Mayor Parker Appoints 1st Transgender Municipal Judge
November 17, 2010

Houston Attorney Phyllis Frye  made history Wednesday when she was confirmed as a part-time associate municipal judge.

Mayor Annise Parker nominated Frye, who was confirmed unanimously by Houston city council.

Frye will mainly hear docket cases and traffic cases, but her appointment is significant to people in her transgender community.

Here is a statement from Kristopher Banks, President of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus:

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus lauded Mayor Annise Parker for the
historic appointment of transgender law icon Phyllis Randolph Frye to
municipal court judge Wednesday, and congratulated Frye on her historic
achievement. Frye is the first transgender judge in Texas.

“Phyllis Frye is a true icon in our civil rights movement,” said Kris
Banks, Caucus president. “She is an internationally recognized pioneer,
and the Mayor is to be congratulated for her choice.”

Frye, of the law firm Frye and Associates, led the fight against
Houston’s anti-cross-dressing law in 1980. In 1991, she founded the
Transgender Law Conference. She and her firm are currently representing
Nikki Araguz, a transgender woman in Wharton, in her fight to enforce
the law and ensure her marriage to her late husband is recognized.

The Mayor also appointed Charles Spain, an openly gay attorney and chair
of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Issues of the State
Bar, as associate municipal court judge, and Josh Brockman, an openly
gay attorney, as hearings officer. All three new appointments and the
Mayor are Caucus members.

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus is the oldest civil rights
organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in
the South.

Kris Banks Plans to Pitch In At Houston City Hall
September 8, 2010

A familiar face is  joining the office of Houston city council member Sue Lovell on a temporary basis, while her Chief of Staff, William Paul Thomas, works for the Bill White campaign through November.

“I am pleased to announce Kris Banks has joined my staff to help us with our heavy workload while William Paul Thomas is on leave absence. William Paul has joined the Bill White campaign for the next couple months,” said Lovell is a statement sent to the media. “Kris Banks has experience at City Hall and knowledge of the issues we are working on and I feel fortunate he is available to help us.”

I’ve interviewed  Kris on a number of  occasions for KPRC Local 2 regarding issues in the GLBT community.

GLBT Political Caucus Announces Endorsements
February 4, 2010


The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC endorsed in contested races for the March 2010 primaries this week in two membership meetings.

“We are very excited about these candidates,” said Kris Banks, Caucus president. “Government officials have a profound effect on the lives of our community. The people who hold these judicial offices will decide whether we can adopt children or whether we can change our names to the gender with which we identify. Our screening committee worked hard to identify which candidates to recommend, and our members put much thought into whom they trust with these important decisions.”

All endorsed candidates went through a rigorous screening process. First, the candidates filled out questionnaires.

Some judicial candidates compared the questionnaire to taking the bar exam again. Then, the candidates met with a panel of members. Finally, the membership as a whole voted on the endorsements.

The Caucus is a bipartisan organization and opened its endorsement process to both parties, however, only Democratic candidates opted to screen. The Caucus will endorse again for the general election.

The endorsements follow:

United States Representative, District 18: Sheila Jackson Lee United States Representative, District 22: Doug Blatt

Governor: Bill White

Lieutenant Governor: Ronnie Earle

Commissioner of the General Land Office: Hector Uribe Commissioner of Agriculture: Hank Gilbert State Representative, District 146: Borris L. Miles District Judge, 113th Judicial District: Christina Bryan District Judge, 157th Judicial District: Chuck Silverman District Judge, 180th Judicial District: Lori Gooch District Judge, 189th Judicial District: Andy Pereira District Judge, 190th Judicial District: Jim Wrotenbery District Judge, 234th Judicial District: Tanner Garth District Judge, 245th Judicial District: Janiece Horn District Judge, 247th Judicial District: Clinton “Chip” Wells District Judge, 248th Judicial District: Trent Gaither District Judge, 270th Judicial District: Charles Spain District Judge, 281st Judicial District: Donna Roth District Judge, 295th Judicial District: Paul Simon Family District Judge, 308th Judicial District: Bruce Kessler Family District Judge, 310th Judicial District: Judy Dougherty Family District Judge, 311th Judicial District: Steve Herskowitz Family District Judge, 313th Judicial District: Natalie Oakes Family District Judge, 314th Judicial District: David Longoria Family District Judge, 315th Judicial District: Bill Thursland County Judge: Gordon Quan Judge, County Court at Law No. 1: Steve Reilley Judge, County Court at Law No. 2: Damian E. LaCroix Judge, County Court at Law No. 3: Damon Crenshaw Judge, County Criminal Court No. 1: Beverly D. Melontree Judge, County Criminal Court No. 2: Mary Connealy Acosta Judge, County Criminal Court No. 3: Judith Snively Judge, County Criminal Court No. 9: Silvia Pubchara-Munoz Judge, County Criminal Court No. 12: Robert “Bob” Cardenas Judge, County Criminal Court No. 13: Dennis Slate Judge, County Probate Court No. 2: Joellen Snow Judge, County Probate Court No. 3: Mary Galligan County Clerk: Sue Smith Schechter Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 2: Denise Graves The Houston GLBT Political Caucus, founded in 1975, is the South’s oldest civil rights organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.


Kristopher Banks


Houston GLBT Political Caucus