Judyth Piazza interviews Houstonian Community Activist Ray Hill on The American Perspective
Seventy one year old native Houstonian. Graduated from Galena Park Public Schools; Attended Steven F Austin State University, University of Houston, Tulane University, New Orleans, no degrees. Came out as a gay man to my family and at Galena Park High School in 1958.
Cofounder and President of Promethean Society (Houston`s first gay/lesbian organization (1967-1969); Cofounder (1968), former Board Member and former General Manager (1980-1981) of Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM; Cofounder, Executive Director Houston Human Rights League (1976-1986); Cofounder (1975), Past President (1989) of Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus; Winner of landmark First Amendment US Supreme Court Case Houston v Hill 107 S.Ct 2502, 1987); Cofounder/organizer (1976), Past Chair (1984-1985) of Houston Lesbian Gay Pride Week; Former Chair (1984-1986) of Montrose Activity Center.
Chair of Executive and Coordinating Committees for the First March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1979; Founder and original producer and host (1975-1980) of Wilde N Stein (one of the first regularly scheduled gay/lesbian radio shows in the country and the only one in the South in the 1970`s); Cofounder Kaposi`s Sarcoma Foundation (1980, became KS/AIDS Foundation, is now AIDS Foundation Houston); Convict (1970-1975) Texas Prison System.
Founder and Executive Director of First Amendment Lobby of Texas (1982-1997); Author of first “Safe Sex Pamphlet” in the country to help prevent the spread of HIV, published by Citizens for Human Equality CHE, Houston, 1982; Contributor to the first three International Conferences on Gender Law and Employment; Author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons; Founder/producer/host of Prison Show (the only show of its kind in the US) 1980 to present (twenty-second anniversary show, March 24, 2002).
Former board member of Texas C.U.R.E. (Prison reform group) 1986- 1989; Former member of Houston AIDS Prevention Community Planning Group representing incarcerated populations 2000-2006; Winner of four Federal suits against the city of Houston for police abuses including the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision; a challenge to a city ordinance requiring people to document their identity on demand of a police officer (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); a challenge to a city ordinance “blocking the sidewalk (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); and two cases challenging the city ordinance criminalizing the interruption of a police officer (the first case resulted in the rewriting of the ordinance and the second (the Supreme Court decision eliminated both the ordinance and the state law).
Awarded 1999 First Amendment Award by Houston Trial Lawyers Foundation; The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Unity Committee (several organizations supporting equality for transgendered people); The 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Stonewall Lawyers Association; Lifetime Achievement Award from ACLU, Texas 2005, Trailblazer Award from SCALE, 2006 (HIV and AIDS stakeholder organizations); The John P. McGovern Award for 2008 by University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston.
Writer/performer of Ray Hill, The Prison Years (Best One Character Show1997, The Houston Press) at Actor`s Workshop, The Little Room Downstairs and Biba`s One`s A Meal, 20 performance run, Printed script available. Writer/performer of Ray Hill & The Sex Police at Biba`s One`s A Meal, 11 performance run; Ray Hill In Love, Valentine`s day 2000 at Stages Repertory Theater; Outlaw, Queer Like Ray Hill at Ashland StreetTheater, 14 performances; A Stroll Through Houston Gay History with Ray Hill at Gay and Lesbian Community Center, June 18, 2001; Ray Hill, The Prison Years reworked and presented at The Philly Fringe 2005, receiving critical acclaim.
I have had seven wonderful men in my life; a famous drag queen: Tiffany Jones (Kenneth Whitehead); a famous hair dresser: Bob Oliphant; a would-be cop: Fred Paez; a country boy from Lufkin: Dale Sweat; a Lutheran minister: The Rev. Kent Naasz; and Patricio Domingo Bravo an expatriate from Chile; Rene Castillo, an outlaw. Only Patricio survives. Tiffany, Kent, Bob and Rene died of AIDS; Dale was murdered by a burglar, Fred was assassinated by a police officer.
I am currently unattached and reasonably available.