2016 In Review: A Year in the Life of LGBT SA

An estimated 1000 people came to Crockett Park on June 16 to participate in a vigil for the victims of the Pulse Orlando shootings. (Photo by Julian P. Ledezma)

A select month-by-month recap of stories about our community reported here and elsewhere in 2016.

JANUARY

(Courtesy photos)

Rev. Mick Hinson to leave MCC SA
Reverend Mick Hinson, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Antonio announced he was resigning his position.

Candidates line-up to speak at Stonewall Dems endorsement forum
The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio held an endorsement forum where over 80 candidates spoke to their members.

Psychotherapist helps school district address needs of LGBT students
Darrell Garcia Parsons, San Antonio psychotherapist, is working with counselors at a local school district to help address the needs of its LGBT students.

FEBRUARY

Police, TABC raid venue for Mr. Alamo City Leather Contest
The Mr. Alamo City Leather and Alamo City Bootblack contests were underway at the Mad Marlin Bar on February 6 when police and officials from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission raided the club which is located at 8123 Broadway.

Robber fires gun at Cobalt Club bartender
In the early morning hours of February 12, an armed robber menaced the customers and bartender at the Cobalt Club, a gay bar north of downtown.

Transgender woman found dead in motel
A transgender woman, Veronica Banks Cano, was found dead in a bathtub at the EL Mio Motel on the Southeast Side.

MARCH

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber certifies first SA business
Forbrich & Associates, LLC, a gay-owned San Antonio business, became the first in the city to be certified by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as an LGBT Business Enterprise.

Feds send SA trans man to women’s prison
A transgender man from San Antonio was placed in a women’s federal prison even though he legally changed his name and gender marker before his imprisonment. Celvin Anthonie Carrillo, 31, was sentenced last year to serve 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants.

SA trans dad takes child custody case to Texas Supreme Court
Dino Villarreal, a San Antonio transgender dad who was twice denied standing to seek child custody and visitation rights by the Fourth Court of Appeals, took his case to the Texas Supreme Court.

APRIL

With declining membership, Stonewall Dems contemplate future
For the past decade, the Stonewall Democrats have been a vibrant force within the local Democratic Party and in the LGBT community. At the height of its popularity Stonewall had nearly 200 dues-paying  members. Today, that number has been reduced by more than half with an average meeting often attracting fewer than 40 people.

Two girls turned away from Incarnate Word HS prom
Two girls were denied entrance to the Incarnate Word High School prom on April 16 after being told the school did not not allow same gender dates for the event.

LGBT activists march on Brownsville Federal Courthouse
A group of LGBT activists from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley marched on April 17 through downtown Brownsville to the Federal Courthouse “to stand firmly against all legislative attacks currently being waged against the trans and queer communities throughout the South.”

MAY

Police roust homeless loiterers near Annex Bar
San Antonio police are called almost daily to scatter dozens of homeless people who loiter near the corner of San Pedro Avenue and West Euclid Avenue where the Annex Bar and the Child Advocates of San Antonio are located.

Celebrating 10 years of Ladies on the Loose
Many in the community may recall back to 2006 when the San Antonio chapter of the Human Rights Campaign began hosting a monthly cocktail party for lesbians dubbed Ladies on the Loose, LOL for short. A decade later, those monthly gatherings continue and are a mainstay in the social life of the community.

LGBT activists picket Abbott book signing in McAllen
Activists from seven different community organizations picketed Texas Governor Greg Abbott during his “Broken But Unbowed Texas Book Tour” in McAllen, Texas on May 26.

JUNE

Friends, family mourn Texas victim of Orlando shootings
The family and friends of Frank Hernandez Escalante were shocked and dismayed over his death at the hands of a shooter who killed 49 people at the Pulse dance club in Orlando, Florida on June 12. Escalante, 27, was a native of Weslaco, Texas.

Cornyation raises $200,000 for charities, scholarships
The board of directors of Fiesta Cornyation announced that for the second year in a row they raised a record-breaking $200,000 which they distributed to local charities and college students on June 12.

High rate of STI’s among gay and bisexual men in SA
The rate of sexually transmitted infections remains high among gay and bisexual men in Bexar County according to statistics provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

JULY

SA LGBT LULAC named Council of the Year
San Antonio’s LGBT LULAC chapter was named National Council of the Year at the 87th National LULAC Convention in Washington, D.C.

