LGBT culture in Dallas–Fort Worth

In 2014, Dallas' Oak Lawn District was voted the number one gayborhood in the country by Out Traveler.[1] According to a 2006 study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has the largest gay population in Texas.[2]


The first pro-LGBT event in DFW occurred in 1972; it was an unorganized march in Downtown Dallas.[3] The first official gay pride parade took place in June 1980.[4]


The Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs Road area serves as North Texas' largest gayborhood and is home to Dallas' vibrant gay nightlife.[5] The first LGBT-oriented business to open there was Union Jack, a clothing store operated by an expatriate from the United Kingdom,[6] Richard Longstaff. It opened in 1971 and moved to Cedar Springs Road around 1972.[7] It announced that it was closing in 2014.[6] It was open for 42 years.[8]

Bishop Arts is the other known gayborhood in Dallas. There's a significant number of gay residents, along with several popular gay-centric/gay-friendly establishments.[9]


In 1994 Community Center established the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library. The University of North Texas Libraries acquired this facility in 2012.[10] This library holds archival information related the DFW LGBT community. The producers of the Dallas Buyers Club film used this archive.[11]

The Stonewall Democrats of Dallas is an LGBT political club in the area.[12]

Gay for Good has a Dallas-Fort Worth chapter.[13]

The Resource Center broke ground on a new LGBT community center expected to be completed in 2016. The $8.7 million project is located in Oaklawn and will be one of the largest LGBT community centers in the nation.[14]

Due to the HIV/AIDS infection rate in Dallas, the highest in Texas, and due to a lack of HIV testing programs in Dallas, University of California, San Francisco researchers decided to establish an experiment in Dallas. United Black Ellument (UBE), which had a cost of $1.6 million, is aimed at the Black LGBT community in Dallas. Researchers study safe sex activity. The program includes coffee hours every week, the "Queerly Speaking" event, worship services, fashion shows, safe sex promotions, and picnics. Over 300 black men are participants.[15] UBE is based near Downtown Dallas.[16]


Dallas has one of the largest Gay populations in the US. Gay Dallas is primarily centered around the Oak Lawn area with bars, restaurants, and stores found throughout Cedar Springs Rd and Oak Lawn Avenue. The intersection of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs has been called the “crossroads” of Oak Lawn and is the home to LGBT Bars, coffee shops, book stores, video stores, services, and restaurants within walking distance.

Tallywackers, a male version of Hooter's,[17] opened on May 30, 2015 and closed in 2016. It was owned by Rodney Duke.[18] Its customer base included homosexual men and straight women.[19]

Politics and Activism

In 2002 the Dallas City Council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT persons.[20] As of 2014 the City of Dallas pays an inferior pension to same sex couples relative to its pension for opposite sex couples.[21] John Wright, a former editor of the Dallas Voice,[22] stated that the city is not complying with its own anti-discrimination ordinance and that "It’s unbelievable to me that in 2014, the city of Dallas is still treating its LGBT employees unequally when it comes to basic benefits like pensions, family medical leave and transgender health insurance."[20]

In 2004 Lupe Valdez, a Latina lesbian, was elected as the sheriff of Dallas; she was the first woman, Latina, and gay person to hold this position.[23]

After she began her first term in the Dallas City Council in 2007,[24] Vonciel Jones-Hill, who is also a Methodist preacher,[25] stated that she would not and never will attend the gay pride parade; she argued that God does not approve of homosexuality. The Dallas Voice criticized her because of her stance.[25] In 2009 she was the only member of the Dallas City Council to not attend.[26]

Around 2009 the City of Dallas formed an LGBT task force.[22] Delia Jasso, a member of the Dallas City Council, had created this taskforce.[20]

