This collection contains materials on topics including legislation information on LGBT court cases and laws, HIV/AIDS, LGBT groups and lobbies, and everyday life for the LGBT community. This collection contains correspondence, financial documentation, handbooks, legal proceedings, membership information, news releases, newspaper clippings, notes, press releases, and transcripts of interviews.
Dennis Vercher III was born in Orange, Texas on January 29, 1953. He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and became an adjunct instructor in the Lamar communications department while directing the university’s debate team for three years. He then went on to become a radio journalist until he moved to Dallas, Texas in 1981 with his life partner, J. Farron Campbell. He joined the Dallas Voice, a newspaper for the gay community in the Dallas area, in 1985 as a typographer and graphic artist. A year later he was promoted to editor and was the editor from 1986-2006.
He wrote countless stories covering HIV/AIDS issues during the height of the epidemic, important legislations such as battles over non-discrimination ordinances and sodomy laws, and everyday life for the LGBT community. He was also prominently featured on a locally produced public television special about Dallas’ LGBT communities called “Finding Our Voice.” In 1987, Vercher tested positive for AIDS. In 1990 he received a Board of Directors award from the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.
He was also a longtime member of the Society for Louisiana Irises and edited the organization’s newsletter alongside Campbell. In 1996, he won the society’s Service Award for his work in producing a special publication devoted to modern Louisiana iris hybrids. He served as president of the Texas chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association from 1999 to 2002. In 2002, he received a Shining Star Award from the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. In 2006, he was honored by the Dallas Tavern Guild, a non-profit association of LGBT bars and night clubs that produces annual events such as the Allan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and Festival in Lee Park, for his contributions to the local community. Vercher died on September 27, 2006 from an HIV/AIDS-related illness, being one of the longest-term HIV survivors in Dallas County.