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This directory serves to assist Texan families experiencing transient or stable power outages, yet is not an authoritative or definitive guide, and was derived from still-developing resources. Primarily, these services pertain to Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, and to a lesser extent, some areas in the Panhandle, the Rio Grand Valley, and North and West Texas (see SHELTERS/WARMING CENTERS). LGBTQ-affirming and Spanish-translated resources are included.

Tips: Prior to commuting, verify a site’s days/hours of operation, capacity/services, eligibility requirements (e.g. COVID-19 and pet stipulations), disability/senior accommodations, and parking. Utilize drop-off services if possible, and avoid driving distant/unfamiliar/unlit routes. Layer…


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Source: Wikimedia Commons.

As Catholic author Karen Armstrong put it, “If your understanding of the Divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology.”

Of 4.2 million homeless youth in America, forty percent identify as LGBTQ+. Half report anti-LGBTQ+ religious conspiracies and rhetoric motivating their homelessness. Knowing this, some pastors continue advancing hateful rhetoric, as if God deems LGBTQ+ people to be so inherently…


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World Mental Health Day always comes and goes predictably. Folks post 1–800–273-TALK, encourage others to reach out for help, and the next day, go right back to self-righteously bullying, oppressing, shaming, and traumatizing people in their lives. So let’s discuss what real mental health advocacy actually means.

Real mental health advocacy is a courageous and ethical worldview that centers community welfare and human dignity — individually, institutionally, and societally — in the face of relentless exploitation and injustice.

Real mental health advocacy is organizing to preserve essential public services like early childhood education, food stamps/EBT, Medicaid/Medicare, Section 8, and Social…


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‘Rabbi Studying Torah’, Alfred Lakos, 1913.

“Booksmarts aren’t everything” always makes me wonder, “Is the problem that I’m too booksmart, or is it that you are too comfortable being loud and wrong, instead of informed?” Perhaps the real issue is that I pass the mic when it comes to communities or topics of less familiarity, and instead speak and write only on issues I understand well. So when I do share an opinion, people who often skim the surface of complex issues — and get passes because their audience doesn’t know any better — misperceive the depth of my analysis and reflection as “too booksmart”.

After…


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Trigger Warning: Discussion of anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theories; conversion/reparative therapy rhetoric; religious abuse/trauma.

The excerpts quoted below reflect 6 or 7 sermons from June till September. I feel not one ounce of bitterness writing this — just sheer disappointment. My sole intention is to illustrate the relentless pressure and resistance LGBTQ+ people can sometimes face from church communities and families, on top of bias in school, work, healthcare, government, media, and other sectors, as well as life-threatening violence in public spaces. For LGBTQ+ people of color, racism compounds these stressors. Some LGBTQ+ Black kids, for example, grow up cornered on all…


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Source: PALMERFORTEXASED.COM

Last week, I voted in Texas’ primary election, and proudly supported Houstonian Michelle Palmer, a community activist and education leader who might soon make history as the first openly LGBTQ+ teacher elected to the Texas State Board of Education. As an educator committed to leveraging critical pedagogy to advance empowerment, healing, and liberation, Palmer’s progressive stances about Texas’ core curriculum resonated so much that I reached out to request an interview. She agreed.

“I started fighting for equity in college, and haven’t stopped,” says Palmer. “My campaign is an extension of my decades of advocacy.”

Palmer’s platform certainly reflects a…


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Dear Pastor,

You recently gave the most disempowering anti-LGBTQ+ sermon I have ever observed firsthand. A week prior, in Psychology Today, I published 6 Ways the Church Can Address the LGBTQ+ Suicide Epidemic. In so many words, you issued a rebuttal on your church’s platform of nearly 1k followers, many of whom know of our kinship, and that I’m out. Never have I felt such deep contempt, disgust, scorn, and premeditated oneupmanship by an immediate family member. Of the Bible’s 31,102 verses, you cherry-picked three that enabled you to sanctimoniously play G-d, and invalidate my balanced, fair and valid critique…


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Protest sign from a Tyler Clementi Foundation protest. Source: Tyler Clementi Foundation.

My life’s work is combating the disproportionate, epidemic-level LGBTQ+ suicide rate. Nearly a decade ago, National Youth Pride Services–a leadership development non-profit aimed at empowering LGBTQ+ Black youth–surveyed gay, Black boys about their mental health history. Four out of ten reported a suicide attempt, citing a lack of family support, mentors, school inclusion, and spiritual affirmation. Those findings compelled me to apply for a master’s in counseling. Today, I am an openly queer, Black therapist, as well as a former crisis counselor for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and The Trevor Project, the national 24-hour crisis line for LGBTQ+ youth…


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The best therapist I ever had was an older white man my father’s age. “Who was your father before he was your father?” is the breakthrough he led me to. He helped me realize my father was a person with a past that preceded me. Contemplating the many pre-fatherhood dynamics, experiences, and interactions that molded my father helped me see all that I didn’t like about him, in a different light, through a more informed lens, with more compassion and context. It helped me forgive.

Before I left Texas for college in Boston, my dad searched Marshall’s and Ross Dress…


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TED THAI / GETTY

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.

––James Baldwin

As I ring in another year on Earth, I’m contemplating this quote, and all the unlearning I did to become freer over the years. I said recently in a talk that learning to love myself was really just de-conditioning the belief that there was ever anything wrong with me to begin with.

As Baldwin also once said, “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed…

Araya Baker, M.Phil.Ed., Ed.M.

Araya Baker is an educator, therapist & writer who promotes disability, education & health equity, across borders, faiths, generations, identities & movements.

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