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Remembering Nickie Valdez, Pioneering San Antonio LGBTQ Activist

April 15, 2021

For sixty years, Nickie Valdez served San Antonio’s LGBTQ community as an ardent activist. As early as the 1960s, Valdez worked to secure equal rights for gay women and men. She served on the board of the San Antonio Gay Alliance (SAGA), San Antonio Lesbian Gay Assembly (SALGA), San Antonio Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus, and was instrumental in the formation Dignity/San Antonio in 1976. Dignity was founded to accommodate lesbian and gay members of the Catholic church.

Nickie would sit on the steps of her local parish church, making herself available for gay and lesbian people who may have felt excluded by the church. She spoke with leaders of the many religious communities in the San Antonio area, urging them to include LGBT people in their outreach and ministries.[1]

Articles and photos about Valdez’s activism frequently appeared in local LGBT publications.

Nickie’s life partner, Deb Meyers shared Valdez’s passion for advocacy. Together they participated in social justice events and were leaders of DignityUSA’s Couple Ministry and Committee for Women’s concerns.[2]

The couple met in 1985 and were formally married in June of 2015. I had the opportunity to meet Nickie and Deb in 2017 when I gave a presentation at First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Antonio. I spoke about the importance of preserving our individual and collective histories and participants at the event brought their personal archives to share with the group. I spoke at length with Deb and Nickie and had the privilege of viewing some of materials they had collected over their decades together.

Nickie Valdez passed away on December 25, 2020 with her spouse of 35 years by her side. She may be physically departed from her beloved San Antonio LGBTQ community, but her legacy will be remembered for decades to come.

[1] “Nickie Valdez, Pioneering Catholic Lesbian Advocate, Dies on Christmas Day,” [https://www.dignityusa.org/news/nickie-valdez-pioneering-catholic-lesbian-advocate-dies-christmas-day], retrieved on April 15, 2021.

[2] Ibid.

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