In early 2013 Scott Griggs, a member of the Dallas City Council, announced that he was writing a pro-LGBT resolution;[27] the resolution asked to allow same-sex couples to have the same marriage rights as opposite sex couples.[28] By April he had filed the resolution,[29] and he stated that it had enough votes to pass. The City Council vote was scheduled for June 12 of that year.[30] Mayor of Dallas Mike Rawlings criticized the proposal, arguing that because the city has no political power to enact gay marriage, it would be a "waste of time" to vote on this bill; Rawlings stated that he supports same sex marriage.[28] Kingston argued that Dallas may be "left behind" if it does not pass this resolution.[31] Rawlings quashed this resolution.[22]

By June 2013 the Dallas County Health and Human Services put up a billboard, titled, "Check Your Status," that asks men who have sex with men to get HIV tested. This billboard, intended to combat HIV infections in African-American men, depicts two men in a relationship. In response,[32] Jones-Hill stated that the billboard presents same-sex conduct among African-American men as acceptable as long as they safeguard their health.[33]

By February 2014 a committee of the Dallas city council voted to adopt a "comprehensive statement of support" for LGBT Dallasites and city government employees.[22] Rawlings supported this measure,[34] and the council passed it in March of that year.[35] Wright argued that the resolution does not go far enough.[20]

Established in 1982, the Black Tie Dinner has become one of the largest fundraiser events in the nation for the LGBT community. The event raises funds for the LGBT supportive organizations serving North Texas through a premier event of empowerment, education and entertainment in partnership with the community. To date, Black Tie Dinner has distributed nearly $20 million.[36] The event is held every fall.


The Dallas Voice is the LGBT newspaper of Dallas. Dallas Voice first published in May 1984.

A gay reality series based in Dallas named The A-List: Dallas premiered on Logo TV in fall 2011.


Jose Plata, an openly gay Dallas Independent School District (DISD) board member, and Pat Stone, the president of the Dallas Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), advocated for adding LGBT students to the DISD anti-discrimination ordinance. In 1996 the DISD board of education voted to add LGBT individuals to the ordinance, and by 1997 the district had created a pamphlet for LGBT students.[37]

In 1997,[38] the Walt Whitman Community School, a private alternative high school catering to those who identify as LGBT, opened in Dallas.[39] It was the United States's first LGBT-oriented private school.[38] The school closed in 2004.

The Oak Lawn Library in Oak Lawn, Dallas has a 1,729-item collection of LGBT-related literature; it had a circulation of 3,748 as of 2012, and that year Angie Bartula, the branch manager, stated that it was one of the largest LGBT-related collections in the United States.[40]


There are two gay pride parades held in Dallas: the Alan Ross Freedom Parade or Dallas Pride, and the parade by QueerBomb Dallas.[41] The first official Dallas Pride was held in June 1980.[4] In 1983 the Tavern Guild took control of Dallas Pride. That year, the Tavern Guild moved the celebration from June to the third Sunday of September in honor of Baker v. Wade. The celebration moved back to June in 2019.[42]

In 2014 QueerBomb Dallas criticized Dallas Pride for accepting sponsorship from Heineken; Heineken has no protections for transgender employees, and Barry Andrews, the owner of Heineken, had hosted a fundraiser for Dan Patrick, a politician who took anti-LGBT stances.[41] QueerBomb Dallas organizes their own Pride rally, march and party on the last weekend in June.

Around 1981 a drag queen established the annual Tarrant County Pride (Fort Worth and Arlington) event. Originally it was held on Jennings Street but in 2011 the venue changed to Downtown Fort Worth. Thomas Anable helped move the parade to its current location.[43] In 2011 Mayor of Fort Worth Betsy Price served as the Grand Marshal.[44] Also the Fort Worth (Tarrant County) gay community established an annual gay & lesbian film festival (QCinema), gay rodeo, and eight gay bars/clubs.[45]

The Out Takes Dallas Lesbian & Gay Film Festival occurs in Dallas.[46]

The PlayPride LGBT Festival, an annual playwright competition held by the TeCo Theatrical Productions, held its first event in 2014.[47]

In 1980, the Turtle Creek Chorale was founded. It has become the largest and most prominent predominately gay men chorus in Texas. In 1989, Dallas' first predominately lesbian chorus was formed called The Women's Chorus of Dallas.[48]

Since its opening in 1989, Sue Ellens has been one of the largest and most popular lesbian bars in the nation. In 2014, Sue Ellens was ranked as one of the Top 10 lesbian bars in the nation by BuzzFeed LGBT.[49]

1996 marked the first year of Dallas Black Pride. The celebratory event has grown over the years and continues to be held every fall.

