“One of my friends once described me as a unicorn. I am gay, white, Jewish and from Laredo -- something that does not exist in reality,” David Goldberg explains. When he first moved to Houston, he didn’t know anyone in the LGBTQ community. So, one of his friends recommended that he volunteer for an organization that's serves that community.
“I started to volunteer at Bering Omega,” Goldberg says. “It changed my life. I witnessed firsthand some of the problems that were still facing our community.” He volunteered with the Day Treatment Program and Omega House, a hospice for people living with HIV. He says it was the first time in his life that he came face to face with death and poverty. “I always took for granted the privilege in which I was living.”
This year, Goldberg serves as president of Bunnies on the Bayou, an annual Easter celebration that raises funds to support non-profits that serve the LGBTQ community. Bunnies has raised more than $600,000 since 2012 and just celebrated its most successful year, raising more than $156,000 to support 22 organizations.
“It is immensely rewarding to see the difference Bunnies makes in the community," Goldberg says. This year’s celebration will benefit 18 organizations with funds that will send LGBT kids to college; pay for treatments for the elderly fighting chronic illness; keep gay youth off the streets; fight the spread of HIV among the most vulnerable; and more. "It’s hard work, and I leave Fish Plaza each Easter exhausted, but every single moment is worth it.”
How long have you lived in Houston?
I moved to Houston in August of 2002 after graduating from the University of Texas in Austin. It took some time to adjust. But after 6 months, I loved Houston. I always encourage new Houstonians to give the city a chance; it grows on you...like mold.
What do you do in your day-job?
I work for my family’s business. It’s a blessing and a curse. One of the benefits of working with my family is that it gives me the flexibility to do my nonprofit work. My family knows how important volunteering is to me and have been 100 percent supportive of that.
What’s your favorite thing about Houston?
I love the diversity of the city. I like to think of Houston as a little United Nations. You go to one of our neighborhoods, and there will be a person from Nigeria living next to somebody from India, living next to somebody from Mexico, living next to somebody from Louisiana. There are so many opportunities to explore other cultures in Houston. On any given weekend, one community is sure to be celebrating their culture and sharing their food at one of Houston’s countless cultural festivals.
Is there something that never ceases to amaze you about the city?
Where is your favorite place to eat in Houston?
Tiny Boxwoods on West Alabama. It is a hidden gem that started off as a nursery. If you weren't looking, you would completely miss this beautiful little place hidden behind a hedge. When you walk through the garden, it feels like you have been transported to another city. It’s a favorite of the “ladies who brunch” set; so it’s most crowded in the morning. But it is one of my favorite places for a date night. The entire restaurant lights up with candles, creating an amazingly romantic environment for great conversations.
What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
I love spending the day in the Museum District. When I first moved to the city, I was shocked to find so many incredible museums. After the museums, nothing beats a stroll through Hermann Park, and, if I’m lucky, enjoying an evening show with friends at the Miller Outdoor Theater.
How would you describe the queer community in Houston?
They are active! Being the president of Bunnies on the Bayou, I have the privilege of interacting with so many people who are fighting for all our rights. In Houston, we do not accept the status quo, but always look to make our city more accepting and equal for everyone.
(Senator) Tammy Baldwin once said, "If you dream of a world in which you can put your partner's picture on your desk, then put her picture on your desk...and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can walk down the street holding your partner's hand, then hold her hand...and you will live in such a world. If you dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected officials, then run for office...and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your partner to the office party, even if your office is the US House of Representatives, then take her to the party. I do, and now I live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep us oppressed --- them and us. We are half of the equation."
The queer community lives like this in Houston! We do not hide. We are loud and vocal.
What is your favorite queer event in Houston?
I am biased, but my favorite event has to be Bunnies on the Bayou. It is the largest outdoor cocktail party in Houston and supports so many incredible organizations. Bering Omega was a beneficiary when I was a volunteer there, so I decided to volunteer at Bunnies as well. I had a blast; met people from across the community; and bonded with them over spilled vodka. I had so much fun as an event volunteer that I decided to be part of the organization that made it all happen.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a queer person coming to visit H-Town?
Don’t come in August. This is an amazing city; but the summers are brutal. Visit in the spring, and check out some of the great events happening -- Bayou City Arts Festival; the Art Car Parade; and, of course, Bunnies on the Bayou on Easter Sunday!
Bunnies on the Bayou is set for Easter Sunday April 16. Get your tickets today!