Gay Activism in Dallas and the Fight for Equality

by Paula Bosse

gay-pride-parade_062572_portal_smDallas’ first gay pride march, June 24, 1972 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today’s historic ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality comes after decades of civil rights activism from the LGBT community. The push for acceptance and equality began for many after the historic Stonewall Riots in New York City, which happened 47 years ago this week. The political fight began in Dallas — as it did in most major US cities — in the early 1970s. Dallas’ first Gay Pride march was held downtown on June 24, 1972, at a time when “out” homosexuals and lesbians were often blacklisted or denied basic civil rights without legal recourse. Below, the coverage of that first march by the Dallas and Fort Worth newspapers.

gay-pride-parade_dmn_062572DMN, June 25, 1972 (click for larger image)

gay-pride-parade-FWST_062572Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 25, 1972

And now, a long, long 43 years later — almost to the day — the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in every state in the union, a landmark victory not only for those early political and social activists who marched in the streets of Dallas and fought for their basic human rights, but also a victory for those of us who are their friends and family.

gay-pride-parade_june1972_dmn-blogAt the JFK memorial, June 24, 1972 (photo: DMN/Dallas Public Library)

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A wonderful history of the gay community in Dallas — from the days of secret “speak-easy”-type clubs to political organization to the AIDS fight — is contained in the KERA-produced documentary “Finding Our Voice: The Dallas Gay & Lesbian Community” (2000), which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube, here.

finging-our-voice_title

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The top photograph of Dallas’ first Gay Pride march is from the LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries; it and other photos of the parade can be found on UNT’s Portal to Texas History website, here.

Bottom photo is from the Texas/Dallas Archives Division, Dallas Public Library/The Dallas Morning News Collection; it appeared on a DMN blog post, here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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