Born-and-raised Houstonian Brad Odom-Harris was the 2016 Male Grand Marshall of Houston Pride, an honor he is rightfully extremely proud of. "It all goes by in a flash," he says. "But I know that along with the other amazing grand marshals before and after me, we have all shared a passion and dedication to making Houston a better place to be out and proud!”
Apart from his husband, whom he met ten years ago when Odom-Harris was President of Pride, his loves in life include DJing (mostly for charity events these days); the Houston art scene; and serving the LGBTQ community. He served on Pride Houston’s board of directors for five years, two of those as president and now he has set his sights on addressing the issues facing Houston’s gay homeless youth, helping to open the SAFE Spot in 2011, a daily drop-in shelter for homeless youth, and coordinating the efforts of HRC with area homeless youth organizations. He also works to raise awareness around bullying and harassment in schools through the Welcoming Schools project.
Odom-Harris loves Houston, and it seems safe to say that Houston loves him back.
How long have you lived in Houston?
I was born at Houston’s Herman Hospital in 1973 and have moved away three times. Once to Chicago and twice to Dallas. I have always come back home to Houston and that is what it will always be, home.
What's your day job?
I’m the director of sales for a software company. I love helping grow sales organizations and develop sales talent. I am also a serial volunteer.
What’s your favorite thing about Houston?
The diversity of the city. Whatever you want to do, you can find it here. Whether it’s art, fashion, theater, live music, parks, rodeo, any and every type of food, or just hanging out, there are a wealth of options to suit your tastes, whatever they may be.
What surprises you most about Houston?
The power of Houstonians to come together for good. I used to call it the Power of Pride because I feel it most intensely when come together to make that event so special. But I’ve come to learn that it’s not just Pride – it’s Houston. We come together to take care of our own, and we’re always willing to roll up our sleeves to get the job done to make Houston a better place.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Houston?
Having lived within blocks of the Original Barnaby’s for many years, I called it my kitchen. “Want me to whip you up something from my kitchen?” I would joke. It’s a comfort spot for me since it was one of the first “gay” places I ever went into and has a special place in my heart. Houston has such an amazing restaurant scene. I love eating and trying new places. My favorite places for both great food and a great experience are Pass and B&B Butchers. Those tend to be for special occasions though. My advice, get out and eat and go to Jenni’s Noodlehouse once a week. I do.
What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
Mixing, socializing and charity. From the Human Rights Campaign Gala to Outreach United’s various events to Bunnies On the Bayou to Pride Houston’s VIP bleachers (aka Friends of Pride), there are so many great events that are amazing ways to combine being out in the community and enjoying friends and cocktails.
How would you describe the queer community in Houston?
Welcoming. I have always found Houston to be a friendly city. I really hope that as Houston grows and so many people come from other cities, that we still keep that Southern hospitality. I think you can walk into just about any bar, restaurant, or organization in Houston and you will find diversity and a welcoming smile.
What is your favorite queer event in Houston?
I have made it a point to make it to almost every Houston Human Rights Campaign Gala, and this April 1st will be the 20th... It’s such a huge, life-changing affair. We get dressed up and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to progress LGBTQ rights. [For those concerned about ticket costs] you can also volunteer at check-in or the auction and still be a part of this amazing night.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a queer person coming to visit H-Town?
Don’t feel you have to go to the bars to find the community. We are everywhere. I mean, yes, I love dancing the night away at Rich’s, F-Bar, etc. However, there are restaurants, gallery events, and so much more. Truly, you can find it all in Houston.