RAG RADIO: Pioneering Gay Activists Ray Hill and Suzy Shelor

We discuss the state of the queer movement and efforts to suppress it.

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Rag Radio host Thorne Dreyer with guest Suzy Shelor at the KOOP studios in Austin. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Thorne Dreyer’s guests are pioneering Houston gay rights activist Ray Hill and Queer Rights ATX organizer Suzy Shelor.

Also joining in is Taylor Jones of Queer Rights ATX. We discuss the state of the queer movement in the country and efforts, including those by the Texas legislature, to suppress it. We also talk about the Trump presidency and the grassroots resistance movement that has emerged in Austin and around the nation.

Ray Hill joined us from Houston
via Skype.

Ray Hill, who has been widely honored for his human rights advocacy, was co-founder, in 1967, of Houston’s first gay/lesbian organization. In 2015, Ray was named a Houston “Living Legend” by the Harris County Democratic Party for his lifelong contributions “to the advancement of progressive politics” in Harris County and the State of Texas.

He helped found KPFT, Houston’s Pacifica radio station, in 1968, and later served as manager. Ray Hill spent five years as an inmate in the Texas prison system, and for three decades produced and hosted “The Prison Show,” with a wide audience among Texas prisoners. The 74-year old Hill came out as a gay man to his family and to his fellow students at Houston’s Galena Park High School in 1958.

Suzy Shelor is a founding member and co-chair of the Austin group, Queer Rights ATX. She was the lead organizer of an Inauguration Day LGBTQ rally at the Texas State Capitol, which drew more than 1,000 people to hear local queer heroes as well as Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Texas Cong. Lloyd Doggett, and Austin City Councilman Jimmy Flannigan.

Suzy also organized a Texas sister march to the national Equality March for Unity and Pride, with speakers including former Houston Mayor Anise Parker and the legendary gay activist Ray Hill. Shelor says her group “was humbled” when Hill called them “a tribe of Amazons.” Ray became a mentor to her and, she says, “changed my life forever.”

Ray Hill was previously our guest on Rag Radio in June 2015.

Author Details
Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run, solar-powered community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. Visit the Rag Radio Archives.
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