Gays join protest of Bush library groundbreaking

Rick Vanderslice

About 100 people gathered to protest the groundbreaking of the George Bush Library on the Southern Methodist University campus this morning.

Members of the LGBT community were among the organizers. Other protesters came to Dallas from around the country.

Among the protesters was Cindy Sheehan, who became the face of the anti-war movement after the death of her son Casey in Iraq in 2004.

A march began at about 9:30 a.m. at Mockingbird Station and ended on the SMU campus outside Ford Stadium near Mockingbird Lane and Airline Drive. Many were dressed in black with white masks representing soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush administration.

Five different police forces kept protesters and counter-protesters apart. The march began in Dallas, crossed into Highland Park and ended on campus in University Park. SMU campus police also were on hand.

The groundbreaking was held several blocks away and protesters were not allowed anywhere near the dignitaries, who included  the Bushes and Cheneys. Sheriff’s department officers guarded that ceremony in riot gear with shields and batons. Only pre-approved guests and media were allowed near the library site.

However, pro-Bush counter-protesters were allowed to mingle on the outskirts of the anti-Bush crowd.

Local speakers were mostly from the LGBT community.

Aaron Rathbun dressed in a graduation cap and gown and held a sign on stage that read, “Bush failed us.”

Radio host and Queer LiberAction activist Rick Vanderslice led some of the chanting and was one of the speakers. He echoed the event’s “Arrest Bush” theme.

Vanderslice said the policy institute is being built to justify the policies of the Bush administration. He said this can’t be allowed to happen and called them war criminals who should be arrested and brought to justice.

“We can get them,” he said.

“Millions of lives have been ruined because of irresponsible foreign policy,” said Charles Grand, a speaker from the Socialist Workers Party.

Grand said he was happy with the number of people attending since the protest took place during a workday.

Sheehan explained why she had traveled to Dallas from her home in California for the event.

“You can’t put a bloom on that lily,” she said. “He wasn’t a good person. He wasn’t a good president. We can’t let him rewrite history.”

Other speakers included Time magazine 2002 person of the year Colleen Rowley, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and Col. Ann Wright, who spent 29 years in the military followed by 16 years as a diplomat and resigned her post to protest Bush administration policy.

State Rep. Lon Burnham from Tarrant County was scheduled to speak but was held up by an airline delay.

The museum and library will open in 2013. The policy center is already operating in offices in Preston Center.

Dressed as death, a number of protesters, including Time person of the year Colleen Rowley, marched to the groundbreaking but were turned back

—  David Taffet

Instant Tea time with Rick Vanderslice

This is arguably the greatest photo I’ve ever taken.

I’ll be making my first-ever appearance on The Rick Vanderslice Show today from 1 to 3 p.m. Not sure what all we’ll talk about, that’s really up to Rick. But I’m guessing some topics might include Our Divine Queen Andy Moreno and all the developments this week concerning “don’t ask don’t tell.” Hell, we might even talk about those arrests over at Club Dallas last week (I’ve been dying to tell about the grand tour of the facility I received the other day). Anyhow, you can watch and listen live below or by going here.

—  John Wright

LGBT archives grow with artifacts and pics

Archives gives glimpse into the history and development of Dallas’ vibrant LGBT community

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Morgan Fairchild, left, Faye Dunaway, right, present William Waybourn with a check for $50,000
MOMMIE DEAREST | Morgan Fairchild, left, Faye Dunaway, right, present William Waybourn with a check for $50,000 to help found the AIDS Resource Center. (Courtesy Phil Johnson Library)

Resource Center Dallas has been archiving the history of the LGBT community of Dallas since Phil Johnson donated his own collection to them in the 1990s.

Johnson had saved every issue of the Advocate, This Week in Texas and Dallas Voice since the magazines were founded. He also had clipped articles about the LGBT community from the Dallas Morning News and the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald since the 1940s.

The center recently received several new donations to add to the collection Johnson began.

Blake Wilkinson and Rick Vanderslice donated items from Queer LiberAction that will make one of the most stunning visual displays when the center has more space to display them, officials said. QL’s kissing booth, Milk box, megaphone, signs and fliers document a resurgence in activism that included a response to the Rainbow Lounge Raid.

When Cece Cox became executive director of the Resource Center, she found a bill the city sent to Gay Urban Truth Squad, a direct action protest group from the early 1980s that was Dallas’ version of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). The bill was for clean up after a protest on a plaza outside the convention center near City Hall.

