Pride in Dallas: Landmarks and Faces of LGBTQ+ History Sept 20th – Oct 7th, 2022

Presented by UNT Libraries Special Collections
Sponsored by The Dallas Way

From September 20th to October 7th, 2022, the Dallas Way sponsored the Pride in Dallas: Landmarks and Faces of LGBTQ+ History exhibit and showcase at the H. Paxton Moore Fine Art Gallery located at Dallas College, El Centro branch.

The exhibit consisted of chronological landmarks in LGBTQ+ history of Dallas, TX, in particular provided by the UNT Libraries Special Collections with nicely printed cutouts that detailed the events taking place in the historical photos on display.

It celebrated LGBTQ+ History Month in October, 2022, and also featured a gallery of submitted self-portraits by currently living members of the LGBTQ+ community either associated with Dallas College or friend/family of a Dallas College attendee or staff.

Lastly, this event coincided with the 2022 Queer History South “Archives for ALL, Y’all!” history conference.

They held an opening night on September 20th that many enjoyed attending. I took the opportunity to visit on October 1st, 2022, on a quiet and beautiful sunny day around 2pm.

The drive up to Dallas, TX was enjoyable and I took my mother to see the history, self-portraits including my own contribution to the event.

The El Centro location of Dallas College is found right on Main St. In Downtown Dallas.
It’s a beautiful building and easily accessed.

The exhibit featured panels detailing landmarks in LGBTQ+ history of Dallas, TX. Each will be shown here in photos with alt text beneath. I treasure these moments being preserved and as celebrated as they were! Let’s go!

1965 – Circle of Friends established;

The first gay organization in Dallas, the Circle of Friends, was established in 1965 and worked with straight allies to prevent harassment and discrimination. Non-gay ministers working with the Circle of Friends provided protection for members. Up until 1962, a person could be sent to prison in Texas for up to 15 years for being gay. in 1974, the punishment was reduced to a $500 fine.

1972 – First Gay Pride Parade held in Dallas;
The first Gay Pride Parade was held in Dallas on June 24th, 1972.
It consisted of about 300 marchers waving signs and chanting slogans in front of a crowd of about 3,000. The next Pride Parade in Dallas didn’t take place until 1980.

1975 – Dallas Gay Political Caucus founded;
This organization quickly became the central membership organization of the Dallas LGBT community, later changing its name to the Dallas Gay Alliance (1981) and Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance in (1992)

Other notable milestones in 1975:

  • First publication of ‘This Week in Texas’
  • Lory Masters founds the Flying W Motorcycle Club, the first LGBT group in Texas to gain a 510c(3) tax exempt status.

1977 – Don Baker fired from DISD.

Don Baker, president of the Dallas Gay Alliance, was fired from his teaching position at the Dallas Independent School District after coming out as gay on a television interview. Texas had adopted Penal Code 21.06, in 1974, which criminalized sexual acts between same sex individuals.

March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1979. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Three men at the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1979. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Marchers during the first Gay Pride Parade in Dallas, 1972. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Nuntius Float in the first Gay Pride Parade in Dallas, 1972. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

1978 – Harvey Milk speaks in Dallas (just 5 months before his assassination in San Francisco)

  • Rev James Harris runs as first openly gay candidate for Dallas City Council

1979 – First Razzle Dazzle Dallas event at Fair Park.

  • Police raid on Village Station.

Dallas Police Department singled out gay bars on Cedar Springs for raiding and making arrests for “public lewdness” (disco dancing,) and for the first time, many of those arrested pleaded not guilty and demanded a fair trial. All charges were dismissed.

  • March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights
  • Don Baker sues to challenge state anti-sodomy law (21.06) in Baker v. Wade.

In 1979, Baker filed a suit, in federal district court in Dallas, to have the law ruled as unconstitutional. The event was sponsored by the first state-wide LGBT organization, Texas HUman Rights Foundation, whose Dallas trustees were Dick Peeples, Lee Taft, and Mike Anglin.

1980 Turtle Creek Chorale founded

The Turtle Creek Chorale was formed in 1980, with 30 members and its artistic director and conductor, Harry E. Scher. The group has expanded to 200 members, consisting mostly of gay men, and is the most recorded men’s chorus in the world, with 38 albums and two feature-length documentaries in public distribution.

  • Round-up Saloon opens.

Various LGBTQ+ community members over the years.

Razzle Dazzle Dallas Board members, 1981. Courtesy of Mike Anglin (The Dallas Way)

1981 – Oak Lawn Counseling Center founded

Later known as Oak Lawn Community Services, OLCC became operational in early 1982. It was founded by two Dallas psychologists, Harold P. (Howie) Daire and Candy Marcum. It was one of the earliest sources of AIDs educational and patient support services for AIDs patients and their loved ones, including a 24-hour hotline.

1982 – The Dallas Black Tie Dinner is organized.

