The Waco Bride

The Waco Bride

On April 11, 1953, several men gathered for a wedding. This wedding resulted in the arrest of over 60 men. Vows were never exchanged.

Tommy Gene Brown was arrested with the rest of them, dressed in drag, wearing a traditional, white wedding dress. Unknowingly, Waco history was made this day.

The Waco Citizen printed a front page story of the whole ordeal, including the full names of those arrested. This was a time when discrimination against our community was the norm, and surely most, if not all of those who attended the wedding lost pieces of their lives that day.

Tommy Gene Brown, also known as Shirley, went on to lead a wonderful life outside of Texas. She became the third Empress of the Imperial Court of San Francisco, an organization that raises money for charitable causes mostly through drag.


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