Female Identifying Nominees

Margarita Pérez Frinsco is a relationship-centered leader with a passion for transformational philanthropy. As Senior Director of Advancement for the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, she has nearly 15 years of experience in philanthropy, serving in a range of organizations from corporate to nonprofit and most recently higher education. Margarita is focused on building institutional resources to help advance the philanthropic goals of alumni, industry partners, and community organizations. She recently led the philanthropic efforts of the College of Technology during the immensely successful UH-System $1 billion “Here We Go” campaign.

A Houston native and the second of four children, Margarita has strong ties to her family and community, with most of her family residing in Houston and Mexico. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of St. Thomas and recently earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business in May 2021. Margarita resides in the Near Northside community with her wife, Jessica, their son, Gedeon, their gray tabby cat, Jules, and their German Shepherd dog, Maxine.

Margarita is an active member of Houston’s LGBTQ+ community and is known for her passion and dedication to creating a better future for all Houstonians. She is involved in several community organizations, including Las Comadres, a University of Houston group that mentors first-generation STEM Latina college students, and the Houston LGBTQ Alumni Association, where she has served as Treasurer since Fall 2021. Margarita’s recent appointment as Board Chair of The Hollyfield Foundation, a grant-making nonprofit serving the Houston queer community, reflects her commitment to giving back.

She feels grateful to the city’s queer community for helping her discover the magic of philanthropy. In 2019, Margarita co-founded Her Destination Unknown, a group that hosted weekly Wednesday night gatherings meant to foster connection amongst the local lesbian community. Each year, the group hosted three charitable events that attracted hundreds of guests and provided Margarita her first experiences as a fundraiser and community builder.

Margarita is a respected and influential figure in the Houston community, with a strong support system from her family, friends, and loved ones. Her dedication to philanthropy and creating positive change is a testament to her commitment to her city and its people. 


Katharine is a native Houstonian. She is a contemporary abstract painter. Katharine’s art is a physical representation of her voice… “Whatever it is, tell your story…I tell mine through art. We each have our own experiences that shape our story. That story is powerful, meaningful, and worth sharing with the rest of us!” 

Beginning in high school, Katharine created doodle drawings for family and friends, which continued to her various workplaces, where she would surprise co-workers with small doodles on notes on their desks. The doodling progressed to dabbling in painting as a way to relax while working in social services and even more so while working in the Texas Legislature.

In the middle of completing her undergraduate studies, Katharine’s path to community service began when she volunteered for 18 months at Nuestras Pequenas Rosas in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a historically locked country in a cycle of poverty. She later continued her studies and obtained a Masters of Social Work. Katharine has served communities through the child welfare system, advocacy, and legislative strategy. She worked for five years with children in foster care. She then transitioned to working around the Texas Capitol for nine years as a staffer and advocate, working on public policy issues related to physical and mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice. She has done this all to promote and protect the well-being of oppressed and vulnerable people.

While analyzing systemic barriers to community mental health services and creating legislative opportunities to expand access to these services (left brain activity), Katharine began painting in her living room to tap into her expressive and creative side (right brain activity) to enable her brain to explore unconventional policy and legislative solutions. The more she painted, the more she began recognizing her passion for sharing her paintings with the world.  

When Katharine “retired” from the Texas Legislature, she jumped feet first into building an art career…her hands have been covered in paint ever since. Katharine’s general approach to painting is “Mess Around and Find Out,” meaning she rarely starts a painting with an expectation of the outcome…sometimes it works and sometimes she ends up with a mess, but she really loves the process. Recently, Katharine has been developing a new series of works called WANDER. This series is inspired by the idea of movement without a specific purpose. Katharine was voted Houston’s Gayest & Greatest Female Artist by OutSmart magazine in 2021 and 2022. 

Katharine believes we all do better when we all do better…. And the only way to ensure that is to elect candidates that value and fight for equality, equity, and justice. Katharine is a longstanding member of the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus and served on the Board of Directors from 2019 to 2022. 