This Dallas-based organization was established to create a formal dinner fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign Fund and other Dallas-area charitable organizations serving the LGBT community. It quickly became the largest and most financially successful event of its kind in the NATION – and still is to this day.
It’s original founders included John Thomas, Ray Kuchling, Mike Anglin, Dick Weaver, and William Waybourn.

1982 – Men of All Colors Together – Dallas – is founded.

It is a gay interracial organization committed to fostering support for overcoming racial and cultural barriers.


U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer of Dallas renders a landmark decision in Baker v. Wade, holding that the Texas statute criminalizing private, same-sex consensual relations violated the privacy and equal protection guarantees of the United States Constitution.

1983 – Resource Center Dallas is organized

(This is where I got my first resources for my physical transition in 2017….got my first HRT prescription from them!!! Resource Center rules.)

Originally known as the Foundation for Human Understanding, and then the AIDs Resource Center (1985), this charitable organization was created by the leaders of the Dallas Gay Alliance for the purpose of supporting and serving the urgent needs of victims of the emerging AIDs epidemic, including the AIDs Hot Line, hot meals, and a full Food Pantry for AIDs patients in need (in 1985), and informative publications like “AIDs Update,” “Spectrum”, and “Positive Personals.” Some of the earl leaders of this effort were Mike Richards, Bill Nelson, Terry Tebedo, John Thomas, Bull Hunt, and William Waybourn.

People at the Dallas Gay Alliance Event, c. 1980. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Don Baker celebrating Baker v. Wade decision. This Week in Texas, Volume 8, Number 23, August 23-September 2, 1982. From Resource Center LGBT Collections of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Attendees at the Black Tie Dinner (Don Baker second from left, 1985) From Donald F. Baker Collection (The Dallas Way) (AR0843)

1984 – The Dallas Voice is founded, a weekly new publication for the LGBT community of Dallas, TX.

Dallas is represented at the first national “GRID” Conference in Washington, D.C.

On July 27th, 1982, Dallas was represented at the first national “GRID” (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) conference in Washington D.C., by Michael Richards, Howie Daire, and Candy Marcum.
Richards was the first paid member of the Dallas Gay Alliance and waas associated early on with the AIDs Resource Center.
The name “GRID” was originally used until the term “AIDs” Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was proposed at the conference in 1982, as many more patients began to appear, who had no ties to homosexuality. As a founding members of the AIDs Action Council, Richards worked to prevent transmission of the AIDs virus, and helped draft the Denver Principles, which were medical, legal, and moral guidelines on the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

1985 – Bill Nelson runs as the second openly gay candidate for Dallas City Council.

1986 – Lesbian and Gay Political Coalition founded.

1987 – AIDs Memorial Quilt displayed in Washington D.C.

Man sewing panel for AIDs Memorial Quilt, c. 1987. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

AIDs Memorial Quilt display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., 1987. From Jack Evans and George E. Harris Collection (The Dallas Way) (AR0788)

“Bill Nelson is for good neighborhoods.” Pamphlet for Bill Nelson’s Dallas City Council campaign, 1985. From William H. “Bill” Nelson Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way) (AR0842) Image description with the info displayed in this pamphlet will be available in the comments section below this image.

Dave Lewis and Bill Nelson at third Gay Pride Parade in Dallas, 1984.
From Resource Center LGBT Collections of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

1988 – Dallas Buyer’s Club established with a mission to provide access to experimental AIDs medications. (There is a movie about this also with Matthew McCoughnohay playing a man who is a part of this club!)

1988 – Nelson-Tebedo Clinic established to serve medical needs of AIDs patients in Dallas, TX.

1989 – The Women’s Chorus of Dallas founded

1989 – Dallas Police Department refuses to hire openly lesbian Mica England, leading to trials ending in a win for England.

1990 – Gay Urban Truth Squad (“GUTS”) stages a demonstration in Lee Park to commemorate the 1,421 AIDS deaths in Dallas at that point in time.

1992 – Jerry Birdwell elected as first openly gay state district judge in Dallas, TX.

Bill Nelson drawing a chalk outline of a body at the memorial for Terry Tebedo (Nelson’s partner who died of AIDs complications), 1988. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Bruce Monroe at the memorial for Terry Tebedo (Nelson’s partner who died of AIDs complications), 1988. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries. (AR0756)

People protesting Judge Jack Hampton, 1994. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Jean Nelson (mother of Bill Nelson) performing ribbon cutting at the opening of the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic for AIDs Research, 1990. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

Mail advertisement for Craig McDaniel’s Dallas City Council campaign, 1993. From Dennis Vercher Collection (The Dallas Way) (AR0789)

1993 – DGA v. The City of Dallas (Parkland Hospital)

Members of the Dallas Gay Alliance and Ron Woodroof, the creator of the Dallas Buyers Club, sued Parkland Hospital for discrimination against and providing inadequate care to AIDs patients. With only one full time doctor to administer medications to around 700 AIDs patients per month, many patients were put on wait lists for treatment. Seven patients, who had died while on the waiting list for AZT, the only licensed medication to combat AIDs at the time, were listed as co-plaintiffs for the case.
Judge John Marshall ruled in favor of the Dallas Gay Alliance, mandating that the hospital end its practice of wait listing patients eligible for treatment with AZT.

