A Queer History of Dallas: the Formation, Development, and Integration of Big D’s LGBT Community, 1965-2005

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2019-05-01T05:00:00.000Z

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Abstract

A Queer History of Dallas contributes to the historiography on LGBT communities by focusing on a community for which very little history has been written. It shows how the organizations that queer people in Dallas founded provided them with a sense of community. This organizational history demonstrates that queer men and women in Dallas were adept at forming social, religious, political and cultural organizations. In addition to being skilled at creating vital community-based institutions, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) women and men proved effective at modifying those organizations when it was necessary to do so. Since queer people in Dallas were efficient at forming and maintaining community-based organizations, several of them endured for decades. By 2005 these decades-long organizations included the Cathedral of Hope (CoH), Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance (DGLA), and Turtle Creek Chorale (TCC). This dissertation not only demonstrates how the organizations that LGBT people formed in Dallas brought together a sizeable number of men and women linked by their group identity as queer people, but it also shows how LGBT women and men carved out a geographic community for themselves in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Lawn. Queer men and women faced discrimination when they began to move to the area in the early 1970s. Even though LGBT people experienced resistance to their congregating in Oak Lawn, they continued to move to the neighborhood in large numbers. Since so many queer people inhabited Oak Lawn, by 2000 its zip code contained the highest number of same-sex households of any in the state of Texas. In addition, this project shows the important part that religion played in Dallas’ queer community. Progressive ministers, both straight and gay, played a vital role in helping form a visible LGBT community in Dallas. From the mid-1960s, when four straight ministers joined the first gay social organization in Dallas called the Circle of Friends (COF), to 2005 when the Reverend Dr. Jo Hudson was elected the first female pastor of the CoH, religious leaders played a significant part in the life of Dallas’ queer community.

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History, United States, Gender Studies

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