Prominent gay activist faces possible censure

Posted on 16 Aug 2007 at 6:33pm
By John Wright Staff Writer

Texas Stonewall Democrats call special meeting to discuss future of group’s president who was arrested at White Rock Lake Park



Texas Stonewall Democrats President Shannon Bailey remains mum about his plans for continued political involvement following his public lewdness arrest.

Members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus have called a special meeting to discuss the standing of President Shannon Bailey.

The 49-year-old Bailey, a longtime local activist, was arrested June 14 on a charge of public lewdness after two vice unit officers observed him performing oral sex on another suspect in White Rock Lake Park, according to Dallas Police Department reports.

Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and a member of the TSDC executive board, said this week the special meeting, set for Aug. 25 in Austin, will focus on proposed changes to the statewide organization’s bylaws and “an honest discussion” about Bailey. TSDC is the largest gay political group in Texas.

“People have very strong opinions, and we need to hear those opinions out,” Garcia said. “It will give us a time for us to air out our feelings.”

Garcia said Bailey, former finance chairman for SDD, agreed to step down from the local group’s board shortly after his arrest.

“I felt like he needed to concentrate on this situation,” said Garcia, who said he requested Bailey’s resignation. “He has a lot of stuff that he needs to deal with right now. He’s not in a good place to be out there raising money for Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.”

Bailey, who was elected to a two-year term as TSDC president in June 2006, did not return a phone call seeking comment this week.

Bailey also is a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee. In a statement, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said he would await the outcome of Bailey’s pending court case before deciding how to proceed.

No further information was available about the case this week. Public lewdness is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.

“I recently learned that State Democratic Executive Committee member Shannon Bailey was accused of alleged public lewdness that could result in a serious conviction,” Richie said. “The Texas Democratic Party is proud of its officers and holds them to the highest standards. I am a strong believer that no one is above the law and that elected and party officials have a responsibility to uphold the public trust. If these charges should be found true, then I will immediately initiate procedures for his removal from office.”

A spokesman for national Stonewall Democrats did not return a phone call seeking comment. Garcia said Stonewall is a bottom-to-top organization, meaning the national chapter has no authority over local or state groups.

TSDC’s special meeting will follow an informal meeting via conference call among some members last month during which Bailey’s situation was discussed.

TSDC normally meets only once a year in March of odd years for legislative rallies and in June of even years for the state party convention, Garcia said.

All those who are current with their TSDC memberships will be allowed to vote during the special meeting, set for 3 p.m. at the Hilton Austin, 500 E. Fourth St.

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 17, 2007

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