Dear Friend,

This June, we are reaffirming and strengthening our commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, and I am grateful to have been chosen as this year’s Ally Grand Marshal for Pride Houston 365’s 46th Annual Pride Parade on June 29th.

LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights, and we must learn from history — not repeat it.

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn — a popular gay bar in New York City — harassing and arresting LGBTQIA+ patrons. These arrests spurred a six-day rebellion led by activists and their allies, which is often remembered as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement.

Fifty five years after this historic uprising, the LGBTQIA+ community is still fighting for basic human rights. Over 140 pieces of legislation were filed in Texas and over 500 pieces of legislation were filed across the nation in 2023 to strip away protections granted to all Americans and put the lives of LGBTQIA+ Texans at risk.

In contrast, Harris County is on the right side of history, fighting to enhance inclusion and respect so that all can live as their authentic selves.

Precinct 4 and Harris County are committed to protecting and advancing the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Last year, my team and I spearheaded the creation of Harris County’s first-ever LGBTQIA+ Commission, a board of volunteer community leaders that advises Commissioners Court on ways we can continue to improve justice and opportunity for LGBTQIA+ residents of Harris County.

We have also appointed LGBTQIA+ activists and leaders to critical boards and commissions across Harris County, including the Harris Health System Board of Trustees, the Harris County Sports Authority, the Harris County Housing Finance Corporation, and Managed Assigned Council Advisory Board.

Precinct 4 made history by appointing Dr. Cody Pyke to the Harris Health Board, as Dr. Pyke is the first openly transgender and nonbinary person to serve on the nine-member body, which oversees a $2.3 billion, fully integrated healthcare system. I know that with her lived experience and knowledge as both a physician and lawyer, Harris Health will better serve all residents.

When we stand united, we have the power to overcome the challenges in front of us today and the challenges that will come tomorrow. Together, we will continue fighting to make Harris County a place of progress and resistance — and a safe space for all LGBTQIA+ Texans.

All my best,

Lesley Briones
Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 4