Commissioner Lesley Briones Makes History by Establishing First LGBTQIA+ Commission

Commission will advise Harris County to advance equality and better serve residents

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/6/2023, 4:30 p.m.
In a 4-1 vote, Harris County Commissioners approved the creation of the County's first LGBTQIA+ Commission.
Commissioner Lesley Briones

In a 4-1 vote, Harris County Commissioners approved the creation of the County's first LGBTQIA+ Commission.

Commissioner Lesley Briones introduced the motion, calling it an important step toward amplifying the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community and promoting equality in Harris County.

"The Human Rights Campaign has declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQIA+ people for the first time in its history following a slate of harmful and discriminatory legislation across the nation,” said Commissioner Briones. “Representation matters. This Commission will ensure voices of the LGBTQIA+ community are front and center in the County's decision-making processes."

Members of this Commission will be volunteers who are appointed by Commissioners Court and who will provide recommendations to improve economic, social, health, and safety outcomes for the community.

“At a time when we are seeing various governmental entities erode support for LGBTQIA+ inclusivity, Harris County is making a bold statement that every voice is important and should be included,” said Ray Purser, Government Relations Liaison for the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

“The Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus commends Commissioner Briones on the creation of this county-wide LGBTQIA+ Commission, as it will help the county focus on creating equity and inclusion for all Harris County residents,” said Porscha Brown, Vice President of The Caucus.

“Harris County has a responsibility, not only as a matter of principle, but also as a display of and commitment to, supporting its constituents to ensure LGBTQIA+ voices are heard and represented,” said Landon Richie, Policy Associate, Transgender Education Network of Texas.

The approval of the LGBTQIA+ Commission comes on the heels of the Court’s historic appointment on May 16of Commissioner Briones’ nominee, Dr. Cody Pyke, to the Harris Health System Board of Trustees.

Dr. Cody Pyke (she/they) will be the first openly transgender and nonbinary individual to serve on the nine-member board, which oversees a $2.3 billion, fully integrated healthcare system that includes community health centers, same-day clinics, multi-specialty clinic locations, a dental center and dialysis center, mobile health units and two full-service hospitals in Harris County.

“We will celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community not only during Pride Month, but 365 days a year. We are deeply committed to listening, learning, and advocating for equality for our LGBTQIA+ community. We must continue building a Harris County where everyone has the freedom to fully be their authentic selves.” said Commissioner Briones.

The Office of County Administration, the County Attorney’s Office, and other relevant departments will work with Precinct 4 to write bylaws and a membership structure for the LGBTQIA+ Commission before returning to Court at a later date to request nominations.