Our Beloved Saints
A Saint is a layperson whose life and accomplishments are in keeping with the Order’s philosophy and mission. They have gone above and beyond in their service to the community.
Saint Aequalis, Protector of the Community
Rafael McDonnell is the Communications and Advocacy Manager for Resource Center, the LGBTQ community center serving North Texas. At the Center, he works on external communications as well as education, advocacy and policy issues involving the LGBTQA community. Since June 2010, he has successfully participated in or led community advocacy for new or expanded LGBTQ employment protections for over 50,000 public sector employees in North Texas, as well as partner benefits at both Dallas County and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
McDonnell has also worked on and advocated for anti-bullying and non-discrimination policies covering more than a quarter-million students at Dallas ISD, Dallas County Community Colleges and Uplift Education. He was chosen to be the one of the grand marshals for the 2014 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, better known as the Dallas Pride Parade. In March 2015, he was named “Best LGBT Community Leader” by the readers of the Dallas Voice. In June 2016, he was among six people recognized by the City of Dallas’ LGBTQ Task Force with the Spirit of Equality Leadership Award as part of their work with “Take Back Oak Lawn,” a grassroots effort to improve safety and security in the Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs area following a wave of attacks in late 2015. In 2017, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Extra Mile Community Service Award and the Dallas Tavern Guild recognized him with their annual Humanitarian Award. The Texas Diversity Council honored McDonnell with their Greater Dallas LGBT-Allies Leadership Award in 2018.
McDonnell has conducted presentations on non-discrimination and other LGBTQ issues at the Texas Transgender Non-Discrimination Summit, the Texas Gay-Straight Alliance, the Equality Texas’ State of the State Public Policy Conference, the Stonewall Democrats of Texas annual meeting, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference among others.