Houston residents fight LGBT housing center

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Anti-gay hostility is feeding opposition to a proposed LGBT housing center in a Houston neighborhood as residents complain the facility should be kept in Montrose. 

The opposition boiled over Tuesday ahead of a meeting between Mayor Annise Parker, city officials, the leader of the Montrose Center and residents in the Third Ward to discuss plans for the four-story, $18 million facility to service low-income LGBT people. The building – eyed for a vacant lot at Cleburne and Hutchins adjacent to Washington Terrace – is about a mile from the Montrose Center, an expansive LGBT facility on Branard.

“We don't want it. Don't want to change the character of our neighborhood,” community activist Cheryl Armitage told KHOU.

Armitage said anti-gay bias isn't behind her opposition, but other residents of the area weren't so diplomatic, complaining to KHOU that LGBT housing should be confined to historically-gay heavy Montrose. 

“You need to keep it in Montrose. Don't bring it here. Take it somewhere else,” the unidentified man told KHOU.

The KHOU report wasn't helped by reporter Rucks Russell's use of the phrase “the gay lifestyle,” which is considered a derogatory term. (Watch above)

Ann Robison, executive director of the Montrose Center, told KHOU that the proposed facility follows the development of similar LGBT housing complexes in other cities.

“As has been done in L.A., Chicago and Philadelphia, we want to have a safe place for people to build community, be who they are,” Robison told KHOU.

On Tuesday evening, Robison joined Parker; Neal Rackleff, director of Houston's Housing & Community Development Department; and City Council member Dwight Boykins at the public meeting at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center. 

[image via KHOU]



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