Hundreds had gathered outside a political fundraiser where President George H.W. Bush was speaking for the largest AIDS protest that had been held in Dallas. Protesters chalked outlines of bodies on the sidewalk and wrote the name of someone they knew who had died of AIDS.

Those attending the fundraiser had to walk over those “bodies” as they left their event.

The bill listed charges of $81 for an electrician and $100 to powerwash the sidewalk. A note to pay with DGA funds is initialed by John Thomas, executive director of Resource Center Dallas at the time.

Cox has the bill framed in her office.

William Waybourn, who was one of the founders of Dallas Gay Alliance and the foundation that became Resource Center Dallas, also recently donated a number of pictures to the center from its early days.

Resource Center spokesperson Rafael McDonnell told the story — told to him by Waybourn — of how the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic received its initial funding after Waybourn spoke to Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of the American Foundation For AIDS Research, about the lack of medical services for persons with AIDS in Dallas.

“The best thing we can do for someone with AIDS is get someone a bus ticket out of here,” Waybourn told her.

Together with the AmFAR’s founding chair Elizabeth Taylor, the organization donated $100,000 to start the clinic.

Paul von Wupperfeld recently donated a letter that he sent to George W. Bush’s campaign advisor, Karl Rove. In it, he asked Rove to help secure a meeting to encourage Bush to support hate crime legislation.

Other archive acquisitions include a Cheer Dallas megaphone and uniform. That group performed through the 1990s and were featured in a scene in the 1995 film “Jeffrey.”

Because of the enormous amount of documents and artifacts, much of the archives are kept off premises. To arrange to see or to use any of the collection, contact librarian Sandy Swann at Resource Center Dallas.

She said researchers working on master’s theses have contacted her about using documents.

“We had an English grad student studying drag performance in the DFW area,” she said. “He went back looking at old ads in the Voice, Texas Triangle and TWT.”

She said when Cathedral of Hope recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, she helped by providing material from the original Circle of Friends, the church’s founding group.

The archive also proved helpful to groups in the recent battle with DART over nondiscrimination based on gender identity, Swann said.

The Phil Johnson Library, Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan Street. Mon., Wed. and Thurs. 10 a.m. –6 p.m.; Tues. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.;  Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Sat. noon–4 p.m. Contact Swann for more information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

New gay Dallas artifacts: A letter from Log Cabin to Karl Rove, QL’s kissing booth and these pics

Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell informs us that RCD has made some notable acquisitions of late for its Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Library. For example, McDonnell said activists Blake Wilkinson and Rick Vanderslice recently dropped off some Queer LiberAction memorabilia, including a megaphone and the group’s patented kissing booth. Also, some recovering ex-Log Cabin Republicans provided a copy of a letter they wrote in the 1990s to Karl Rove, then an advisor to Gov. George W. Bush (we’re dying to read this). And finally, McDonnell sent over the below photos he took of photos that came in from William Waybourn, a pioneering Dallas gay-rights activist who now lives outside of Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, many of these items will have to be placed in storage for the time being due to space concerns. But McDonnell says Waybourn’s pics are slated for display at the Center. After the jump, we’ve posted a few a more of them along with Waybourn’s descriptions.

This is a photograph I took of John Thomas in the mid-1990s. He loved it, saying it captured the essence of who he was. Later, when AIDS began to take its toll on him, John wanted it used as his “official” photo because he was concerned that people wouldn’t remember how he looked before AIDS, and not as someone ravaged by the disease. On a side note, I asked John, Bill Nelson, Mike Richards or others appearing in the media on behalf of lesbian and gay issues to look presentable, e.g. wear coats and ties, etc. John and Charlotte Taft, then Dallas’ most “out” lesbian, were always media outstanding role models, skewing people’s impression of what they thought “activists” looked and sounded like.

—  John Wright

Milk Box next weekend in Sundance Square

Queer LiberAction will be bringing the Milk Box back to Sundance Square next Sunday, Nov. 29, starting at 5 p.m.

The last time QL set up the Milk Box at Sundance Square, a large contingent of folks from Pastor Joey Faust’s Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus (Texas, not outer space, though sometimes it’s hard to tell) showed up and the two groups got into something of a confrontation.

And on Nov. 10 outside the Fort Worth City Hall — as the council was inside preparing to approve an amendment to its nondiscrimination ordinance to protect trans people — QL’s Rick Vanderslice got into a shouting match with a Kingdom Baptist congregation member.

QL spokesman Corban Bates said the group fully expects Faust and his Baptist flock to show up again next Sunday. But QL will be ready for them and will stand their ground in exercising and protecting their free speech rights.

—  admin