2017 in Review: A Year in the Life of LGBT SA

USAA employees were the largest group to march in the 2017 Pride San Antonio Parade. (Photo: Julian Ledezma)

A select month-by-month recap of stories about our community reported here and elsewhere in 2017.


Jeffrey James (Photo via Facebook)

Jeffrey James is Fiesta Cornyation’s King Anchovy LII
The board of directors of Fiesta Cornyation, billed as “the raunchiest, cheapest event of Fiesta,” announced in January that this year’s King Anchovy LII was Jeffrey James, the proprietor of James Lawnmower Sales and Service.

SA politicians speak out against anti-trans bathroom bill
Four San Antonio politicians issued statements on January 6 opposing a bill (SB6) that would require Texas transgender citizens to use public bathrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. State Rep. Diego Bernal, City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, City Councilwoman Rebecca Villagran and City Councilman Roberto Treviño voiced their opposition to SB6.

Stonewall Democrats of SA elect new leadership
The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio elected a new slate of officers at their monthly meeting on Monday, January 16. Heading up the board of directors are new co-chairs Ellen Stephens and Chris Forbrich. Carolee Moore, a former co-chair, now serves as secretary.


Esperanza Center’s 30th anniversary. (Courtesy photos)

Esperanza Center celebrates 30-year anniversary
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center celebrated its 30th anniversary, continuing to push for social justice in San Antonio, fighting for equal treatment of women, people of color, LGBTs and working-class members of the community.

SA Activists protest reversal of protections for trans students
San Antonio LGBT activists staged a rally dubbed “Trump’s Attack on Trans Youth” to protest the administrations decision to rescind protections for transgender students.

Murder charges dismissed for former Club Essence dancer
Charges were dismissed for John “Champ” Snavely, a male stripper and porn star who in past years performed at Club Essence in San Antonio and who has spent the last three years in jail awaiting trial for the September 2010 murder of a man in Florida.


Trans activst Lauryn Farris walks out of WOAI town hall. (Video capture via WOAI)

LGBTs stage walk-out at WOAI debate on bathroom bill
WOAI’s Randy Beamer tried to host a “town hall” on Texas Senate Bill 6, the anti-trans bathroom bill. After about 15 minutes of discussion, LGBT activists and allies had heard enough, stood up and walked out of the Tobin Center during the live broadcast leaving the auditorium nearly empty.

HRC opens field office in SA
The Human Rights Campaign officially opened a field office in San Antonio on Sunday, March 5 with scores of activists on hand for the occasion. The office, located at 315 9th Street in San Antonio, is one of four field offices HRC opened in the state.

For Gene Elder, getting arrested is making art
Artist, activist and Out In SA columnist Gene Elder says his arrest last summer in Alamo Heights, where he where he was charged with interfering with an arrest and resisting arrest, was his way of making art.


Rev. William H. Knight, standing center. (Courtesy photo)

MCC San Antonio welcomes new Pastor
The Metropolitan Community Church of San Antonio welcomed its new pastor, the Rev. Doctor William H. Knight, who presided at his first Sunday service at the church on April 16.

Del Shores ‘Very Sordid Wedding’ Makes Texas Premiere in SA
Writer Del Shores once again brought together the zany characters of conservative Winters, Texas in his hilarious new film, A Very Sordid Wedding, which made its Texas premiere in San Antonio at The Playhouse.

‘San Antonio Four’ documentary named finalist for Peabody Award
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, by documentary filmmaker Deborah Esquenazi, was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Peabody Award. The film tells the story of four San Antonio lesbians wrongly convicted of gang-raping two children in the 1990s.


Alan E. Warrick II and William Cruz Shaw (Courtesy photos)

District 2 council candidates support the NDO
Four years ago, when Mayor Ivy R. Taylor was still the City Councilwoman for District 2, she said her vote against the nondiscrimination ordinance reflected not only her beliefs but also those of her constituents. However, once Taylor became mayor her statement proved to be untrue considering that all of the leading candidates who have since sought the District 2 council seat have supported the NDO without political repercussions.

David’s Law signed by governor
A law aimed at preventing and combating cyber-bullying was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbot after receiving a majority of votes in the House of Representatives and an unanimous vote in the Texas Senate.

SAGA endorses Montaño in District 1 runoff
The San Antonio Gender Association announced on May 13 that it was endorsing Michael Montaño in the race for the City Council District 1 seat. Montaño was facing a June 10 runoff against incumbent Councilman Roberto C. Treviño who went on to win the election.


Members of Move San Antonio registered voters at Pride events. (Courtesy photo)

Civic groups team up to register voters at SA Pride events
The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio organized a group of over 45 volunteers from four local civic organizations to register voters during the Pride Bigger Than Texas Festival and Parade on Saturday, July 1.

Trans youths named Grand Marshals of SA Pride Parade
Pride San Antonio named two transgender boys, 8-year-old Joe Maldonado and 18-year old Mack Beggs, as Grand Marshals of the Pride Bigger Than Texas Parade.

A Pride message from SA City Councilman Greg Brockhouse
Greg Brockhouse, who was elected to his first term representing City Council District 6, issued a Pride Weekend message to the city’s LGBT community.


