Social Justice

Lawrence v. Texas decriminalized homosexuality 20 years ago

In siding with the plaintiffs in Lawrence, the court effectively ruled that laws criminalizing homosexuality were unconstitutional because they violated a person’s right to privacy. The legacy of the case, however, has been bittersweet. It has been used as a precedent in decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage. But the plaintiffs in Lawrence suffered even after the decision was made, and rulings since then have eroded some gains made in the gay rights movement.

When po

Queer neighborhood watch returns to protect Houston's streets

In the early 1990s, following a series of violent gay-bashing incidents in Montrose—and the fact that HPD wasn't taking reports of gay-bashing seriously—a group of queer Houstonians and allies teamed up to form a neighborhood watch organization known as Q Patrol. The group walked the Montrose streets, focusing especially on the many gay bars dotting the neighborhood and acting as a visible presence to deter harassment and crime.

Q Patrol's relationship with the police improved after an undercov

A guide to major Houston Pride events this June

It's June, and that means Pride Month in Houston. While there will still be a parade, there will be no official Pride festival this year, according to the nonprofit tasked with planning the city's official celebration.

Pride Houston 365 announced in January that Houston's 2023 Pride festivities would be scaled down due to a litany of reasons, including financial issues and safety concerns. However, the parade, which takes place on the evening of June 24, is still slated to be one of the biggest

400 years separate the violent paintings of a new Houston art exhibit

In one painting, a young woman kneels over a bed with a sword in her right hand. In her left hand, she claws at a man's hair, the blade at his throat, as blood cascades down the bed's white sheets.

In a second painting, a Black woman stands before a background of colorful flowers. In her left hand she holds the severed head of a white woman by the ponytail. Her sword, in her right hand, is partially obscured behind her back. Unlike the first painting, this one shows only a few drops of blood.

How a '90s watch group kept Houston safe from gay bashers

The co-founder of an early '90s Houston gay rights organization has some advice for queer Houstonians and allies who want to fight against harassment and attacks like the one that happened last year in Colorado Springs.

Document everything, says Glenn Holt, one of the co-founders of Q-Patrol, a group that worked with Montrose bars and Houston Police throughout the 1990s to prevent gay-bashing incidents. "If there's anything going on anywhere, anytime, record video," says Holt, now 64. "Because

Retirees celebrate 5 years protesting outside John Cornyn's Houston HQ

A group of Houstonians who have been meeting every Tuesday to protest at Republican Senator John Cornyn's Memorial Park-area office just celebrated their five-year anniversary.

Consisting of a core group of about a dozen retirees, the protesters meet every Tuesday at around 11:30 a.m. at 5300 Memorial Drive. This week marked their 262nd consecutive protest, a string of demonstrations unbroken save for a short break caused by Hurricane Harvey—and they don't envision themselves stopping anytime s

Texas Activists Enlist Bartenders in the Fight Against Drug Overdoses

A group of Houston-based activists is enlisting bartenders in the fight against the overdose crisis with a new educational program intended to teach service industry professionals how to spot — and help — someone who is experiencing an overdose.

The informal collective of activists, who go by the name Harm Redux HTX on Instagram, makes use of a practice known as harm reduction, which seeks to mitigate the adverse consequences of drug use. “It’s the principal belief that all life is precious,” s

Fort Worth Officials Say the City Is Working on a Solution to Keep Community Fridges Open

Fort Worth officials have said that they are dedicated to working on a solution that will allow the city’s community fridges to stay open, despite a series of antiquated laws that say fridges can not be left outdoors, unattended.

Both an official from the city’s office of code enforcement, and District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, have said they are working with Richardson and the city to negotiate a compromise to keep the Funky Town Fridges open.

At issue is a series of archaic laws meant to pre

An Antiquated Law Threatens Fort Worth’s Community Fridges

Funky Town Fridge, the collective behind a trio of community-accessible refrigerators first established in Fort Worth last September, is in danger of being shut down by the city.

According to Funky Town Fridge founder Kendra Richardson, the city set its sights on the community feeding program with plans to shut the fridges down in January if she didn’t make major modifications to the way that the fridges operate. At issue is an obscure, archaic law, passed in 1964, that is meant to prevent chil

It’s a call to acknowledge that all labor deserves dignity

The following piece on the New Orleans sanitation worker strike by first time Hell World contributor Brittanie Shey is taken from the most recent paid-subscriber edition of the newsletter which you can find here. Please consider getting a subscription to receive all complete editions of Hell World and access to the full archives. Thanks for reading.

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On February 1, 1968, two Memphis sanitation workers were crushed to death when they took refuge from the rain inside the ba

Aggressive Reporting, Fierce Writing, and FOI Requests: How a Small Town Editor Won a Pulitzer

Jeff Gerritt was only on his second day of the job when he managed to piss off the local sheriff.

As the new editor of the Palestine Herald-Press, a small town paper in east Texas, Gerritt had written an op-ed criticizing Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor for his agency’s lack of transparency. Taylor, a four-term incumbent, was livid.

“He just got enraged,” Gerritt said. “He would not talk to the paper after that. He wrote a letter to the editor and called me a ‘guy from up north with his li

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