June 10, 2005
Ray Hill to retire

Local activist Ray Hill, the founding father of Houston's GLBT Political Caucus, is retiring from the activist life.

Hill's extended activist career irreverently will be celebrated today at "The Well Deserved Roast of Ray Hill," set for 7:30 p.m. at the 1415 Grill, 1415 California. Sponsored by the Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston and the Houston GLBT Community Center, proceeds will benefit the center's programs for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

"I'm just going to leave it to another generation to take on those responsibilities," said Hill, 64. "I've spent 40 years in the movement, first as the first openly gay political activist in Houston, then for years as someone who exercised more influence on decisions than anyone should."

Hill cited health concerns and a desire to develop his career as a monologuist and prison activist as reasons for stepping aside.

"I meant to do this a long time ago," he said earlier this week. "I raised a generation to take my place and they all died of AIDS. Now there's another generation ready to step in. Most of them are women. They are every color of the rainbow black, brown, Christian, Jew, Muslim, nonbelievers, and they speak a cacophony of languages. They are better able to represent this diversity than I."

Hill's long and colorful career is nicely profiled in this story. I first heard of him in the early 90s when then-Council member Helen Huey pushed through tighter restrictions on sexually oriented businesses. Hill ran for an open Council seat (I forget the circumstances around this - what I recall was that it was a free-for-all) on a platform opposing Huey's new SOB laws. He lost, of course, but it was a fun campaign.

There was another story on Hill's retirement in the This Week section for the Heights/Montrose area. Ray Hill's retirement deserved a spot in the main paper, so I'm glad he got it. Enjoy the rest, Ray.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 10, 2005 to Local politics | TrackBack