Pride on the Strip Raises $22K for Orlando Victims
Proceeds from a block party held during this year’s Pride festivities, along with donations from local businesses and community members, raised over $22,000 for the Pulse Victim’s Fund for those who died in the Orlando shootings.

SA Pride Awards for Parade participants and activists
Pride San Antonio presented its Pride Bigger Than Texas Awards to parade participants and community activists on July 24 at Club Essence.

AUGUST

Tex-Mex Vegeria celebrates fifth anniversary
San Antonio’s gay-owned, Tex-Mex vegan restaurant, Viva Vegeria, held a two-day celebration to mark its fifth anniversary.

Benefit concert for Orlando victims at UIW
Over 40 classical musicians participated in an August 13 concert at the University of the Incarnate Word Concert Hall to benefit the victims of the Orlando shootings.

LGBT couples and singles support group started in New Braunfels
A new group, the LGBT L.O.V.E. Support Group, started organizing meetings and events in New Braunfels for singles and for couples who are married, engaged, or in long-term committed relationships.

SEPTEMBER

LGBTs surprised by Van De Putte’s endorsement of Taylor
It was a great astonishment to many San Antonio LGBTs when they learned former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, long considered an ally, expressed support for Mayor Ivy R. Taylor at a fundraiser on September 7.

Local LGBT activist recognized by state social work group
San Antonio activist Robert Salcido was recognized for his work in the LGBT community by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers during their annual state conference in Arlington, Texas on October 6.

Sheriff candidates speak at LGBT LULAC meeting
The top two candidates vying for the office of Bexar County Sheriff were the guest speakers at the September 15 membership meeting of San Antonio’s LGBT LULAC Council, Orgullo de San Antonio.

OCTOBER

Gay dads proud of son’s ice skating achievements
When Austin Borjas-Ewell began taking ice skating lessons at the age of 10, his parents, Mario Borjas and David Ewell, never thought that within five years the young man would become a top competitor with the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Gunmen kill bouncer at Annex Bar
San Antonio police are searching for a pair of gunmen who shot and killed the bouncer of the Annex Bar on Sunday, October 30.

San Antonio earns 95 on HRC Municipal Equality Index
San Antonio received 95 out of a possible 100 on the nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policy.

NOVEMBER

AARC opens LGBT clinic
The Alamo Area Resource Center opened the first non-profit clinic in South Texas to provide health services for the LGBT community.

CAUSA, once the force behind NDO advocacy, scales back
The leadership team of CAUSA (Community Alliance for a United San Antonio) announced it will no longer hold regular meetings.

Bernal files first pro-LGBT bill of Texas legislative session
The first pro-LGBT bill of the session was filed by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) and it’s HB 192. The bill would prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation.

DECEMBER

Texas man and partner are victims of Berlin terror attack
Richard Ramirez of San Benito, Texas was seriously injured and his partner was killed during the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, December 19.

USAA scores 100 on HRC Corporate Equality Index
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA), which is headquartered in San Antonio was the only local company to score 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index.

Holiday concert marks milestone for Live Oak Singers
When the Live Oak Singers took the stage for their holiday concert it represented a bittersweet milestone marking the retirement of the ensemble’s founder and first artistic director Ron Casola.

NOTABLE COMMENTARY

There’s Work Ahead for LGBT Democrats in SA
By Dan Graney, November 12, 2016
Most of us are still reeling over the unthinkable – a Donald Trump presidency. We are in a state of grief, not so much because the Republicans under Trump will have complete power in Washington but the bigotry which was espoused by Trump and many of his followers has now unveiled itself as never before.

Trans Panic: Coping with a Trump Presidency
By Polly Anna Rocha, November 10, 2016
As a queer transgender women of color, the results of this election have some strong implications for me and those like me. All the conversations on transgender bathroom laws, discriminatory rights of businesses, the denial of basic healthcare for trans people and so on, are going to open up again and again with a president like Trump and a strongly anti-LGBTQ vice president like Mike Pence.

RELATED LINKS

2016 In Review: Honorable & Dishonorable Mentions

2016 In Review: Top 10 Local New Stories

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