Jon Buice denied parole in gay Houston man’s 1991 murder

Jon BuiceNot surprisingly, Jon Buice will stay behind bars for at least another year.

Buice is the only remaining assailant out of the 10 teens who beat up and killed Paul Broussard in 1991 in an anti-gay attack in Houston’s Montrose area.

While he was granted parole two years ago, the decision was later reversed. Since then, efforts by his attorney and gay activist Ray Hill have ramped up to help him be released. Broussard’s mother and Houston victim advocate Andy Kahan have pushed for Buice to remain in jail at least 27 years, the age Broussard was when he was murdered.

Statewide advocacy group Equality Texas has supported the efforts to keep Buice in prison.  So have many LGBT-friendly state lawmakers.

—  Anna Waugh

Houston PD says gay sex sting netted 7 arrests, won’t discuss officers’ attire

Memorial

Houston police say they regularly conduct gay sex stings in parts of Memorial Park, and the one conducted last Thursday was no exception.

HPD spokesman John Cannon said undercover officers engaged in conversation with men in the park and some of the men enticed the officers with conversation and by getting their attention from a vehicle or outside in the park.

The sting led to seven arrests, not more than 20 as gay activist Ray Hill alleged after talking to one of the arrested men. The men were arrested between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for indecent exposure, a Class-B misdemeanor, after they “voluntarily exposed themselves,” Cannon said.

As for the account that officers were wearing Speedos, Pride-related T-shirts, including one with a chrome penis on it, Cannon declined to comment on the attire because police don’t discuss operational tactics.

—  Anna Waugh

Houston cops don ‘chrome penis,’ arrest 20 in gay sex sting, activist says

police Longtime Houston activist Ray Hill reports that the Houston Police Department arrested more than 20 men last week in a gay sex sting at Memorial Park, according to OutSmart Magazine:

Hill, who said he has been in contact with one of the men arrested, explained that eight to ten male vice officers dressed in Speedos and suggestive T-shirts, were along the jogging trail during daylight hours, attempting to beckon male joggers and walkers into the bushes. “[My source] tells me that one of their shirts had what resembled a chrome penis on the back, and some of the other T-shirts looked to be gay pride affiliated,” Hill said.

Hill tells OutSmart those who followed the officers into the bushes were arrested on charges of solicitation of prostitution, handcuffed and loaded into two vans parked nearby.

“We have a lesbian Mayor, a ‘gay-friendly’ police chief and a SCOTUS decision (Lawrence v Texas) finding the law against homosexual conduct unconstitutional, yet these men had to post bond, were held an illegally long period of time in Houston City Jail, they must hire lawyers, defend against the charges, some will lose their jobs and make their family lives confusing at best,” Hill wrote on Facebook. “Could someone mention this to the mayor on one of her campaign stops?”

Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, is up for re-election in November.

OutSmart reports that it’s not the first time HPD has conducted such a sting at Memorial Park, with two similar operations netting more than 30 arrests in 2006.

“The cops are going to say they were in uniform [during these arrests],” Hill told OutSmart. “To the vice officers, this is a sport-like activity to impose on perverts — and by ‘perverts,’ I mean ‘queers.’”

—  John Wright

Houston’s State Rep. Garnet Coleman applauds Prop. 8 decision

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, took to his blog today to applaud yesterday’s decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Proposition 8  unconstitutional (Prop. 8, passed in 2008, prohibited marriage equality in California):

“Yesterday’s 9th Circuit decision, just like the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, is a stepping stone on the path to marriage equality for all. As Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the opinion, ‘Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.’ The same holds true for the marriage equality ban in Texas. That is why I continue to fight for marriage equality and continue to file the repeal of the ban of same sex marriage. Denying gay couples the right to marry is unconstitutional and a blatant denial of human rights. “

Coleman has a long history of filing pro-LGBT legislation in the Texas House. Last year he introduced historic legislation that, had it passed, would have called for a state-wide vote to repeal the section of Texas’ constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, so he’s no stranger to the battle for marriage equality.

