The Houston Transgender Unity Banquet was originally established by Peggy Rudd of Tau Chi (Tri-Ess), with assistance from Rene Fenner of the Gulf Coast Transgender Community as a social gathering. Their intention was to bring the two groups together to find common ground, with the understanding that sponsorship of the Unity Banquet would switch between groups from year to year. The first Unity Banquet was held in April, 1992 at Dante’s Restaurant. The Unity Banquet has been held every year since 1992 except 2020 when it was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
Over the years, the banquet continued to grow to include the other transgender groups in the Houston area. At this point, the Houston Transgender Unity Banquet is one of the largest single-night transgender events in the nation. Since 2005, proceeds from tickets sales have benefited the Peggy Rudd Transgender Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support for trans-identified and other LGBTQI+ students pursuing higher education.
Eventually, the Houston Transgender Unity Committee was formed by the facilitators of the different transgender groups to take over the organization and sponsorship of the Unity Banquet. The Committee is made up of volunteers from local trans groups and individuals within the trans community and the larger LGBTQI+ community. In addition to the Unity Banquet, the Unity Committee sponsors other projects and activities that affect the entire trans community, including the Peggy Rudd Transgender Scholarship Fund, Unity Month activities (April), Pride month activities and Pride parade entry (June), and the local observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (November). Unity Committee representatives frequently speak to schools, businesses, and organizations.
One tradition of the Unity Banquet each year is that every attendee is given a mug with the Transgender Unity Logo. These Unity Banquet mugs have become highly prized items.