Katharine and her wife, Megan, have been together since 2005 and married in 2015. 

Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri Espeut (she/her/hers) is a writer, creative, and social advocate who has worked in community advocacy the last five years. She currently works with The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc. Serving as Director of Programming, she oversees the advocacy/ leadership programs, including Transgender Ally Collective (a leadership program uplifting and empowering Black Trans Women), and Project Liberate (a year-long intensive leadership development program for Black Queer businesses).

Deeply committed to activism, Joelle also serves on the Board of Trustees of The Houston LGBTQ Political Caucus (the first Black Trans Woman nominated to the Board). Joelle has worked with AIDS United, GLAAD, Gilead/Compass Initiative, Transgender Law Center, and Emory University, and appeared in Houston Chronicle, Outsmart Magazine and Fox26 Houston’s “Isaiah Factor Uncensored”. She was awarded The Mahogany Project, Inc.’s Rising Star Phoenix Award in 2020, as well as the ‘Carrying The Torch’ Award at 2022’s Houston Trans Pride and the 2022 Monica Roberts Award from The Houston LGBTQ Political Caucus. As a writer, Joelle has been published in the queer publications Spectrum South, the Trans Griot, and Q26.

Gender Nonbinary | Nonconforming Nominees

Chip (they\them\their) has been an outspoken activist, fundraiser, and social organizer in the LGBTQIA+ community for over 25 years. They have helped found several non-profit organizations in Houston, including the Bayou City Pups and the Space City Sisters. You can often find Chip organizing or participating in fundraisers for other non-profits such as PWA Holiday Charities and any organization that needs a hand. Chip is a sex-positive activist who has conducted and participated in seminars and discussion panels on safer sex, the fetish/kink communities, and relationships. Their passion for non-profit work, their faith, and being a self-professed geek expanded in 2022, when they joined an International Jewish non-profit organization focused on community building and leadership amongst Jewish teens as the Director of IT. Chip is also very active in the Renaissance Festival circuit, raising funds for RESCU Foundation through tours for newcomers to the Texas Renaissance Festival. In 2022, they were honored to be chosen as Daddy of Montrose, a title that commits the titleholder to a year of self-produced fundraising for the local community alongside the First Family of Montrose. In recognition of their community work and leadership within the Leather/Fetish community, they were twice awarded the Houston Spirit of Leather Individual Award, selected by popular vote from members of the community itself. In their personal life, Chip and their husband, Tank, were married in June 2020 and are in a polyamorous relationship. You may see Chip, their boyfriend Luca, and Tank out at trivia or any number of fundraisers. Chip and their husband, Tank, are the owners of The Montrose Forge and Lilith’s Way, where they celebrate diversity, inclusion, body positivity, and sexual freedom with the simple motto, “Everybody and every BODY deserves to feel sexy.”

Ethan Michelle Ganz is a trans nonbinary individual who fights for justice and equity.  They use all pronouns interchangeably.  He has worked, volunteered, or advocated with a number of organizations including Pure Justice, Texas Advocates for Justice, the Rothko Chapel, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Equality Texas, ActOuthtx, Houston Climate Movement, Stop TX Dot I45, and is a co-founder of the Montrose Residents Coalition.  She is also a speaker who has spoken at events like “Let’s Talk About Love Houston,” which was held at the We Serve Theater, and “We Have Always Been Here,” which was held at the Center for the Healing of Racism.  In 2022, he was awarded the “Democracy Champion Award,” from Pure Justice and the “Policy Chat Speakers Award,” from the Texas Advocates for Justice. 

Ethan Michelle is a NCCER certified pipefitter, who attended the Associated Builders and Contractors School.  In 2019, he ran for Houston City Council District C, but lost the election.  They received an AA from Houston Community College in the Humanities/ Global Studies in 2019 and graduated with a BA from the University of St. Thomas in Political Science in 2021.  Since graduation he has been working in the community.  In 2021, she worked to bring Covid Vaccinations to historically excluded neighborhoods.  In 2022, they worked to get people registered to vote, and along with their team was able to get over 1,500 people registered to vote, with 90% of those folks being justice impacted.  This year, he has been focusing on activism and advocacy in the State Legislature, to combat all the hate legislation, but has also made time to stand with community members when called to do so. 

