Dennis Medina Collection of Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos (GLHU) Records, 1979-1991
The Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos (GLHU) was a social, cultural, and educational organization dedicated to uniting and serving gay and lesbian Hispanics in Houston, Texas. The group was active from 1978 until the mid-1990s and was known as the Gay Chicano Caucus (1978) and the Gay Hispanic Caucus (1979-1985) before becoming the Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos to reflect a shift from political action toward social, cultural, and educational causes.
The Gay Chicano Caucus formed in 1978 as a result of Town Meeting I, the first gay and lesbian community meeting in Houston. Realizing that Latinos lacked a voice within the larger gay and lesbian community, the group came together and soon changed their name to Gay Hispanic Caucus (GHC) to be more inclusive. The Gay Hispanic Caucus joined other gay and lesbian organizations at the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 14, 1979. GHC began circulating a regular newsletter to its membership in April 1981, which became Noticias, or Noticias del Gay Hispanic Caucus, by December 1982. Due to funding concerns, publication varied between bi-monthly, monthly, and quarterly, and editors included Dennis Medina (1981-1985), Jose L. Perez (1985-1987), Gilberto A. Guerrero (1988), and Valentine Rodela Jr. (1989-1991). As the group began to shift its focus to social, cultural, and educational events, including potlucks and dances, the name of the organization was changed to Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos in 1985.
On July 28, 1987, GLHU became incorporated, and at the time was the largest gay and lesbian Hispanic organization in Texas, and the third largest in the United States. Later that year, GLHU participated in the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. While the committee structure changed through the years, prominent committees included AMIGA, Baile, Communications, Cultural, Education, Fund Raising, Membership, and Political Action. AMIGA, or All Mujeres Interested in Getting Active, was a social committee for female GLHU members that eventually became an independent group with the departure of President Linda Morales in 1988. The most prominent GLHU event was the annual BAILE, a traditional Tejano dance, held at the end of Houston’s Gay Pride Week in June. BAILE, alternatively referred to as Fiesta, drew over 1,000 attendees in the late 1980s. The Mr. and Ms. BAILE Pageant, first held in 1987, became a popular accompanying event in May of each year. The Baile Committee of GLHU also planned Baile Año Nuevo to celebrate the New Year, and Baile de Amor for Valentine’s Day, although these events were not held as regularly as the Gay Pride Week Baile. The Education Committee was also very active, disseminating information about AIDS and safe sex and planning bilingual workshops to reach the Hispanic community with critical health information.
With the Gay Hispanic Coalition of Dallas (later Gay and Lesbian Hispanics of Dallas) and the Austin Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (ALLGO), GLHU founded Gay and Lesbian Tejanos (GLT) in 1986. GLT operated as an umbrella organization for Texas gay and lesbian Hispanic groups. Other groups involved in GLT included the San Antonio Gay and Lesbian Hispanic Conference Committee (later AMBIENTE) and the Lesbiana Latina Retreat Committee. GLT held conferences in 1986 and 1987, in Houston and Austin respectively. GLHU hosted the first conference in August 1986, which was organized by GLHU member Jose L. Perez and was attended by over 50 individuals. The second conference, hosted by ALLGO, took place in September 1987 with 72 participants. The organization became less active after 1988.
The donor of this collection, Dennis Glen Medina (1955- ), was active in GLHU from 1979 to 1985, serving as chair from 1981 to 1984 and as editor of Noticias from its inception in 1981 until June 1985. Originally from La Joya, Texas, he relocated to Austin in the fall of 1985 to attend the University of Texas at Austin for graduate school. Upon moving to Austin, Medina became involved with the Austin Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (ALLGO), serving as an early editor of the newsletter and later as ALLGO representative to the Gay and Lesbian Tejanos. After receiving Master’s degrees in Library and Information Science and History, he moved to San Antonio and worked as Special Collections Librarian at the University of Texas at San Antonio and an adjunct instructor in history at various schools in the area. Medina was also involved with the Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (LLEGO), a national nonprofit organization, headquartered in Washington, D. C., that was formed during the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. LLEGO was known as National Latino Lesbian and Gay Activists (NLLGA) until 1988.
Other prominent members of GLHU featured in the collection include Gilberto A. Guerrero and Jose L. Perez. Gilberto A. Guerrero (1955-1989), also known as Gilbert, was an active member of GLHU from 1983 until his death on January 1, 1989. He served as the Education Committee Chair (1986-1987), Treasurer (1987-1988), and editor of Noticias (1988). He also acted as the GLHU representative to the Gay and Lesbian Tejanos. Born in Rio Grande City, Texas, Guerrero attended Texas A&M University in Kingsville and the University of Houston before working at a law firm in Houston. His death was acknowledged with a dedicated issue of Noticias in 1989. Jose L. Perez, also known as Joe, became associated with GLHU in 1983 and was active until 1989. He was editor of Noticias (July 1985-December 1987), chair of the Communications Committee, an involved member of the Education Committee, and the conference organizer for the first GLT Conference in 1986. Outside of GLHU, Perez studied Business Administration at the University of Houston and worked at a major gas pipeline in downtown Houston.
This collection contains minutes, agendas, memoranda, newsletters, correspondence, pamphlets, clippings, forms, cards, flyers, announcements, planning documents, scorecards, notes, invoices, check registers, balance sheets, and receipts documenting the history and activities of the Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos (GLHU), active in Houston, Texas from 1979 until the mid-1990s. The collection ranges from 1979 to 1991, with a bulk of the materials dating between 1985 and 1989, the period during which members Gilberto A. Guerrero and Jose L. Perez were actively involved in the organization. While GLHU existed as an organization until the mid-1990s, the materials in this collection end in 1991. The records are arranged into seven series.
Series one, Administrative Records, is the most extensive series of the collection. Materials include memoranda, correspondence, organization profiles, policies, bylaws, press releases, blank stationery, minutes, agendas, and financial reports. Some documents refer to internal disputes between members regarding the direction of GLHU, which culminated with the resignation of President Linda Morales in 1988. The series is divided into three subseries: General Materials, Meeting Files, and Board Member Files. The Board Member Files subseries contains materials collected by individual board members who were involved with GLHU during the second half of the 1980s. Gilberto A. Guerrero’s files make up the bulk of this subseries and are kept separate according to the groupings in which they arrived, despite overlapping dates. Jose L. Perez’s files mostly consist of personal writings, in addition to committee files and correspondence.
Series two, Activities, includes committee planning documents, correspondence, reports, notes, flyers, scorecards, and minutes relating to activities and programs of GLHU. The series is divided into six subseries: BAILE, Education, History Project, Mary’s Cinco de Mayo Ad, Strategy Day, and Various Activities. The BAILE and Education subseries relate to activities of those committees in planning events such as the annual BAILE and safe sex workshops. The History Project was an internal effort to document GLHU’s history, and materials in this subseries may be duplicated elsewhere in the collection. Items gathered for the project were marked as such when received in three forms: a binder, loose items with numbered stickers, and photocopies. The Mary’s Cinco de Mayo Ad subseries relates to materials generated and collected by GLHU regarding a controversial advertisement in the Montrose Voice in 1988. The Strategy Day subseries and file consist of items in a folder used at GLHU’s workshop to discuss the direction of the organization. The Various Activities subseries contains flyers and advertisements for other events sponsored by GLHU.
Series three, Noticias Newsletter, mostly consists of copies of the Noticias newsletter sent to GLHU members. While Noticias was published until at least 1995, these files only cover the period from 1982 until 1991. One file at the end of the series contains materials relating to publication and distribution of the newsletter, including mock-ups, subscription forms, and drafts of articles.
Series four, Financial Records, includes receipts, invoices, check registers, and balance sheets related to GLHU activities. Most of these records were likely collected by Gilberto A. Guerrero, who served as treasurer from 1987-1988.
Series five, Related Organizations, contains pamphlets, correspondence, proposals, and meeting minutes from organizations with whom GLHU was partnered or closely allied. This series contains four subseries based on organization: Aids Foundation Houston, Inc. (AFH), Austin Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (ALLGO), Gay and Lesbian Tejanos (GLT), and Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization (LLEGO).
Series six, Collected Materials, consists of pamphlets, flyers, booklets, and bylaws sent to or gathered by GLHU. Records are organized by group, when known, or by subject and include materials relating to AIDS education, lesbian and gay organizations, and Hispanic groups.
Series seven, Oversize Materials, contains posters and clippings related to the GLHU History Project, as well as publications collected by Gilberto Guerrero and GLHU, such as Montrose Voice (formerly Montrose Star), Upfront America, Gaypulse, Condom Sense, Información, Lambda Rising Book Report, and The Lesbian News.
Some materials may be restricted due to privacy concerns.
Standard copyright restrictions apply.
Cite as: Dennis Medina Collection of Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos Records, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.
Box and Folder Inventory