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Sheryl Sculley among honorees at Spirit of Texas Brunch
QSanAntonio.com, May 12, 2012

San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley is one of five local citizens who will be honored with an award at the Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 20 at the Pearl Stable.

Sculley will recieve the Equality Texas Advocate Award, which is given annually to "an outstanding public servant who high ideals include a dedication to equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Texans."

Speaking before the Stonewall Democrats in October 2006, Sculley said, “Change is difficult but we all can change to make a better city." For the gay community this meant inclusion, for the first time, in community panels that Sculley organized to enhance the quality of life in San Antonio.

In January of 2008, Sculley, working with city attorneys and the City-Council-appointed Affirmative Action Committee, helped amend the City of San Antonio’s anti-harassment and discrimination policy to include sexual orientation as a protected classification for city employees. Despite efforts by Christian attorney Robert J. Bozelli and a local Christian radio talk show host to smear Sculley for her actions, the policy remains intact today.

Last year in August, Sculley unveiled a new budget that included extending domestic partnership benefits to City of San Antonio, CPS and San Antonio Water System employees, including same-sex couples. Despite vigorous efforts by Christian extremists to block the budget initiative, it was passed by the City Council.

Sculley is seen by local LGBT leaders as a solid ally. She gained a bit of playful notoriety in 2009 when she was crowned King Anchovy for the annual Fiesta Cornyation. Later that year at a roast sponsored in her honor by the League of Women Voters, attendees included not only scores of local politicos but drag queens, and gay activists. (Click here for related stories.)

Two other awards will be given at the brunch. The first is the Anchor Award, which will be presented to Dawn Lafreeda and Lupita Corbeil "for their steadfast support of Equality Texas through the years and their dedication to advancing the lives of LGBT people."

A new award, the Equality Texas Vanguard Award, is given to an outstanding business that has leveraged its strengths to advance LGBT equality through its policies or business practices. This year that honor goes to Texas Heat Investments, which is owned by Randy Cuniff and Peter Becker.

Equality Texas board member Richard Farias says that Texas Heat Investments was chosen for the award because it has supported the growth of the city's "gayborhood" on Main Street by expanding restaurant and retail space and by partnering with the Tobin Hill Neighborhood Association and Alamo Colleges on a public/private partnership to further develop the area.

Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch, May 20, 2012 at the Pearl Stable. Tickets $100 include full brunch and endless mimosas, Bloody Mary's, vodka cranberries and wine. Student tickets $75. To purchase tickets online go to SpiritOfTexasBrunch.org. The official after-party for the Spirit of Texas Brunch will be at Sparky's Wine and Coffee Bar, directly following the brunch.

R&B singer Tje Austin to perform at Spirit of Texas brunch
QSanAntonio.com, May 5, 2012

Singer Tje (pronounced Tye) Austin, a vocalist and songwriter who recently appeared on NBC’s “The Voice,” will be the featured entertainer at the Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 20 at the Pearl Stable.

In the April 2011 season of "The Voice," Austin auditioned by singing Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are. Austin’s fan base has increased exponentially through his Internet multimedia presence and multitude of performances. He was one of the featured artists on “Texas On Tour,” he sang the National Anthem for the 2010 American League champion Texas Rangers, his MySpace site has over 3,000,000 hits, and his music is in rotation on satellite radio. (See video below.)

"We're extremely excited about this year's brunch for a variety of reasons," says Richard Farias, Equality Texas board member and the emcee of this year's event. "We'll have entertainment by R&B singer Tje Austin, as well as short performances by local actors who will send the message of equality through dramatization."

The annual Spirit of Texas Brunch is Equality Texas' largest San Antonio fundraiser. The event brings together San Antonio's LGBT and ally community, influential speakers, and award honorees for a champagne brunch. There will also be a silent auction and a live auction.

Farias says that along the festive spirit of the event, there is advocacy as well.

"During the next legislative session, Equality Texas plans to actively lobby for a statewide employment non-discrimination act inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We are also embarking on a multi-year campaign to repeal the state constitutional ban on gay marriage."

Farias is encouraging the community to invite their friends, especially those who are straight allies, to attend. "All I can say is that we look forward to having as many straight allies attend the brunch as possible. Our success to end LGBT discrimination and attain full equality depends on ally support, now more than ever."

Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch, May 20, 2012 at the Pearl Stable. Tickets $100 include full brunch and endless mimosas, Bloody Mary's, vodka cranberries and wine. Student tickets $75. To purchase tickets online go to SpiritOfTexasBrunch.org. The official after-party for the Spirit of Texas Brunch will be at Sparky's Wine and Coffee Bar, directly following the brunch..