Male Identifying Nominees

W. Jeffrey Campbell, a native of Cuero, TX, is a graduate of Texas State University. Currently working as the Chief Executive Officer of Allies in Hope, formerly AIDS Foundation Houston, Jeffrey has spent over two decades working in the field of HIV prevention while also being heavily involved in LGBTQ advocacy in Houston and around the nation.
Over the years, Jeffrey has been a trail blazer in regards to engaging and educating the African American community on topics of HIV prevention, care and LGBTQ+ awareness. This work includes serving as the Minister of Health and Wholeness for The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, an international organization for affirming and inclusive ministers and churches. Campbell’s primary role while in this volunteer position was to provide HIV education to affirming and inclusive pastors equipping them to better serve their congregations and communities. In addition, Campbell also created discussions for leaders and participants around the topic of mental health and the African American LGBTQ+ community.

Campbell is also the visionary for Brothers Speaking, a safe space for discussion and support for African American gay and bi-sexual men. The launch of Brothers Speaking in May 2009 was a town hall style event that drew over 300 participants in the Houston area to discuss such subjects as sero-discordant relationships, spirituality and sexuality, and dating and relationships among AA gay and bi-sexual men. This event was held three consecutive years. Campbell now manages a Facebook group by the same name that creates opportunities for Black gay and bi-sexual men to discuss topics that are pertinent to their community.

Campbell is also touted as the first openly gay African American man to pastor a church in Houston, TX. Campbell launched Fresh Start Church in October 2002 and served as pastor through February 2007. He led this congregation in providing studies related to scripture and sexuality, relationship building and most importantly impacting the Houston area’s most vulnerable communities by providing food resources, assisting with linking persons with HIV to care and other ancillary services. Overall, under Campbell’s leadership, Fresh Start was a safe space for people living on the margins of society due to their sexuality, gender expression or HIV status.

While working at the City of Houston’s Health Department as the HIV Program Manager from 2015 through 2019, Campbell was a lead on the development of the City’s first stand-alone HIV prevention social media and marketing campaign, I Am Life. This Centers for Disease Control funded campaign was developed as part of a project focusing on PrEP and treatment as prevention messaging to gay and bi-sexual African American and Hispanic males and transgender persons all between the ages of 17 and 34.

In September 2019, Campbell took on the role of the Chief Program Officer for AIDS Foundation Houston, the oldest HIV prevention service provider in Texas. The organization, now rebranded as Allies in Hope, performs work that focuses on HIV prevention, PrEP-Care, access to rapid start treatment and providing housing and supportive services to people living with HIV. Campbell’s role as the CPO was to set the direction for all AFH programs using information based on the agency strategic plan, current funding requirements as well as information provided by research and relevant studies. Campbell plays a lead role in the organization’s PrEP-Care clinic which provides PrEP services via both brick and mortar and tele-health models to over 200 people who are vulnerable for the acquisition of HIV. Recently Campbell was at the helm of the launch of a Facebook Live discussion series, Soul Talk: Conversations that Heal. In this role, Campbell moderates conversations among a panel of experts and community members that focus on women’s health, PrEP, mental health, the abolition of stigma and the need to address the social determinants of health in an effort to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.

In January 2022, Campbell moved to a newly created position at AFH when he became the organization’s first Chief Public Health Officer. In this role, Campbell oversaw the work of AFH’s Division of Health and Wellness. This division includes the agency’s Department of Clinical Services and Department of Prevention. While PrEP Care continues to be a focus, under Campbell’s leadership, AFH has launched START Now, a rapid start anti-retroviral treatment program that focuses on persons newly diagnosed with HIV, those who are previously diagnosed and are not currently in care. The overall goal of START Now is to support persons living with HIV to achieve viral suppression within the first 60-days of treatment initiation.