The Texas Latino Gay Pride event began in 2014 and is held annually every early October in the Oaklawn district.[50]


As of 2000 the Dallas Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), an LGBT-friendly church, has 3,000 members, making it the largest MCC in the United States.[51] Cathedral of Hope is the largest LGBT church in the world.[52]

See also


  1. "Out Traveler Awards 2014: Best Gayborhoods". 8 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  2. Gary J. Gates "Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-02-05. (2.07 MiB) (). Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, UCLA School of Law, October, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  3. Price, Maddox. "Dallas Pride survival guide: Parking, bathrooms and what to do when you see your ex" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. September 19, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  4. Price, Maddox. "Why is Dallas Pride in September?" (Archive). Dallas Voice. June 21, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  5. "Dallas LGBT Fact Sheet" (Archive). SRJ Marketing Communications, hosted at Southern Methodist University. p. 1/7. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  6. Nicholson, Erin. "Union Jack, the First Gay Business on Cedar Springs, Is Closing" (Archive). Dallas Observer. Friday January 3, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  7. "Union Jack celebrates 40th anniversary" (Archive). Dallas Voice. July 21, 2011. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  8. "Union Jack Announces Closing" (Archive). Dallas Voice. January 2, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  9. "Dallas Gay Guide and Photo Gallery". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  10. "Our Story" (Archive). Resource Center. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  11. "The Resource Center LGBT Collection: 50 Years of LGBT History in Dallas" (Archive). University of North Texas. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  12. Wright, John. "Baptist minister sent letter to congregation members, others warning voters about Russell’s “‘gay agenda’" (Archive). Dallas Voice. May 24, 2007. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  13. Brinkerhoff, Mark. "Gay For Good volunteers team up to help kids back to school" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. September 10, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  14. "Resource Center announces groundbreaking for new LGBT Community Center". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  15. Lewis, Michele K. and Isiah Marshall. LGBT Psychology: Research Perspectives and People of African Descent (SpringerLink : Bücher). Springer Science & Business Media, November 2, 2011. ISBN 1461405653, 9781461405658. Dp. 191.
  16. "UNITED BLACK ELLUMENTUBE exists to enable Black same-gender-loving men to fulfill their greatest potential for good!". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  17. Metellus, Lashawn (WTSP-TV). "Dallas could be getting its own Hooters-like 'himbo' restaurant called Tallywackers." USA Today. April 30, 2015. Retrieved on June 1, 2015.
  18. "Tallywackers, the male Hooters, abruptly shutters in Dallas". Fox News. 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  19. Thomas, Dave (2018-01-25). "Former Dallas 'chestaurant' Tallywackers aims to reopen. Could it come to Austin?". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  20. Wright, John. "MY TAKE: Dallas kicks can down road on LGBT equality" (Archive). Lone Star Q. February 17, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  21. Wilonsky, Robert. "Some on Dallas city council surprised gay employees don’t have same pension plan as straight workers" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. January 7, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  22. Wilonsky, Robert. "Dallas takes first steps toward addressing LGBT inequities at City Hall" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. February 18, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  23. Flanders, Laura. Blue Grit: Making Impossible, Improbable, and Inspirational Political Change in America. Penguin Books, 2008. ISBN 0143113224, 9780143113225. p. 121.
