LGBTQ+ Controversy

By: Laisha Harris

Recently, with Governor Abbot’s attack on women’s reproductive rights, nearly 30 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced to the Texas Senate and House. The proposed ban on youth participation in sports that align with their gender identity and ban on affirming healthcare for trans-gender youth were introduced but did not pass. The Religious exemption allows for lawyers, ordained ministers, and priests to refuse their services to LGBTQ+ individuals if based on a strong religious belief or moral objection. The Gender Marker prohibits minors from amending their birth certificate to match gender identity. The Religious Exemption and Gender Marker bills are still being discussed.

The City of Houston is known for attracting and embracing people of different backgrounds, culture, and shade. Kendria Holmes, who is from Third ward, knew her entire life she liked women. In elementary, she would see the way the school would divide students by gender and started to realize the differences. “I did what I had to do to fit in, but by eighth grade, I felt comfortable in speaking up for myself, and when I got to high school, I embraced it. At Challenge Early College, boys would wear skirts and the teachers encouraged us to be ourselves. We had straight/gay alliance organizations, we would host panels and events, but church and school were always different. Church couldn’t answer my questions. Religion doesn’t speak to the scientific part of why I feel different than I look.” While Holmes’ identity was affirmed in school, she could not be herself when church was involved.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits any state from embracing, favoring, inhibiting, or denying a religion, or preventing a person from exercising their religious belief. Throughout the years, the Supreme Court has decided that there is a wall of separation between the church and state. Schools cannot mandate prayer at the beginning of the school day and a government agency may not embrace or deny services based on a person’s religion.

Wayland Adams, born in Cleveland, Ohio, finds that Houston is more progressive and welcoming of diversity. “Now the laws? That’s a different story. From what I noticed, the leftist ideologies are based on religion and yet one of the fundamental rights from the First Amendment is the separation of church and state.” This separation became noticeable to Adams during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Jackson. “They would ask her about her religious beliefs, but she would say that it is her responsibility to keep the church and the state separate. So, her religion cannot be used while she’s making decisions in the courthouse.” Adams says to honor the separation of church and state, the two cannot mingle when the state finds it convenient. “Science and data are one thing. Religion glorifies one life over another. It’s unfair to make decisions based off a religious belief for the whole of Texas rather than being religiously neutral in law-making.”

Holmes mentioned, “the people pushing these laws have their beliefs rooted in a religion, and those politicians are seeping their religion into the laws. Not to mention, Austin doesn’t reflect or represent the urban voices and urban areas such as Houston.” The representatives of Texas communities aren’t as diverse as Texas communities. With 2022 being a year for state-wide elections in Texas, we have an opportunity: fulfill our duty and vote for the candidate we desire. That way, when communities protest and demand change, we can say we tried it their way first.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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