The Top Ten Greatest Gays of Texas

Here in Texas, we lay claim to some of the most interesting and influential GLBT men and women of our time. Admittedly, they generally get out as fast as they can, but to us, they'll always be Texans. Here are ten GLBT men and women we're proudest to call Texans, especially during this season of Pride.

10. Alvin Ailey One of the biggest names in modern dance grew up in the Bell County town of Rogers. Ailey was raised during a time of segregation, and many of the racial and religious themes prevalent in the choreographer's later works were gleaned from his Southern Baptist childhood. When he was 12, Ailey moved to LA, where he saw his first ballet and enrolled in dance class. He joined a company, later becoming the artistic director. His own company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is one of the best-known in the world.

An openly gay black man, Ailey encountered plenty of stigma, even from his own mother. He is said to have kept his early life as a dancer secret -- when his mother caught Ailey in makeup before a performance, she slapped him. Even at the end of Ailey's life, he asked the doctor to say that he was suffering from terminal blood dyscrasia. Ailey died from AIDS in 1989.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mandy Oaklander
Contact: Mandy Oaklander