  24. "UPDATE: Vonciel Jones Hill again snubs the gays, and we’re officially ‘castigating’ her for it" (Archive). Dallas Voice. August 30, 2010. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  25. Bush, Rudolph. "The Dallas Voice is not pleased CM Vonciel Jones Hill isn’t attending gay pride parade" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  26. Wright, John. "Hill lone council holdout for Pride" (Archive). Dallas Voice. September 3, 2009. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  27. "Griggs finalizes pro-LGBT resolution" (Archive). Dallas Voice. April 12, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  28. Bush, Rudolph. "Mayor Mike Rawlings calls marriage equality resolution political and a misuse of Dallas council’s time" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. May 1, 2013. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  29. "Scott Griggs files marriage equality resolution, says it has votes to pass" (Archive). Dallas Voice. April 30, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  30. Bush, Rudolph. "Marriage equality resolution has the votes to pass Dallas City Council, says council member Scott Griggs" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. April 30, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  31. Wilonsky, Robert. "At Dallas City Hall, the debate over same-sex marriage resolution boils down to: morality or money" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. February 18, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  32. McDonogh, Katie. "Texas councilwoman outraged over billboard featuring gay couple" (Archive). Salon. June 18, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  33. Rabb, Shaun. "HIV testing billboards getting attention in Dallas" (Archive). KDFW (My Fox DFW/Fox 4). June 18, 2013. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  34. Wilonsky, Robert. "Mayor Mike Rawlings to back LGBT ‘statement of support’ up for a city council vote Wednesday" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. March 14, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  35. Wilonsky, Robert. "‘A landmark day’ for Dallas’ LGBT community as council passes comprehensive LGBT resolution" (Archive). March 5, 2014. Retrieved on September 23, 2014.
  36. "Black Tie Dinner - Home". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  37. Fowler, Jimmy. "School's out." Dallas Observer. November 13, 1997. p. 2 (Archive). Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  38. "Walt Whitman Community School, Nation's First Private School For Gays, Opens in Dallas." Jet. Johnson Publishing Company, September 22, 1997. Vol. 92, No. 18. ISSN 0021-5996. p. 12.
  39. Clare, Mary M. and Steven E. James. "Secondary Schools." In: Sears, James Thomas (editor). Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia, Volume 2 (part of: Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia, James Thomas Sears, ISBN 0313327483, 9780313327483). Greenwood Publishing Group, January 1, 2005. ISBN 0313327556, 9780313327551. Start: p. 754. CITED: p. 756.
  40. "Newly formed committee wants to add to catalog of gay-related items housed at Oak Lawn Branch, which is already among nation’s largest" (Archive). Dallas Voice. October 26, 2012. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  41. McCarthy, Amy. "QueerBomb Dallas Plans Alternative Pride Event To Protest Anti-Gay Parade Sponsors" (Archive). Dallas Observer. Friday September 19, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  43. "SLIDESHOW: Fort Worth Pride parade is city’s largest" (Archive). Dallas Voice. October 7, 2012. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  44. "Photos: Fort Worth gay pride parade" (Archive). WFAA. October 1, 2011. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  45. "Welcome To GFW!". Gay Fort Worth. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  46. Reinhart, Rhonda. "Out and About" (Archive). Dallas Observer. November 13, 2003. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  47. Churnin, Nancy. "Dallas artist Buster Spiller wins 1st annual PlayPride LGBT Festival with ‘Pot Liquor’" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. September 15, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  48. Dallas, The Women's Chorus of. "Local community chorus performing concerts in Dallas". The Women's Chorus of Dallas. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  49. Karlan, Sarah. "The 17 Most Popular Lesbian Bars In The U.S. (Yes, They Exist)". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  50. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. Anuik, Jonathan (Lakehead University). "Metropolitan Community Church." In: Stange, Mary Zeiss, Carol K. Oyster, and Jane E. Sloan (editors). Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, Volume 1 (Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, Mary Zeiss Stange Sage reference). SAGE, February 23, 2011. ISBN 1412976855, 9781412976855. p. 942.
  52. Xaykaothao, Doualy and Eric Aasen. "Dallas Police Investigating Oak Lawn '666' Graffiti As Hate Crimes" (Archive). KERA-TV. Monday June 30, 2014. Retrieved on October 5, 2014.

Further reading

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