Brenda Thomas


As the GLBT community in Houston continued to experience the "strength of Stonewall", another name came to the forefront, Brenda Thomas.

Brenda Thomas, executive director of the Houston Transgender Unity Committee and a longtime HIV/AIDS activist and educator, was selected for the OutSmart People To Watch list in 2005 ["12 Worth Watching," January 2005 OutSmart].

In addition to her volunteer work for years with the Houston Transgender Unity Committee, Thomas served several other prominent local transgender organizations. She founded the group Helping TransGenders Anonymous and was a past facilitator of the local Tau Chi chapter of Tri-Ess, The Society for the Second Self. Thomas was also editor of the Tau Chi newsletter. Through her personal website, which she maintained until recently, Thomas helped educate countless individuals seeking information on transgender issues. In 2002, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Houston Transgender Unity Committee Banquet; at the same time, she received a proclamation from the mayor declaring the date Brenda Thomas Day in Houston.


In 2004, the International Foundation for Gender Education presented Thomas with the prestigious Trinity Award, which honors transgender heroes.

In 2005, she was named one of the co-chairs of the U.S. Conference on AIDS, which was to be held in Houston until the threat of Hurricane Rita led to its cancellation. Thomas worked for the City of Houston in the Bureau of HIV/STD Prevention as the Coordinator of Transgender Services.

Thomas was frequently asked to speak to groups about transgender and HIV issues. These groups, as well as her many friends, valued Brenda for her candor and wit.

As her friend and fellow transgender advocate Cristan Williams wrote for OutSmart in 2001, "Brenda Thomas shoots from the hip. Her entire demeanor suggests seniority. She has been there, bought the T-shirt, worn it, thrown it away, and already bought a new one."