City council hopeful Jenifer Rene Pool, clad in a black blazer with a hint of a hot pink blouse peeking out from under it, conversed with a supporter upstairs at One's A Meal in Montrose yesterday afternoon. The subject: how much they both love Glee, especially Pool. "I've always thought that life is a musical, so Glee is a prototype for life," she gushed.
Pool comes from a background of construction and public service; she owns a consulting company that advises on construction projects. She serves on the Building and Standards Commission and Police Advisory Commission, both mayoral appointment positions. Nothing surprising for a woman vying for city council, except for one thing. Pool is transgendered. If life's a musical, then no one has yet written one quite like Pool's.
Poised at the microphone, Pool exhorted her candidacy. "In my experience and in my knowledge, I have the ability to address infrastructure challenges. Houston's a great city. It can be greater...I want to see that every citizen, every constituent, is represented in our city," she said. Pool said she plans to prioritize neighborhood improvement by fixing blighted buildings in the areas that need it most. Neighborhood policing, she says, will help keep the areas safe.
The transgendered elephant in the room didn't come up until questions. "So what's bubbling in the bigot community?" someone asked about her candidacy. Pool said that she expected a backlash: "As a transgendered person, I've been subjected to prejudice since the day I told the first person who I really was," she said. "My first thought for those people is to pray for their souls. They must live in a dark world. I live in a world with smiles in it, a world of light," she said.
But though being transgendered makes her candidacy uncommon, she refuses to let it define her campaign. "The clothes they wear, or the makeup they wear or don't wear: People need to look at the heart more, and that less," she said, "and this could be a beautiful city."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.