Coleman is seeking re-election to his District 147 seat. He will face long-time local LGBT activist Ray Hill in the Democratic Primary. No republican candidate has filed for the seat.

Read Coleman’s full statement on his blog.

—  admin

“Ray Hill and the Sex Police” Sunday at Obsidian Art Space

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

It’s impossible to have a conversation about the LGBT community in Houston without Ray Hill’s name coming up. By fate or design (or both) the man has been a part of pretty much every single major event in queer Houston history. This Sunday, January 15, hear part of the story straight from the patriarch’s mouth at Ray Hill and the Sex Police at Obsidian Art Space (3522 White Oak Dr).

The scripted one man show explores 40 years of what Hill describes as the Houston Police Department’s efforts to shut down gay bars and limit public access to sexually themed books, videos, films and venues.  Hill has performed Sex Police in several venues over the last decade, using his personal journey as a vehicle to teach history with wit, humor, and the occasional dirty word (although he’s promised this performance will be cleaned up slightly).

“It is all history but it is also funny and fun…sometime sad but mostly funny,” says Hill. “My experience as a gay man spans the years when being gay was a felony offense, I have known old old men who were sentenced to Texas prison for LIFE for being gay. In the last decade the police have left gay bars alone but not other gay businesses (book and video stores) but it was not always the case. ”

As a bonus Hill hints that video of his recent arrest at Pleasures Club, where he had gone to investigate rumors of police harassment of exotic dancers, may be shown as part of the performance.

Ray Hill and the Sex Police starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door. Complementary drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served before the show and during intermission.

—  admin

Ray Hill kicks off campaign for Texas House with YouTube videos

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

As previously reported by Houstini Ray Hill, the iconic and iconoclastic Houston LGBT activist, announced this year that he would challenge ten-term incumbent state representative Garnet Coleman in next spring’s Democratic Primary. Hill is running what he calls an “unfunded campaign,” relying on social media and support from community members to get his message out.

We haven’t heard much about the campaign since Hill filed at the beginning of the month (perhaps he’s been distracted by his recent arrest during an attempt to prevent the HPD vice squad from harassing strippers), but Hill seems to have gotten back into the campaign saddle, releasing two YouTube videos about his campaign and why he thinks he’s the best choice to represent district 147 (they can be viewed after the jump). The audio’s not the best (tip: taping next to a roaring waterfall does not produce the best sound), but in both videos Hill expresses his belief that the common people of the district will vote him into office. Judge for yourself:

—  admin

Update on Ray Hill’s arrest

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

As previously reported by Houstini, longtime Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill was arrested last night after a confrontation with police outside Treasures, a gentlemen’s club on Westhiemer Rd. Hill has been released from jail and posted the following message to his Facebook page:

I was arrested trying to stop power arrogant cops from bullying frightened and vulnerable people (this is not my first rodeo) There will be a trial; they will lie under oath; I will show the video of the whole incident; I will win and then sue and win that case. The system works if you have the tools to use it properly. My lawyer and I will make money off the city in this process. The cycle will end when the City of Houston stops trying to treat adults like they were children…


—  admin

Ray Hill Arrested

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Just two days after filing to run for Texas House District 147 Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill has been arrested… again.

Yesterday evening Hill and his friend Richard Nevills visited Treasures, a gentlemen’s club on Westhiemer Rd. According to Nevills he dropped Hill off at the door and went to park the car. When he returned a young police officer was “shoving Ray into a squad car and bragging that ‘ain’t no one gonna call me a motherf*cker.’” Nevills reports that the officer was yelling so loudly “you could hear him yelling across the parking lot.”

Hill has a long history of arrests for civil disobedience, including one that led to the the landmark civil rights case Houston v. Hill in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the right to yell at police officers as free speech. Nevills is uncertain if Hill actually used the aforementioned obscenity at the officer. Lower courts have routinely found that obscenities directed at the police are protected speech, including recent cases in Pennsylvania and Idaho.

Hill is currently being held in the Houston Police Department Central Jail awaiting transfer to the Harris County Jail. He has been charged with an unclassified assault on an officer and is awaiting a second charge. Bail has not been set. Video of the incident was taken by an observer according to Nevills who is trying to get permission from that person to release the video.

Nevills says that Hill is in good spirits and that the police department has told him they are looking out for the elderly Hill’s health concerns; “Ray’s just letting the process do it’s thing.”

 

—  admin

Iconic LGBT activist Ray Hill files for Texas House seat

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Long time Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill filed paperwork this week to run for the 147th Texas House seat against incumbent Garnet Coleman, D – Houston. The iconic (and iconoclastic) Hill said that he and Coleman agree on many issues but that he had “some issues  that aren’t on the table in Austin.”

Specifically Hill has concerns with the legislature’s approach to criminal justice issues. “The Texas legislature is a serial world class red-necking competition,” says Hill. “What they are doing on criminal justice is wrong and it doesn’t work… we need a serious rethink.”

Coleman has a strong history of supporting LGBT legislation. For the last three sessions he has attempted to pass anti-bullying legislation that would require school districts to report instances of bullying using an enumerated list of motivating characteristics that include both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, he has also filed legislation to remove the the crime of “homosexual conduct” from the Texas penal code (a law that has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), to equalize age of consent laws in Texas and to add gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crime law. In the 82nd legislature earlier this year Coleman authored seven pieces of legislation designed to create greater equality for LGBT people, including the first ever filing of legislation to standardize change of gender marker procedures for the transgender community and the first effort to repeal the state’s constitutional prohibition against marriage equality.

Hill recognizes Coleman’s historic contributions, “The incumbent and I agree on a lot of issues,” says Hill, “but we don’t tell young gay people ‘if you work real hard and go to school and do your best you can grow up to have straight friends in Austin who like you.’ No, we tell them ‘if you work hard they can grow up to be Mayor of Houston, or City Supervisor of San Francisco.’”

When asked why the community would be better served by him than Coleman, a 20 year legislative veteran, Hill replies “I understand how government works. A freshman legislator can’t do anything more than irritate, but that’s about all any member of the minority party can do. On that level the incumbent and I are on the same level… I think we need somebody obnoxious [in the legislature] who’s going to purposefully rub the cat hair the wrong direction.”

Since being elected to the legislature for the first time in 1992 Coleman has been unopposed in 5 of his 9 primary reelection bids. No primary challenger to Coleman has pulled more than 21% of the vote.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Nikki Araguz back in court; SA homeless shelter allegedly refuses gay support

Nikki Araguz

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Transgender widow Nikki Araguz will be back in court today for a hearing on her motion for a new trial. Wharton County District Judge Randy Clapp ruled in May that Araguz isn’t entitled to death benefits from her husband, fallen firefighter Thomas Araguz III. Clapp ruled that the Araguzes’ marriage was invalid because Nikki Araguz was born male. Araguz has a new legal team and has vowed to appeal her case — which could have major implications for transgender rights — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

2. A homeless shelter in San Antonio is accused of refusing to accept donations from Pride San Antonio because it is a gay event. The shelter, Haven for Hope, also declined a public visit from recording artist Martha Wash, an advocate for the homeless who performed at Pride. In an email responding to the allegations, Haven for Hope CEO George Block told QSanAntonio that the shelter tries “to refrain from publicly aligning ourselves with any particular religious, political or special interest group.” Block added: “Like most public rallies, a Gay Pride Block Party will attract ardent supporters & equally ardent detractors. Since we serve both groups and rely on donations from both groups, it would be our preference to host Ms. Wash for a personal tour of campus, rather than participate in a public event.”

3. The Houston Chronicle gets some reaction to the release of Jon Buice, who’s been granted parole after serving 20 years for the brutal murder of gay banker Paul Broussard in 1991. The Chronicle’s headline says, “Gay community mixed over killer’s parole,” but the story identifies only one member of the community who believes Buice should be released — Ray Hill. Noel Freeman, president of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, says the group voted to oppose Buice’s release. And Broussard’s mother says she fears Buice is still dangerous.

—  John Wright