1993 – Gay & lesbian cheerleading squad, Cheer Dallas, founded

  • Craig McDaniel elected as first openly gay Dallas City Councilman.

Craig McDaniel was the first openly gay man to be elected to Dallas City Council, in 1993, and he worked to support the rights of the LGBT community through legislation. He worked to appoint openly LGBT people to city board and commissions, helped to overturn a policy prohibiting gays from serving openly on the police force, and established a non-discrimination policy for municipal employees that included sexual orientation.

1994 – Dragonflies of Dallas, a social and support group for gay Asian and Pacific Islanders, founded

  • Dallas restauranteur Eduardo Greene publicaly transitions to Monica Greene, changes name of restaurant to “Monica’s Aca y Alla”

1995 – Dallas expands city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include the category of sexual orientation.

  • Jose Plata elected as first openly gay DISD board member

Group of people at the Lone Star Ride event, c. 2000. From Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries (AR0756)

1997 – Dallas Southern Pride is founded, an annual celebration for Black LGBTQ individuals.

1997 – Walt Whitman Community School opens

1998 – Log Cabin Republicans barred from displaying materials at state GOP convention in Fort Worth

1999 – John Thomas dies

John David Thomas (June 20, 1946 – January 20, 1999) was the first executive director of the AIDS Resource Center and a founding member of many North Texas LGBT organizations. Like Richards, Nelson, and Tebedo, Thomas was directly affected by the AIDS epidemic. He created programs through the AIDS Resource Center to inform others, give assistance and provide. Thomas and several others were plaintiffs in the Morales v. the State of Texas suit challenging the state penal code 21.06, (the anti-sodomy law) under the Texas Constitution. John Thomas retired from the AIDS Resource Center in 1996 due to his deteriorating health, and died in 1999. In his honor, Cathedral of Hope built the John Thomas Memorial Bell Wall and three months before his death, the AIDS Resource Center renamed the Gay and Lesbian Community Center as the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

2003 – Lawrence v. Texas ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court decides Texas anti-sodomy law is unconstitutional, and the ruling applies nationwide.

2005 – Lupe Valdez, a Hispanic lesbian, is sworn in as Dallas County Sheriff. She is the first woman, the first ethnic minority person, and the first lesbian to be elected to this office.

2006 – Cathedral of Hope is accepted into the United Church of Christ

Cathedral of Hope has a predominately LGBT congregation, and is the world’s largest LGBT inclusive church with over 4,000 members as of 2010. It was founded on humble beginnings with a small group of people gathering in homes with Rev. Richard Vincent as the first pastor. In 1972, they moved into their first church building, and after a number of moves, in 1995 they commissioned prominent architect Philip Johnson to design a new cathedral. The congregation continued to grow with a sister church in Oklahoma City, and remote worship through streaming services online. In 2006, the Cathedral of Hope was granted membership into the United Church of Christ, becoming the fourth largest congregation in denomination.

2007 – Ed Oakley runs as first openly gay candidate for Mayor of Dallas, and narrowly loses to Tom Leppert in a runoff.

2008 – Crossroads Market, a bookstore and gathering place for the LGBT community for over 25 years, closes.

2008 – DFW Pride Movement is founded by Derrick Spillman

2011 – The Dallas Way is founded

2013 – Jack Evans and George Harris are the first legally recognized gay marriage in Dallas County.

Members of the LGBT Taskforce, 2014. Courtesy of the office of Councilmember Adam Medrano.

Light Up Oak Lawn march to highlight need for increased security in the neighborhood, 2015. Courtesy of the Dallas Voice.

LGBTQ+ Community Self-Portraiture

The second portion of the exhibit featured self-portraits contributed by local LGBTQ+ members, many associated with Dallas College. The following portraits are incredible and I really appreciated getting the time to see them up close and take my time! Please enjoy;

‘Growth and Boundaries’ by Allison Gillies

‘Self Portrait’ by Caroline Ferris

‘Self Portrait’ by Quinn Powell

‘Virtual Self’ by Joseph Boatfield

‘Honey’ by Stefanie Hampton

‘Me is We’ by Orion Schiada

‘Portrait of the Artist at the Laundro-mat’ by Kim Russell

Digitally manipulated photo of a local Dallas queer couple.

‘Self Portrait’ by David Schulze

‘Elizabeth’ by Richard Curtain

‘So Emo’ by Brett Dyer

‘The Crossroads’ by Robert Emery

‘Marching Together’ by Jennifer Pilon and Kysa Schafer

‘Wonderlynda’ by Lynda Koshy

‘Me and my Machete’ by Kate Jenkins

That concludes the amazing showcase of Dallas LGBTQ+ history, thanks to The Dallas Way for sponsoring the event and thank you to Allison Gillies for organizing it! I was honored to contribute, adored getting to see everyone’s part and learned quite a bit about the paths our queer elders forged before us.

Thanks for reading! ❤

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