Caitlyn Jenner in Houston filming episode for reality show

Friday, December 18, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner in Houston filming episode for reality show
Reality star Caitlyn Jenner made a surprise visit to Second Baptist Church, even taking time to pray with its pastor, Dr. Ed Young, a vocal critic of HERO.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston's Second Baptist Church has an annual tradition, a Christmas show for kids that mixes the message of Christmas with holiday entertainment.

On Wednesday night, it had a guest that no one might have expected: Caitlyn Jenner and her reality show team.

Jenner spent the past two days in Houston attending a unity event that was apparently unpublicized. She also met with the mother of a transgender son who says her child's life will be more difficult because of the rejection of the city's equal rights ordinance. In November, 61 percent of voters said no to the measure, which would have made discrimination against protected classes, including LGBT, in the city.

After the event, pictures were taken of Pastor Ed Young speaking with, and then praying with Jenner and her group, which included members of her reality TV show.

Reverend Young is one of several pastors who publicly opposed the so-called HERO measure, which was also billed as the "bathroom ordinance," claiming that men could use women's public restrooms under the measure. Supporters deny that.

Former county GOP chair Jared Woodfill was among the opposition. On Friday, he was critical of Jenner's appearance at the Christmas event.

"You don't go to a kids' Christmas play and use that as a vehicle to send your message. That's just plain wrong," Woodfill said.

A minister for Second Baptist said Pastor Young was glad to meet Jenner and pray with her. In an Instagram post, Ed Young, Jr wrote, "Dad always taught me to love and pray for everyone. Tonight he prayed with Caitlyn Jenner who attended the service."

Before, furing and after the equal rights referendum, members of Houston's LGBT community came to the church. Jenner is the most high-profile transgender visitor yet.

Kent Loftin, development director of The Montrose Center, said LGBT visitors have consistently been welcomed by the church.

"I wasn't surprised to see Dr. Young pray with Ms Jenner, but I think it's a great reminder that during this holiday season, there's more that unites us than divides us," Loftin said.

Late Friday afternoon, there was a tweet from a member of Jenner's reality TV show cast that claims a confrontation. Kate Bornstein writes: "Proud of @Caitlyn, saying to @EdYoung's father's face that the pastor's #transphobic hate videos r highly offensive to all #trans ppl"

Also on Thursday, Jenner was seen having dinner at Hugo's, a popular Mexican restaurant in the Montrose area. The restaurant's owners posted the photo above on Facebook.

Jenner, formerly known as Olympian Bruce Jenner, rose back into the spotlight with Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She now has her own TV called "I Am Cait."

Jenner was named Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating Person of 2015 Thursday night.