Thanks for two great years!

I took office as president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in January 2009. And if I could choose any two years to be at the helm of a civil rights organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, it would be these two years.

Annise Parker became the first openly LGBT person to be elected mayor of a major city in the United States. Congress finally passed and the President signed a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," meaning that, as a soon as an implementation process is complete, gay, lesbian and bisexual people will be able to openly serve our country. Phyllis Frye became the first transgender judge in Texas. And, of course, we had election after election after election (I presided over no less than 10 endorsement meetings in my two years), some with wonderful results, and some with distressing results, but it was always a good fight.

There's so much more to go. An Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes our entire community. Relationship recognition and marriage equality. And we must continue the work of electing pro-equality candidates. But it will be someone else leading the Caucus through those fights. After two terms, I will not be a candidate for re-election during officer elections at our Wednesday, January 5 regular membership meeting at 7 p.m. at the Havens Center (1827 W. Alabama).

I have many, many people to thank after two years. But I wanted to use this opportunity to thank you - the GLBT community and everyone who supports the GLBT community - for standing up over these past two years and making your voice heard. I may not have the breadth of experience of some - I'm the first Caucus president to be born after the organization was founded in 1975 - but I believe we've hit new horizons in terms of visibility for our community.

If I have any parting words (not that I'm disappearing - I plan to remain an active volunteer with the Caucus and within the community), it would be that we have to continue to be vocal and we have to continue to work harder than anyone. And we have to keep our commitment to justice not only for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, but to justice for all. During this lame duck Congressional session, a major piece of common-sense legislation for justice, the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, passed, but another piece of common-sense legislation for justice failed. The DREAM Act would have provided a path to citizenship for college students and those willing to serve our country, yet it was shot down after repeated lies. We should remember how often our community is lied about when anti-equality politicians are trying to use fear to shut out equality. And we should remember how important it was for civil rights heroes like Coretta Scott King and Rep. John Lewis to compare their struggles with ours, and we should do the same for other civil rights movements. I was so proud when our organization passed a resolution supporting comprehensive immigration reform this year. We must continue to stand up for justice as we ask for others to do the same.

These two years have been amazing, and that the Caucus has twice given me the chance to serve has been the greatest honor of my life thus far. I am excited to continue to stand with the Houston GLBT Political Caucus as we fight for justice and equality for all.

Thanks again,

Kris Banks


Houston GLBT Political Caucus

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Houston, TX 77266-6664 
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