The Resource Center LGBT Collection: Response to HIV/AIDS

AIDS and the AIDS Resource Center

Founded in 1985, the AIDS Resource Center (an entity of what is now known as Resource Center) operated a hotline service to provide information and referral services for people with HIV/AIDS related illness and provided hot meals to people through a Food Pantry. The Center extended its services through publications such as “AIDS Update,” “Spectrum” and “Positive Personals.”

Many individuals came together to help develop the AIDS Resource Center. Some noteworthy figures who made this possible are Mike Richards, Bill Nelson, Terry Tebedo, John Thomas, Bill Hunt and William Waybourn.

Mike Richards

Michael Richards was one of the first people in Dallas to publicly vocalize AIDS concerns. He was the first paid member of the Dallas Gay Alliance and was associated early on with the AIDS Resource Center. Richards attended the 1982 GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) Conference. As a founding member of the AIDS Action Council, he worked to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus. Richards also helped to draft the Denver Principles, which were medical, legal and moral guidelines on the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo

Partners Bill Nelson (March 7, 1949-February 20, 1990) and Terry Tebedo (c.1949-January 28, 1988) were members of the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and the Dallas Gay Alliance from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Nelson was involved in many LGBT causes, including serving as president of the Dallas Gay Alliance from 1984 to 1987. He was also a candidate for Dallas City Council in 1985 and 1987, the second time getting more than 23,000 votes in a citywide race. Along with William Waybourn, Nelson and Tebedo founded Crossroads Market, an eclectic mix of magazines, books, antiques and jewelry. After being sold to a series of new owners, Crossroads Market closed in 2008. Terry Tebedo died of AIDS complications in 1988, followed by Bill Nelson, in 1990. Resource Center’s Nelson-Tebedo Clinic is named in their memory.

John Thomas

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 care. Thomas and several others were plaintiffs in the Morales v. the State of Texas suit challenging the state penal code 21.06, more commonly known as the anti-sodomy law. John Thomas retired from the AIDS Resource Center in 1996 due to his deteriorating health and died in

  1. 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.

Bill Hunt

Bill Hunt (June 5, 1955-January 7, 1993) was a member of the Dallas Gay Alliance in the 1980s. Alongside DGA, he was a named plaintiff in the Parkland lawsuit. An outspoken activist, Hunt helped bring more attention to the epidemic and volunteered at the AIDS Resource Center. Hunt worked as the client services manager for the AIDS Resource Center until he was no longer able to continue. In 1993, Bill Hunt died of AIDS-related complications. By that year, the list of people who had died of HIV/AIDS in Dallas had climbed dramatically since the first-reported cases and deaths in the 1980s.

William Waybourn

Alongside his friend, John Thomas, William Waybourn was responsible for many of the programs created to provide AIDS services and information in north Texas. In the early 1980s, a fundraising event called “Fabulous Faces and Fashion for AIDS” helped raise money towards the founding of the AIDS Resource Center. Waybourn was one of the founders of Crossroads Market, a bookstore and community gathering place in the heart of Dallas’ Cedar Springs neighborhood, and was president of the Foundation for Human Understanding (now known as Resource Center) from 1983 to 1990. In 1991, Waybourn founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund with Vic Basile and eventually moved to the Washington, DC area. Waybourn directed operations of the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, and was also the director of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). He now lives in Virginia with his longtime partner, Craig Spaulding.

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