LGBT activists work on rainbow crosswalks. (Photo via Kickstarter)

Activists paint rainbow crosswalks in chalk on Main Avenue Strip
Just hours before the Pride Bigger Than Texas Parade stepped off on July 1, local LGBT activists painted rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of North Main and East Evergreen. The effort, dubbed Pride 2017 Chalk It Up, was organized by local attorney Rosie Gonzalez who urged volunteers to “go buy all the rainbow chalk in town.”

Adelina Anthony premiers new feature on PBS Online Film Fest
San Antonio native and actor, playwright, director Adelina Anthony premiered her newest film in July as part of the 2017 PBS Online Film Festival. Amigas with Benefits, which Anthony wrote and directed, unfolds in a nursing home in Southern California where the wedding of two older lesbians is interrupted by one of the women’s daughter who opposes the union.

Mayor Nirenberg testifies against bathroom bills
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg was among the hundreds of people who testified on Friday, July 21 before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs, speaking out against two anti-trans bathroom bills introduced by state Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst.


Vigil for Kenne McFadden. (Photo by Alex Zielinski)

A memorial for slain SA trans woman Kenne McFadden
The San Antonio Gender Association recalled the life of Kenne McFadden with vigil on the San Antonio River on August 8, which would have been her 27th birthday. McFadden was murdered in San Antonio in April, becoming the 12th transgender person murdered in the U.S. this year.

Gina Ortiz Jones runs for District 23 congressional seat
Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones was the first Democrat to announce her candidacy for the Texas 23rd Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Rep. Will Hurd. Jones is a native of San Antonio, an Air Force veteran, a former member of the National Intelligence community, and an out lesbian.

Students and SA city leaders take anti-bullying pledge
San Antonio City leaders, along with scores of local teens, stood on the steps of City Hall on August 16 and took a pledge against cyberbullying. Among those present at the August 16 press conference were San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, State Sen. José Menéndez, Police Chief William McManus, City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval and City Councilman Clayton Perry.


Danny Ingram and Eric Alva. (Photo via Facebook)

Eric Alva marries Danny Ingram
In a ceremony on September 21 at the Bexar County Courthouse, retired Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Fidelis Alva married David Daniel (Danny) Ingram, an Army veteran and former technical analyst at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The couple was wed by Judge Genie Wright with a small group of friends and family present to witness the ceremony.

Anti-LGBT group protests SAISD’s nondiscrimination policy changes
The anti-LGBT group Texas Values protested changes made on August 21 to the nondiscrimination policy of the San Antonio Independent School District which now includes protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Three from SA community chosen for research leaders program
Three professionals from San Antonio’s LGBT community were chosen to participate in a leadership development program being led by the University of Minnesota and underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Amy Stone, Dr. Phillip Schnarrs and Robert Salcido will work on a research project with the theme, “Building a Stronger Community: Resilience Among LGBTQ+ People in South Texas.”


Eduardo Juarez (Photo via Facebook)

SA Attorney receives award from American Bar Association
Eduardo Juarez will be one of three LGBT legal activists to be honored by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with a Stonewall Award to be presented at the group’s mid-year meeting in Vancouver in February 2018.

City of SA stands behind trans employees
Officials from the City of San Antonio released statements in support of the city’s transgender employees after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo reversing a Justice Department policy that protected trans workers from discrimination under federal law.

SA Scores 95 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index
The City of San Antonio maintained its ranking in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index. This is the second year in a row that San Antonio has received a score of 95. The city’s score has fluctuated from a low score of 48 in 2012, to 86 in 2013, 72 in 2014 and 90 in 2015.


Rosa Maria “Rosie” Gonzalez (Photo via Facebook)

Rosie Gonzalez announces run for judge
In a brief announcement on November 16, local attorney Rosa Maria “Rosie” Gonzalez threw her hat into the upcoming Democratic primary for Judge County Court at Law No. 13.“It’s official. I’m in,” Gonzalez told friends and associates who gathered to hear her announcement.

USAA and Racskpace Score 100 on Corporate Equality Index
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released the results of its 2018 Corporate Equality Index on November 10. Of the seven companies ranked in San Antonio, two companies, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and Rackspace received a score of 100. This is the second year in a row USAA has received a perfect score.

Man indicted in death of SA transgender woman
Mark Daniel Lewis was indicted by a grand jury in connection with the death of Kenne McFadden, a San Antonio trans woman whose body was found in the San Antonio River last April.


Mayor Nirenberg at Fast Track Cities press conference. (Photo via Facebook/Ron Nirenberg)

San Antonio vows to end AIDS by 2030
San Antonio became the first city in Texas to sign onto Fast Track Cities, an international initiative to eradicate AIDS by 2030. Mayor Ron Nirenberg signed the measure on November 30, the day before World AIDS Day.

Former SA resident and marriage equality pioneer runs for Texas Senate
Plano attorney Mark Phariss, who in 2013 was a plaintiff in the successful Texas marriage equality lawsuit, announced his candidacy for Texas Senate District 8, which covers portions of Collin and Dallas counties.

Dallas sheriff, an SA native, to run for governor
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced her run for Governor of Texas in the Democratic primary. Valdez, who was born in San Antonio, is one of only one of a few female sheriffs in Texas, the only Hispanic female sheriff and the only openly-lesbian person to hold the office.


2017 In Review: Honorable & Dishonorable Mentions

2017 In Review: Top 10 Local New Stories

2017 In Review: Artistic Highlights and Milestones


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Originally published in the San Antonio Current. As we prepare to bid farewell to a year riddled with chaos and...