By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
By Angelica Leicht
By Jeff Balke
By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
Highlights from Hair Balls
The assistant principal shouldn't have been surprised.
When Tony Zamazal, a senior at Spring High School, approached the administrator in a school hallway a few weeks ago, Zamazal had already been wearing women's attire since October. Following the holiday break, he figured it was time to bust it out at school.
"And I remember thinking, 'Okay, this won't get my faced punched in,'" Zamazal told Hair Balls.
People were getting accustomed to seeing Zamazal, a lithe 19-year-old, in attire that men aren't traditionally known to wear. And with prom bearing down in but a handful of months, Zamazal wanted to take the initiative and make sure that these recent sartorial choices — the only gendered shift the high school had seen in some time — would be allowed at the school's mid-May dance.
"I walked up to [the assistant principal] and told him that this is what I'm wanting to do, asking if this was even possible," said Zamazal, who has not yet opted for any hormone supplements.
Others had been able to wear what they'd wanted, of course. Across Houston. Across Texas. He wouldn't be the first boy asking to wear a sparkling dress and inches-high heels to a school dance. The issue, by and large, seems to have faded.
But apparently the assistant principal was a gender-specific throwback. "Basically, he just shut me down like that, and without even actually talking to me to discuss it," Zamazal said. "It just really hurt. I was hoping he would tell me to come in later for an actual discussion, and actually get an answer."
But nothing. The assistant principal walked off. Zamazal would have to go to prom as the rest of the young men did — in a coat and tails rather than in the wig and rouge and slip he's found himself wearing more and more often.
And that's where the issue currently stands. Despite having a date lined up, despite looking forward to his first prom as much as any of his classmates do, Zamazal stands in a sort of purgatory, waiting to hear whether the principal and school board will judge his gender choices for him.
As it is, Spring's administrators are on spring break and couldn't be reached for comment. Prior to their departure, however, a spokesman for the school district was asked to explain what in Spring's dress code would prohibit any student from wearing the dress and heels Zamazal so desired. The spokesman couldn't identify any passages. Indeed, in looking over the brief dress code posted online, there seems to be nothing that should prohibit Zamazal from arriving in whatever attire the female students can also wear.
"This used to happen all the time — it was common that students who want to dress outside their assigned or perceived gender were denied permission," said Deb Murphy, a youth worker with HATCH Youth, an organization dedicated to aiding Houston's LGBTQ adolescents. "Now more schools allow them, so long as no naughty bits are showing."
While Zamazal waits — it's already been nearly a month since his initial discussion with the assistant principal — he eyes HATCH's forthcoming prom as a potential solace. But that's still a few months off. And right now, Zamazal just wants to find someone, anyone, who may be able to offer their experiences as a potential guide as these last few months of high school wind down.
"I really haven't spoken with anyone who's gone through this, but I would really love to," he said. "If there's anyone out there that would want to talk with me with what I'm going through, I'd love to talk to them, but at this point I really haven't had that privilege yet."
16 Undocumented immigrants found in truck.
When using a U-Haul sized truck, most of the time you're transporting big and heavy things, like luggage, furniture, plants or people.
For one dude, yes, people. Last week, a truck was found on the Sam Houston Parkway in southwest Houston. Naturally, Harris County Toll Road Authority Roadside Assistance came to the rescue, but once they got there, they noticed there was something fishy.
"When [the roadside assistance worker] got into that [truck] to put it into neutral, he said he could feel the heat coming from the back of the box section of the [truck]," Harris County Precinct 5 Capt. Terry Allbritton told Hair Balls. "He looked back and there was some kind of makeshift board between the cab and the box, and he could just see a crowd of people stuffed back in there."
To be exact, there were 16 people in the truck, which prompted the driver to haul ass outta there.
"He fled on foot, and [we] did a thorough search of the area and we couldn't locate him," Allbritton said. "So they're going to be interviewing all of the immigrants to see if maybe they could help with any leads and they'll check the residence where the truck was registered back to see if they could find anything there."
The case has since been handed over to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Also, the immigrants were turned over to ICE's facility, but not before they were fed and given something to drink.
"They were in bad shape," Allbritton said. "Those guys hadn't eaten in days. They hadn't had any water. We were doing all that we could just to get them rehydrated, put a little food in their stomach while we were waiting for ICE to get there to transport them."
They searched for almost two hours using helicopters and dogs, but the driver managed to escape. There's no description of him at the moment, but be just a little cautious with men running around the streets of southwest Houston.