The Rev. Carol West has announced the death of David Mack Henderson, longtime activist and president of Fairness Fort Worth.
Henderson, who helped found Fairness Fort Worth in 2009 in the wake of the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, and had been president since August 2013, was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. He announced the diagnosis publicly in October.
West said a memorial service will be held at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania St., Fort Worth, at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15.
Henderson’s career as an activist began in the late 1970s when, as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, he was the school’s mascot. When school officials found out he was gay, they asked him to resign. But spurred on by the experience of friends who were harassed for being gay, Henderson refused. Instead of resigning, he founded the first LGBT student group on the UTA campus. He also served on the board of the Dallas Gay Alliance board before moving back to his hometown of Fort Worth. This past spring, Henderson led the effort to stave off right-wing forces, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to interfere with Fort Worth Independent School District’s guidelines for interacting with transgender students.
Henderson is survived by his mother, Dr. Janet Henderson, and four young gay men for whom he was a mentor.