I have been thinking a lot about what to do for the final blog of 2023. Looking back at past December blogs didn’t help, other than telling me what not to write. So I thought for a change I might have a look back at the year. Except is 2023 the year I want to do a retrospective? With everything that’s gone on – from Hamas attacking Israel and the ensuing war to the government almost shutting down again to book bans and trans bans – I wasn’t sure how much of the last 12 months I or anyone would want to remember.

However, despite what feels like a disparaging year on many levels, 2023 managed to have quite a few bright spots. Even if those were bright just for me.

Our friend Stephen announced his retirement and said goodbye to his job at the end of September. Now he and his husband are heading to Palm Springs. They said they were only looking on their last trip there, but we knew they would come back with a house purchase in the works. I think the rest of our dinner group is a bit envious, both about the retirement and the house. However, we can’t dwell on that too long, as we need to start auditioning soon for replacement gays for Friday nights.

We adopted a new pup at the start of August. If you’re a regular reader or follow me on Instagram, you know she’s been quite the handful. I think we’re starting to wear down each other’s corners, all while she’s also wearing down a few base boards.

Mid-October saw the release of Out in Architecture. Friends and colleagues were able to convince and corral 24 queer architects into sharing their experiences in architecture. Three of them (including me) are in Dallas and a fourth is in Corpus Christi. Nice to see that Texas is well-represented considering how unfriendly the state has been towards the queer community in 2023.

And I can no longer joke that I’m the only gay architect in Dallas. Being the senior gay/elder gay/homo emeritus resulted in my becoming involved in the AIA Dallas LGBTQIA+ Alliance, initially as a resource and now as part of their leadership. Turns out there are quite a few queer architects here who simply needed a nudge to come together. Even better has been watching Dallas connect with the other Alliances in Texas and beyond as the network of queer architects grows.

The Dallas Alliance also pulled off a feat I wouldn’t have thought possible when I started working 26 years ago. (Yikes!) Pride month ended with a drag show as part of a design competition set up by the Alliance and supported by AIA Dallas. For their efforts and for their advocacy around queer architects and architecture, Lisa, Paloma, and Tyler were awarded Presidential Citations by AIA Dallas. Visible queer architects being recognized by what has been a very conservative organization is a major achievement for the community.

On a personal level, this year has been one for new connections with queer architects across the country. I cannot begin to count the number of people I’ve met since the start of 2023. Lisa, Paloma, Tyler, and other Alliance members. Joe in Austin. Sarah in Atlanta, who is quickly becoming a partner in crime. Countless others. And I know going into 2024 the list will continue to grow.

So looking back this year doesn’t feel too bad. We obviously have a lot of work to do, and I expect a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step-back moments. However, the bright spots are there to be found, and I look forward to being part of that.

Have a great start to 2024! And we’ll talk again in the new year!