Gender Non-Binary/ Non-Conforming Nominees 2024

Please read through the nominations below and click on a button to vote one you are ready.  You are encouraged, but not required to vote in all categories. 

Odyssey Oakengrove

Odyssey Oakengrove grew up in Houston and quickly moved back after their boyfriend broke off the relationships, saying that Odyssey was “too involved in the gay community, the trans community, and Black Lives Matter.” Not having recognized their transness, they simply said, “I am the gay community” and packed their stuff to move back home. 

Once here, they found a home with Black Lives Matter activists, learning advocacy and unlearning their colonized mindset. They realized they were genderqueer at an ACLU abortion access seminar, not simply a “really strong ally.” They have volunteered time with Clinic Access Support Network, Black Lives Matter: Houston, and Showing Up for Racial Justice. They have spoken with state reps at the 2021 and 2023 Texas Legislative Session, fighting for queer students, public education, and against oppressive immigration policies.

In 2018, they made international news under their deadname when the HISD school board had them placed under arrest for standing up for Black and brown students and wanting to keep their schools from being chartered. In 2023, they were elected to the board of Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus and have worked to create a scholarship so that access to the Caucus is not limited to the privileged. They currently focus on ensuring that diversity and inclusion proposals are accessible to both the disabled and the poor.

They have a rich homelife with their nestmate and two cats, Peter and Samson. They spend free time with their five partners, incorporating participation in protests and political advocacy with date nights.

Amanda "Andy" Wolfe

Thank you for your consideration for this exceptionally high honor. I am a lifelong activist and volunteer who started my journey by campaigning with my mom in 1980 for the Jimmy Carter campaign, and she instilled in me the fact that one voice can make a difference for others who need that representation. Since that early age of only four years old, I haven’t stopped devoting my time and skills toward the greater good in any way I’m able.

As a writer, performer, and independent journalist in Houston since 2007, I choose to not only fight for the causes that are most pivotal for our often uncertain future, but also champion the people behind them, and amplify voices that are frequently silenced. At many points in my life, I have been one of those people, feeling as though I was up against walls and institutions that couldn’t be broken down. However, pure luck connected me very early in my Houston life to legends like Ray Hill and Rainbo de Klown – often polarizing, but unable to be ignored – and through them, I was able to immerse myself in my passion for Houston LGBTQ history. Ray in particular was a mentor to me, and I’ll never forget his words while I felt like I was losing the hard battle for better light rail back in 2012: “Never let ‘em shut you up, kid.”

Every time I feel like my own, or others’, voices are being silence, I rally behind those words. (And we may have lost the vote, but those trains sure did get built afterward!)

Much of my unstoppable empathy for the underserved and ignored comes from my own winding journey to my very own self, spending the first 40 years of my life in the closet and feeling “defective” by society’s standards … even as I fought ceaselessly for the people I knew, deep down, were actually my community. 

It is my goal to listen to and mentor others (of any age!) in our community, so that no other LGBTQ human in Houston ever has to feel the way I did in the past, but can instead feel confident and strong in who they are, and live their truth too in the way they are most comfortable.

While I’m not often in the spotlight – since I frequently work behind the scenes, and shine a light on those who are in the spotlight – being recognized for my contributions recently has been a phenomenal reward. This nomination is no exception, and by far the greatest of the honors. 

Thank you again, and I look forward to all of the great work and community collaboration to come.

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