Bryan Hlavinka has a long history with the city of Houston. A Houstonian for the past 20 years, he has made him myself a prominent figure in the city whose mark can be seen across the LGBT community. Currently, he is a co-host on the Houston-based radio show Queer Voices every Monday from 8-9 p.m. on 90.1 FM. And when his voice isn’t being heard on the radio, it can be heard on the boards of multiple LGBT organizations like Legacy Community Health, Victory Fund, and Outserve.
“Volunteering is very important to me. Ideally, I wish I could win the lottery and be financially secure so I could devote all my time to helping the community,” Bryan joked.
The selfless vibe he exudes is mirrored by what he views as the Houston spirit and why he chose to make the city his permanent residence. Here are some of his favorite things about Houston and the radio show he co-hosts every week.
How did the radio show Queer Voices begin?
It has been around since the 1990s on KPFT. It was actually rebranded from an earlier show called Gay and Lesbian Voices, from the 70s. We focus on events, people and the queer community in Houston.
What makes Queer Voices important to you?
I want it to be a great resource for the community. Radio is a bit of a dying medium, but I think people can tune in, be engaged, be entertained, and hopefully learn something too. Also, it gives a voice to our community on a weekly basis.
How would you describe the LGBT community in Houston?
It is very inclusive and I feel like people go out of their way to take care of each other. If there is ever a struggle or crisis in the LGBT community, people really rally together. It is like a small town, even though it is a big city. You feel that sense of the community even more since the hurricane. That common cause really brought out the good in people and made us all work together.
What is your biggest connection to Houston?
To me, it is my home. When I come back from being out of town and I see the skyline, I feel comforted. The radio show has connected me here as well. People will come up to me and introduce themselves even though we haven’t really met but they know who I am.
What is your favorite queer event in Houston?
My favorite event is Bunnies on the Bayou. It is the perfect time of year and a great chance to see friends you haven’t seen in a while.
What advice would you give a queer individual visiting Houston for the first time?
The advice I would give to someone visiting Houston for the first time would be to explore Montrose and Buffalo Bayou Park trails. Check out our museum district and take a driving tour around the Rice University campus. There are so many great neighborhoods to explore around town.
The Queer Voices radio show can be heard every Monday from 8-9 p.m. on 90.1 FM and podcasts can be found on iTunes.