The Resource Center LGBT Collection: Activism


Texas Penal Code section 21.06, adopted in 1973, is the law which criminalized homosexuality; specifically, it prohibited oral and anal intercourse between two people of the same gender. Although only a Class C misdemeanor, while in effect the law allowed legal discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was used as justification for firing people, unfavorable child custody and divorce decrees, and limiting access to health care. After an unsuccessful challenge in the 1980s, section 21.06 was overturned as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas. In spite of that ruling, the law remains on the books in Texas with a note that it was overturned; legislators have consistently fought efforts to remove it.

Don Baker

Don Baker (c.1947-December 1, 2000) was an early president (1980-1982) and a founding member of the Dallas Gay Political Caucus. Baker was an elementary school teacher in the Dallas Independent School District who was fired in 1977 after coming out in a television interview. Under Texas Penal Code section 21.06, the state’s anti-sodomy statue, this was completely legal. In 1979, Baker filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas to claim that 21.06 was unconstitutional. The case went to trial in 1981, and in 1982 federal judge Jerry Buchmeyer ruled in favor of Baker. This landmark decision was overturned at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and section 21.06 continued as Texas law until it was struck down in 2003 as a result of the Lawrence v. Texas U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Louise Young

Dr. Louise Young was one of the original founders of the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and has served in leadership capacities in many other LGBT organizations. She was the founder of the Raytheon Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies (GLBTA) employee resource group and was a key player in Raytheon’s addition of both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression into the EEO policy and the adoption of domestic partner benefits. Young is a member and former co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Council and has spoken to numerous professional forums including: Women in Technology Annual Technical Summits, the Wharton School of Business, the UCLA Anderson School of Business, Southwest Benefits Association Annual Conference, and the Out & Equal LGBT Workplace conference. She is also a past member of the National Advisory Board of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Young married her long-time partner of 37 years, Vivienne Armstrong, in California in August 2008.

Ann Brown

Ann Brown is a pioneer in the Dallas LGBT community. In the 1970s she worked with Don Baker and other individuals associated with the Dallas Gay Alliance and helped to forge many of the LGBT organizations which are still in existence today. As a lesbian and a person of color she faced discrimination and difficulty. However, she played an important role as a leader and a member of many organizations including: Lesbian Resource Centre, National Leather Association, Leadership Lambda, Oak Lawn Counseling Center, Cathedral of Hope, Pride Parade Committee, Texas Lesbian Conference, Black Tie Dinner, Beyond Vanilla, United Court of the Lone Star Empire, Umoja Hermanas, Women in Communities, National Coming Out Day, Cathedral Business Network, AIDS Resource Center, Razzle Dazzle Dallas, Blood Sisters and Dykes on Bikes.

Brown was featured in the KERA documentary, “Finding Our Voice: the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Community,” along with other founding members of the North Texas gay and lesbian movement. In an early letter to members of the Dallas Gay Alliance and LGBT community, Brown addressed concerns about broader participation of people of color in gay and lesbian issues and raising HIV/AIDS awareness.

CeCe Cox

Cece Cox, J.D. is the chief executive officer of Resource Center. She is a co-author of the book One Million Strong: the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights. Cox has been a board and an advisory board member for the Black Tie Dinner, the director of development and marketing for Turtle Creek Chorale, a class member of Leadership Dallas and as a pro bono attorney for Legal Hospice of Texas. In addition to her role at the Center, she currently serves as an executive committee member of SMU’s Simmons School of Education & Human Development, a board member of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and a board member of Centerlink, the association of LGBT community centers.

Cox is the second woman to serve as head of the Resource Center; Karen Estes served as a co-director in the late 1990s after founding executive director John Thomas retired for health reasons in 1995.

The Dallas Way

The Dallas Way was organized in 2010 with a mission to “gather, store, and present the complete GLBT history of Dallas.” Founded by Jack Evans and George Harris, the group documents stories through its website and through Outrageous Oral a program to present individual and organizational histories. The board of directors for the Dallas Way (2013) includes Buddy Mullino (President), Steve Atkinson (Vice President), Evilu Pridgeon (Secretary), Bruce Monroe (Treasurer), Evans, Harris, Robert Emery, Mike Anglin, Dennis Coleman, Daryn DeZengotita, Kay Wilkinson, Steve Hickerson and Lisa Boule. Advisory board members include Rebecca Covell, Carl Parker and Mike Grossman.

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