On March 1, 2023, Campbell became the Chief Executive Officer of Allies in Hope. He is the first African American to lead the organization to lead the organization in its 41-year history. As the CEO of an organization that is in the midst of a rebrand, Campbell and his team are that the mission of Allies in Hope has not changed. “We are still keenly focused on ending the HIV epidemic in the greater Houston area,” says Campbell about the organization’s work and mission.

Inspired by his elders, Jeffrey’s greatest joy is when he is providing safe spaces for marginalized people to heal and be empowered. He enjoys the fruit of the work that he is doing constantly on his personal self that helps him to walk in his complete truth as a man who is Black, gay and filled with power and purpose.

Overall, Campbell is respected as a trusted leader and confidant by his local and national community.

Dylan Forbis he/him is a 35 y/o Houstonian that grew up in the Alief area. His passions are community organizing, art, music, and making memories with friends and family. Dylan has been out and a member of the LGBTQIA in more than one way almost his entire life. In 2010 Dylan performed as a Drag King named Jim BeMe with the GenderMyn out of the Montrose area. Not long after he found his true self and came out as a transgender man. Little did he know that his decision to be honest to himself and those around him was going to have a large impact on his commitment to the civil rights movement and still does to this day. In 2011 Dylan was fired from a job with a construction company after he came out at work, after which he found it becoming more difficult to find a new job as his documents said female and his name wasn’t corrected. After being turned down time and time again he decided to update these documents, however back in 2012 you were only able to update your name as the gender marker correction was an expensive and risky process. After updating his name he began to work for local contractors, but for his safety had to make the decision not to tell them he was transgender. In 2014 then Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that was a local city policy change that Dylan was excited about: not only would this
offer protections to Transgender people never offered before, but the measure also protected residents from discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy, veteran status, age, and several other classifications. After it passed the opposition made it their mission to have it removed. Knowing how painful workplace discrimination is on a personal level Dylan testified at the Houston City Council and was even filmed in the first commercial to feature a transgender person for a political campaign in American history. The project was organized by a coalition of the ACLU Houston, Human Equal Rights Campaign, and Equality Texas. The goal was to show that Transgender people aren’t to be feared and that we are just like everyone else and keep the ordinance; however, the opposition won in 2015. The commitment to being out of the closet was real and Dylan began to feel as though his safety while working in construction was compromised. After experiencing more daily harassment from coworkers he decided to go into freelance construction and handyman work while continuing to volunteer at the Transgender center leading a game night he began training with the ACLU and Equality Texas in Transgender leadership and lobbying during the Texas sessions. In 2017 Dylan decided that enough was enough after he was arrested by HPD and experienced negative treatment due to his gender identity. This in addition to the rise of Anti-transgender rhetoric demonstrated the need for some positive voices in opposition, so he ran for office for Texas House District 29. He received several endorsements from Our Revolution, The Caucus, and won a scholarship to a PCCC candidate training in Washington DC. After coming in second during the primary election Dylan reclaimed commitment to the Pearland political arena, helped grow several organizations including the Young Democrats of Brazoria County, NAACP Brazoria County, and received the Dee McKellar award at the 2018 Unity banquet for “The individual who has steadfastly stood up as a staunch advocate for the values of the transgender community.” Dylan was also the first out Transgender man elected to serve on a Texas State Party Executive Committee as Senate District Committeeman in 2020. In 2020 he volunteered on the League of Women Voters cohort and helped design a voter information card for the under-housed community. In 2021 was elected to serve as Policy Director for the Texas Young Democrats and he graduated from
Houston Community College with an associate degree. Also, that year he and his partner of 6 years ended their relationship, and he moved back to the Houston area and continues to work in the fight for the liberation and civil rights of all people. He currently serves on the board of the Transgender Foundation of America, volunteers for many organizations, and dreams of working in policy and advocacy full-time. He is currently a candidate for Houston Pride Male Grand Marshal 2023.

