Dallas Voice founder Don Ritz wrote the lead story in the first issue of Dallas Voice, printed 32 years ago on May 11, 1984. it Was about the Dallas Gay Political Coalition, the political action committee of Dallas Gay Alliance, that had endorsed John Vance for Dallas County sheriff and Lloyd Doggett for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
Both candidates earned enough votes to get into a June runoff.
The other front page story in that first issue was about Pride III, the committee planning to celebrate national Pride Week in June and the second anniversary of Judge Jerry Buchmeyer’s decision declaring the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in August.
That first paper was 24 pages. You know what wasn’t mentioned in those 24 pages? AIDS.
By May 1984, AIDS had already hit Houston hard. It had touched Dallas, but it was another six months before AIDS hit DFW hard enough that the Foundation for Human Understanding — now Resource Center — was formed as a project of Dallas Gay Alliance to address the growing epidemic.
Here are a few other things that were making news back on May 11, 1984:
• Playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein had been given the key to the city, the first openly gay person to be honored that way in Dallas.
• Phone numbers were listed without area codes. Numbers that began with a 52 were Oak Lawn exchanges.
• The Methodist Church had just reaffirmed its position on homosexuality: “Homosexuals are people of ‘sacred worth’ but the practice of homosexuality is ‘incompatible’ with Christian teaching.” That very same language is being debated again at the UMC’s quadrennial General Conference this month.
• Howie Daire answered relationship questions from readers. Howie had created Oak Lawn Counseling Center with his best buddy, Candy Marcum. He died of AIDS a couple of years later.
• In an ad, Crossroads Market welcomed Dallas Voice to the family of Dallas’ gay-owned gay-operated businesses.
• Wayland Flowers, an outrageous gay performer, and Madame, his drag puppet, were performing at Granny’s Dinner Playhouse, a place way up north in the suburbs (at the time) on LBJ. Flowers died of AIDS in 1988
• Tickets for the Turtle Creek Chorale’s cabaret show at Gran Crystal Palace (possibly on Airport Freeway in Irving; the article doesn’t specify an address) were on sale for two performances.
• Most of the ads were from the bars. Mahogany was performing at The Unicorn on Lemmon Avenue. MCA recording artists Bubba and Bear performed at Patrick’s on Fitzhugh. Comedy stars Jerry and Lola performed at the Fraternity House on Fitzhugh. Tina and Mack performed at the Hideaway on Buena Vista. Throckmorton Mining Company advertised that Heda Quote would be “serving subs soon.” James Griffith appeared at 4001 (previously the Village Station, located at the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton).
• Heda Quote was dishing the bar gossip: “Lonnie and Bill, owners of the Hideaway, toast their first year anniversary with singing star Dena Kaye.” Heda Quote, aka Rex Ackerman, wrote a gossip column for the Voice and later because the newspaper’s circulation director after his retirement from AT&T. He died of AIDS in 1998.
• Club Dallas had the inside back cover and has advertised in Dallas Voice every issue since then. Dallas Voice staff offers a special thank you to Club Dallas, and to all of our readers and advertisers through the years.
Welcome to Volume 33, Issue 1 of Dallas Voice!•
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 13, 2016.