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Whoa, that was fast

Thursday, July 27, 2017 by Lisa Dreher

The LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission appointed its chair and vice chair, and nominated four new commissioners at its third meeting. Commissioner Victor Martinez was appointed chair and Paula Buls was appointed vice chair, both unanimously. Martinez then led the meeting, and commissioners picked their favorite applicants out of the pool of more than 80 to fill the four vacant commission seats. The commission narrowed their choices down to 10, keeping in mind each applicant’s work and voluntary experience, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and background for diversity. Commissioners had a mixed bag of different backgrounds, from veterans to activists to University of Texas administrators. One of the nominated commissioners was Kathryn Gonzales, the operations and program director of Out Youth, a nonprofit that provides LGBTQ youth with services such as therapy and counseling. Her spouse, Rodney Gonzales, is the director of the Development Services Department, posing a potential conflict of interest that the commission will have to double-check with the Office of the City Clerk. Gonzales told the Austin Monitor that, because commissioners must be 18 years or older, she hopes she can be voice for younger LGBTQ people in Austin as she has worked for them for 12 years. “Part of our job on the commission is not only taking care of Austin right now, but making sure we’re building an Austin for our future that meets the needs of our youth as we see them.” Another nominee, Tarik Daniels, seems a jack of all trades: a founder of Whatsinthemirror?, a nonprofit dedicated to providing mental health services to people of color and raising suicide awareness, as well as an actor, a writer and an activist. Brittany Kitchens was also nominated. The committee is made of representatives from each commission concerning minorities and diversity, such as the African-American Resource Advisory Commission. The LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission was only recently added to the committee because it was created in March, and so it did not have an opportunity to send a commissioner to represent it. Because Rough already serves on the committee, commissioners felt it was appropriate he is a commissioner as well to fulfill that role. The committee meets on the same days as the commission, and so Rough may not be able to take the role. Nominee Charles Curry, also a veteran, worked for the city’s Budget Office and is active in the elder LGBTQ community. All four nominees were approved unanimously by the commission.

This whisper has been corrected. Originally it identified Solis Rough as a nominee, not Brittany Kitchens.

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