2018 In Review: Top 10 Local LGBT News Stories

Kenne McFadden drowned to death after being pushed into the San Antonio River by Mark Daniel Lewis. (Video capture via Facebook)

Mark Daniel Lewis was charged with manslaughter in the death of Kenne McFadden. (Photo: SAPD)

1) Judge Rules Man Indicted in Death of Trans Woman Can Go Free
Mark Daniel Lewis was indicted for manslaughter last year by a Bexar County grand jury for the death of Kenne McFadden, a local transgender woman, after he admitted to pushing her into the San Antonio River and failing to help her, thus causing her to drown. However, at a hearing to determine if McFadden had violated his probation, prosecutors decided to present all the evidence they had against him in the manslaughter case rather than just using only the information relevant to revoking his probation. State District Judge Joey Contreras ruled “a terrible tragedy” had occurred when McFadden drowned, but Lewis pushing her into the river did not rise to the level of criminal conduct which, in effect, exonerated him of the manslaughter charge.


Bexar County Commissioners Court in session on Feb. 27. (Video capture)

2) Bexar County Adds LGBT Protections to EEO Policy
Bexar County Commissioners voted on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to update the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy to include protections for LGBT employees and job applicants. Local LGBT activists have been seeking the change in the county’s policy since after the 2013 passage of the City of San Antonio’s nondiscrimination ordinance. The update, which was introduced by Precinct 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo, was passed by a unanimous vote.


The Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee (Courtesy photo)

3) Fifteen Named to Mayor Nirenberg’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee
Fifteen San Antonio citizens were named to Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee. The finalists were chosen from almost 200 applicants. In his letter to finalists the mayor wrote, “I am excited about the work that we will be able to get done together, and thank you for throwing your hat in the ring to help make it possible.” The committee members will act as a conduit between the LGBTQ community and the Mayor’s office, allowing them to highlight challenges and bright spots within these communities and make policy recommendations.


Pride Center San Antonio’s new home is located in an office building on the 300 block of Ogden Street at the east end of Crockett Park. (Photo via Google Maps)

4) Pride Center Finds Permanent Home Near Main Avenue Strip
District 1 City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño and the board of Pride Center San Antonio announced on New Year’s Eve that the organization had found a permanent home in a professional office building owned by the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital just one block from the Main Avenue Strip. “In these uncertain times, the opening of a safe space in San Antonio was long overdue,” Robert Salcido, Pride Center’s board president told Out In SA. “As the seventh largest city, not having a walk-in facility was no longer an option.”


Sgt. Stephanie Flores with her wife, Leiana Flores. (Courtesy photo)

5) Sheriff Appoints LGBTQ Liaison
In September, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar unveiled an initiative, dubbed the “Community and Internal Liaison Program,” with the goal of creating relationships with culturally-specific communities in the county. Among the 12 deputies who were appointed to the program is Sgt. Stephanie Flores who will serve as the sheriff’s liaison to the LGBTQ community. Flores is Sheriff Salazar’s administrative sergeant for special projects charged with helping him design and implement programs which help promote his goals within the community and with the department’s employees.


San Antonio’s Rainbow Crosswalk (Photo: Sam Sanchez)

6) LGBT Community Cuts Ribbon on Rainbow Crosswalk
After a year of planning and fundraising, San Antonio’s LGBT community came out in force on Friday, June 29 for the ribbon cutting of the Rainbow Crosswalk in the heart of the city’s gay business district. City Councilman Roberto C. Trevino, who championed the project from the start, was joined by fellow council members Ana Sandoval and Rey Saldana along with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and State Rep. Diego Bernal. There were remarks by the dignitaries present as well as by Phillip Barcena, board president of Pride San Antonio.


Jose Rincon Hernandez (Video capture via Facebook/KSAT)

7) Argument Results in Three People Shot Outside Pegasus Nightclub
Sunday Funday festivities were marred by violence after a shooting in the early hours of October 8 outside of the Pegasus nightclub on North Main Avenue resulted in three people being hospitalized. Police Chief William McManus said gunshots, which rang out about 1 a.m., were the result of an angry patron who was thrown out of the club and returned with a gun. A day after the incident, Jose Rincon Hernandez of El Paso turned himself in to San Antonio police after he was identified as the shooter.


Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera, Liz Ramirez and Kristie Mayhugh. (Video capture via WOAI-TV)

8) Judge Expunges Record of Wrongly Convicted ‘San Antonio Four’
A Bexar County judge on December 3 signed papers erasing the criminal histories of four women wrongly convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting two girls. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez — known as the “San Antonio Four” during coverage of their high-profile case — were wrongly convicted of gang-raping Ramirez’s nieces in 1994.


Rosie Gonzalez (Courtesy photo via Facebook)

9) LGBT Community Cheers Rosie Gonzalez’s Victorious Campaign for Judge
In an election season that offered a mixed bag of results, at least one San Antonio LGBT candidate is celebrating a victory and thanking the community for its help. Attorney Rosie Gonzalez scored a solid victory in the race for Judge of County Court at Law No. 13 garnering 57 percent of the vote against Republican incumbent Crystal Chandler.


10) For First Time, San Antonio Scores 100 on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index
For the first time since it began participating in the survey, San Antonio has received a score of 100 on HRC’s 2018 Municipal Equality Index. “Hitting 100 on the scorecard was a goal for my administration, and I am proud that San Antonio has made it,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “We have come a long way in recognizing human rights over the last few years, and I am determined to continue enhancing our equal rights efforts.”


NOTABLE PASSINGS

Javier Martinez a.k.a. Shady Lady (Courtesy photo)

Javier Martinez / Shady Lady
Javier Martinez, who for more than 40 years entertained thousands across Texas under the stage name Shady Lady and became a local legend at nightclubs including Pegasus and Heat, died on August 24 of complications from diabetes. He was 66. Throughout his long career as Shady Lady he won pageant titles such as Miss Gay Texas US of A 1990 and Miss Texas Continental Plus. In 2015, Shady Lady was one of the Grand Marshals of San Antonio’s Pride Bigger Than Texas Parade.

RELATED LINKS

2018 In Review: A Year in the Life of LGBT SA

2018 In Review: Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions

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