Brad Pritchett is a native Houstonian and long-time LGBTQ+ rights organizer.

Brad was one of many community organizers who helped lobby Houston City Council to pass nondiscrimination protections for all Houstonians in 2014, known as HERO.

Brad served as a 3-term President of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, helping to identify pro-equality candidates and get them elected to office – including LGBTQ+ candidates. He then worked as a Policy and Advocacy Strategist with the ACLU of Texas, working on LGBTQ+ rights at the Texas Legislature. 

Currently he serves as the Field Director for Equality Texas, the state’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization focusing on empoweringLGBTQ+ people and their allies to take action in support of LGBTQ+ Texans.

Brad has been named Outsmart Magazine’s Most Prominent Male LGBTQ Activist since 2021.

Brad has been married to his husband Noel, for 13 years and they live in the Houston Heights with their 2 beagles and 1 cat.

Ally Nominees

I was born in Beaumont Texas, the fifth of seven children of two deaf parents. As a young person, I struggled to understand my place in a restrictive society. I first found acceptance in Beaumont’s small gay community. I was mentored by my high school drama teacher – the first in a long line of gay men who believed in me.

My heart and home have always been with the LGBTQ community. I am a heterosexual, cisgender female, and I am proud to call myself an ally.  Recently, I wrote and starred in my own one woman show, The Book of Mary, It Costs a Lot to Be Real. In the script, I describe the dynamic Montrose neighborhood I found when I moved here from Beaumont in the early 70s, the history of the fight for gay rights in Harris County, and the heartbreak of the AIDS epidemic.

Not only was drag illegal, the police were busting lesbians for wearing blue jeans at The Roaring Sixties. The iconic bar, Mary’s, was raided constantly. In contrast to  the seemingly free and open Montrose lifestyle, the LBGTQ community was under fire. I did all I knew how to do: I was an ally, I participated, I entertained.

I performed in many plays geared towards gay audiences, including at the Montrose Community Center in a production of Women Behind Bars produced by Gary Van Ootegham, the first Gay Political Caucus president. I was the first cisgender female to appear in The Diana Awards Show, for which I also helped then President Charles Hebert write lyrics and bon mots. One notable show that I produced , directed, and performed in was_ The Secret Tapes of Jesus (by Michael Morrow, creator of The Minister Mike Show),_ a scathing sendup of homophobia and the religious Right. Michael died of AIDS just a few days short of our opening. We left an open seat for him in the front row every night; I know that he was there with us for the sold out run. I also sang at the popular bars Baja Sam’s, Rascals, and The Keyboard.

When Anita Bryant made her infamous visit to the downtown Hyatt Regency, I was in the crowd with my friends. When Houston had its very first Gay Pride Parade, I was proud to ride on The Diana Foundation’s float, even though it meant that I had to dodge a brick thrown at my head by protestors, who no doubt thought that I was a drag queen. In subsequent years, I drove State Representative Debra Danburg in the parade, in my beloved hot pink convertible, Maybelline. Another event that I am proud to have been a part of is The Garden Party and Whore to Culture Extravaganza, where I was the only female host!

I personally witnessed the awful toll of HIV in the 80s. These are the subjects I explore in my play. I want that we should never forget our struggles, and that we don’t become complacent. My fervent hope is that younger people, especially LGBTQ people, don’t forget that our fragile freedoms are hard won, and continue to fight for them. Knowing our past is nostalgic, but it is also a cautionary tale.

If I am granted the honor of Grand Marshall, I will do my best to stand up, speak out, represent the community, and model the role of a true ally.


