Photo courtesy of The Dallas Way

Bill Nelson refused to go in the closet for Dallas ISD.

Nelson was a teacher and coach at W.T. White High School in 1979 when a Dallas newspaper printed a photo of him at a “gay rights rally” in what was then called Lee Park.

The district wanted to punish him after a student complained, but he stood up to them, and the ordeal inspired him to become a leader in the gay-rights movement in Dallas.

He was a founder of the Foundation for Human Understanding, which is now the Resource Center Dallas. As president of the Dallas Gay Alliance from 1983-1987, he helped establish the first gay and lesbian community center storefront on Cedar Springs. It is now the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic. And he was an early activist during the AIDS crisis, organizing services like food, clothing and financial assistance.

He died of HIV-related illness in 1990.

It’s June 1. Happy Pride month, Preston Hollow.

Bill Nelson’s story is thanks to the Dallas Way, which has a robust archive of oral-histories around LGBTQIA history in Dallas.

Preston Hollow has several other touchstone moments in history as well.

The first legal same-sex marriage in Dallas was between Jack Evans and George Harris at Northaven United Methodist Church.

And Preston Hollow resident Laura Miller is considered the first gay-friendly Mayor of Dallas.


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