSVP contact Chuck Smith at 512-474-5475 ext. 2 or chuck@texasequitypac.org; or Michael McCall at 202-567-3304 or michael.mccall@victoryfund.org.

—  John Wright

Victory Fund endorses 28-year-old out lesbian Mary Gonzalez for Texas House in El Paso

Mary Gonzalez

The Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed 28-year-old rising star Mary Gonzalez, one of four openly LGBT candidates for Texas Legislature in 2012. And that’s good news because the Victory Fund only backs candidates the group believes are viable.

As we noted in our story about Gonzalez and the other out candidates two weeks ago, Texas is one of only 18 states that lack an openly LGBT legislator. And, according to the Victory Fund, no state has passed same-sex relationship recognition without one. In other words, we need a seat at the table in Austin.

After the jump, read an excerpt about Gonzalez from our recent story. You can also read about her on the Victory Fund page, but it looks like you’ll have to go to Gonzalez’s campaign website to make a contribution. You can also follow Gonzalez’s campaign on Facebook.

—  John Wright