Christian D. Menefee is the youngest person and first African American to be elected  Harris County Attorney—the chief civil lawyer for the largest county in Texas. He  manages an office of 250+ attorneys and staff and represents a constituency of nearly 5  million Harris County residents.  The son of two veterans, Christian was the first in his family to attend college. He is a  graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio and The Washington University  School of Law (St. Louis).  Since taking office in January 2021, Christian has been a fighter for equality. He was the  first elected official in Texas to stand up to Governor Greg Abbott by publicly refusing to follow Abbott’s order to prosecute families who provide their trans kids gender affirming  care. He has also joined in several cases involving protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.  Christian’s fight for LGBTQ+ equality earned him the 2022 Kristen Capps Social  Conscience Award from the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus.   Christian has led the charge in the courtroom on many cases of statewide importance,  including a suit against Texas’s recently enacted voting restrictions, a suit to block Governor Greg Abbott from abusing his emergency powers during the pandemic, and  successfully defending thousands of legally cast ballots that were challenged by Texas  Attorney General Ken Paxton after the 2022 election. He has also joined in filing briefs in  support of abortion rights and the continued legal use of mifepristone. Christian has also  been a leading advocate on environmental justice issues, having filed several lawsuits  against Texas state agencies and large corporations to protect underserved Black and Brown communities from aggressive pollution and large-scale chemical disasters.   A product of Harris County public schools, Christian has also focused the office on giving  back to students and guiding them to future success. In 2022, he launched the office’s  inaugural Summer Legal Academy, a two-week program for local high school students  aimed at informing them on the path to becoming an attorney, navigating law school, and the different practices an attorney can pursue. His volunteer work in public schools in years  past earned him the 2018 President’s Award from the Parents for Public Schools of  Houston.   Prior to being elected Harris County Attorney, Christian practiced at Kirkland & Ellis LLP,  focusing on complex commercial litigation and bankruptcy matters in federal court, and  representing clients in matters involving the US Department of Justice, the US Securities  and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other government agencies. Christian began his  career at Norton Rose Fulbright, where he focused on business litigation in federal and  state courts, investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other matters  involving the SEC.  Christian has a long history of volunteer and civic efforts. As the brother of a childhood  cancer survivor, Christian has volunteered at MD Anderson Cancer Center and with the  Leukemia Lymphoma Society. He also served on Houston’s Independent Police Oversight  Board, on the boards of the Houston Young Lawyers Association and the State Bar of  Texas’s Minority Counsel Program, and on the board of a nonprofit aimed at providing job  readiness programs to ex-offenders. Christian is a graduate of Leadership Houston (Class  XXXVI) and the United Way’s Project Blueprint training program for public sector boards.   Christian resides in Houston with his wife Kaitlyn, their son Gabriel, and their rescue dogs.

Christian Kelleher is an archivist and the head of the Special Collections department at the University of Houston Libraries where he partners with community members, scholars, students, historians, technical specialists, other archivists, and many others to preserve and make publicly accessible historical archives and publications in support of research, teaching, learning, and memory. He has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. At UH, Christian is proud to have helped formally establish one of the most important LGBTQ+ historical collections in the country, which has been inspired and built through the vision and leadership of LGBTQ+ community archivists, historians, museum curators, and activist members of the Houston Area Rainbow Collective History (ARCH) organization and many others. Just a few of the many collections at UH include archives from AIDS Foundation Houston, The Diana Foundation, Royal Dixon & Chester Snowden (who have been described as “Houston’s gay ‘power couple’ for over three decades, from 1929 to 1962”), Pat Gustavson & Mignon Weisinger (who met as students at UH in the 1940s), Annise Parker & Kathy Hubbard (including an amazing history of the LGBTQ+ Political Caucus), PFLAG, Ray Hill, TV Montrose, and collections from the Botts Collection of LGBT History, the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History, and JD Doyle. And the list goes on. As an important milestone for the archive, this year UH Libraries hired its first permanent, full-time archivist specifically for the LGBTQ+ collection. Christian is a Cougar Ally, and Special Collections is a Pride Partner with the UH LGBTQ Resource Center. Previous to joining UH Libraries, Christian was the archivist at UT Austin’s Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection where he worked with perhaps his favorite archive of all time, the personal papers of Gloria Anzaldúa. (Oh, and a lot of other types of archives and publications, too, in all these places.) Before all this, Christian worked for the non-profit literary publisher Graywolf Press in Minnesota, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa.