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FRED PÁEZ, ACTIVIST

Fred Páez attended a Gay Activist Alliance meeting at the University of Houston in 1975 under the guise of research for the Daily Cougar. Within a week he was out as a gay man and creating publications for the LGBT community. He became dedicated to the service of LGBT pride and dignity. He was a organizer of Houston Town Meeting I and the Houston Human Rights League, and was part-time secretary of the Gay Political Caucus.

Páez aspired to be a police officer in an era when it was not an option for a gay man. He helped organize the Montrose Patrol and published an educational brochure on how to behave during a police encounter. He documented cases of police officers that were prejudiced against the gay community to send to the Justice Department.

His involvement with police department investigations began when he showed up at the police station with evidence from a gay homicide. This allowed him participation in future investigations involving the gay community. He collaborated with a detective keeping him informed of his investigations.

On December 20, 1976, Páez went to gather evidence after hearing a police officer had killed a bartender. The victim, Gary Wayne Stock, a manager at
the club Inside Outside, had been shot by Officer C.V. Hudson; the only witness was his partner L.L. Fulgram. Páez obtained the autopsy and police reports, but they did not match. He re-assembled the pieces to determine the real story.

In the early morning hours of the day of the Pride Parade 1980, police officer Kevin McCoy shot Páez in the back of the head. He claimed Páez was resisting arrest, causing the gun to discharge. The first person to arrive at the scene was Sgt. L.L. Fulgram.

The murder cast a pall of anger and grief on the parade-many participants wore black armbands. The Fred Páez Task Force was created to prevent a police cover-up and pressured for a grand jury indictment. The Fred Páez Candlelight March for Justice was held July 22 with 1,000 people marching from City Hall to Houston Police Department headquarters.

In October 1980, McCoy was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a class "C" misdemeanor. In September of 1981, he was acquitted. Páez's family did not seek justice for his death; and they chose to dispose of his property. As a result the community lost not only a vital leader but also the photographs, diaries and documents related his work.

Link to Fred Páez Obituary with additional information
Link to Gary Wayne Stock obituary

          

In the Doonesbury comic strip in February 1976, Andy Lippincott, a classmate of law school student Joanie Caucus, told her that he was gay. Dozens of papers opted not to publish the storyline, with Miami Herald editor Larry Jinks saying, "We just decided we weren't ready for homosexuality in a comic strip." When the Houston Post opted not to run the series, Fred Páez sent press releases announcing that the Gay Activists Alliance would make it available. The controversy was covered every day for two weeks by television and radio news, helping Doonesbury to reach an even broader audience than ever before.