William Waybourn joins push to name Oak Lawn post office for Bill Nelson

William Waybourn

One-time Dallas activist William Waybourn, who now lives in Virginia, added his name to the drive to name the Oak Lawn Post Office after Bill Nelson.

In his letter to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Waybourn reminds the congressswoman that she was one of the original advisory board members of the AIDS Resource Center in the mid-80s, lending her expertise as a nurse as well as her political clout. She said she showed “courage and rejected fear” by putting her name out for such an unpopular cause as AIDS.

Waybourn and his partner, Craig Spaulding, started Crossroads Market with Nelson and his partner, Terry Tebedo, in the early 1980s. Waybourn also later served as president of the Dallas Gay Alliance.

Bruce Monroe and The Dallas Way: The GLBT History Project have been spearheading the petitioning project. They collected signatures at an event at Sue Ellen’s on Sept. 13, at Lee Park after the parade and at a Stonewall Democrats event at the Round-Up Saloon.

As Lone Star Ride co-chair Dan Babb signed the petition at the event at the Round-Up, he said Nelson was a teacher of his.

Read Waybourn’s full letter to Johnson below.

—  David Taffet

Catching up with William Waybourn

William Waybourn

Pioneering gay Dallas activist William Waybourn and his partner, Craig Spalding, have opened a new bed and breakfast in Flint Hill, Va., Waybourn reports in an email. Waybourn and Spalding, of course, were among the original owners of Crossroads Market, which served as Dallas’ gay community center after it opened in 1980. The couple moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1990s after Waybourn founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. From Waybourn:

Earlier this year, Craig and I bought and started renovation on a 106-year old school house located on five acres in the Village of Flint Hill, VA, about 85 miles west of DC. The renovation was wall-to-wall, but now the work on the Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn is complete and it will open for regular business Tuesday, January 17th, serving lunch and dinner every day, along with brunch on weekends.

The new kitchen and chef Marvin Swaner are all fired up and the beds in the four spacious suites upstairs are ready for occupancy. The boss, John Gruber, has spent the past week training the new staff and acclimating them to their duties. I am pleased that we were able to put more than three dozen individuals to work to help make experiences at our new place fun and exciting.

I’ll have some new pictures of the completed work designed by architect and designer Ernesto Santalla posted soon, but if you come out west to hike, shoot the rapids, sample at the wineries, visit Sperryville or Little Washington, then stop by for a personal tour and see it for yourself. Just tell them at the front desk that I sent you.

In the interim, you can see some old photos on Facebook.

The number for reservations is 540-675-1700.

—  John Wright

Bashing gays with baseball bats has become an American pastime, especially in Oak Lawn

S1N1_NotreDame_1803_1Online
“What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?” this cartoon in Notre Dame’s student newspaper asked. Answer: “A baseball bat.” The newspaper later apologized.

We’ll have more on that anti-gay hate crime in Oak Lawn over the weekend in Friday’s Voice, but for now I wanted to share a note I received from William Waybourn, who was a pioneering gay-rights activist in Dallas and now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Waybourn, who helped start Crossroads Market and served as president of the Dallas Gay Alliance, went on to found the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and lead the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He now lives on the side of a mountain about an hour west of D.C. and, coincidentally, a mile or so from my parents. Anyhow, Waybourn recalls that this isn’t the first time gay men have been attacked in the Cedar Springs area with baseball bats. Here’s his note:

I don’t recall the exact details, but bashing gays with baseball bats around Cedar Springs and Throckmorton is not new. Nor has there ever been much interested in classifying these crimes as hate crimes.

The first incident I recall was an AIDS educator who got bashed in the parking lot behind (then) Crossroads Market and the food pantry. His assailants were never caught and as far as I recall, the crime was never solved. The kid didn’t die as a direct result of the attack, but he never recovered physically (or mentally). Unknown to anyone at the time, he had AIDS and the bashing complicated his physical health to a great extent. His official cause of death was AIDS. Had he been in the military and wounded, his subsequent “unrelated” death would have qualified him for a hero’s burial, as they are adding names of individuals wounded in the Vietnam War who died later from pneumonia, et al.

It seems that Dallas has a high number of baseball bat cases. Maybe they should quit giving them away at Rangers’ bat nights.

Waybourn isn’t alone in his recollections about baseball bats and gay-bashings in Dallas. Nancy Weinberger, a longtime local crime watch leader, sent out a note last night about this weekend’s incident.

“This is not the first time I have heard of baseball bats being thrown around in Oak Lawn,” Weinberger said in the message to Oak Lawn crime watch members.

The apparent prevalence of baseball bats being used in violent acts against gays may have prompted the student newspaper at Notre Dame University to run a cartoon in January making light of the phenomenon.

The newspaper later apologized for the cartoon, which is shown above.

—  John Wright