Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011 Page: 12 of 48
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I Cooteil Men Cot Under $11,000
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Rodd Gray's drag alter ego,
Patti Le Plae Safe, has helped
raise hundreds of thousands of
dollars for AIDS and other causes
TAMMYENASH I Senior Editor
For 25 years now, Rodd Gray has lived a double
life: By day he is mild-mannered hair stylist Hott
Rodd the Hair God, but by night he transforms
into Patti Le Plae Safe, fundraising super hero.
OK, so Gray isn't really an undercover super
hero who slips into phone booths to change into
some blue tights and a red cape. And his drag alter
ego, Patti, doesn't have an invisible jet or a golden
But since he moved to Dallas 26 years ago, Gray
has made an indelible mark on the city's LGBT
community, as both Rodd and Patti.
Destined for Dallas
Gray was born in West Memphis* Ark., and
grew up on a farm in tiny Lonoke, Ark. But even
as a small child, he knew he was destined to live
"My mama used to tell the story about how she
would make me a peanut butter sandwich, and
put it in a bag. Then I would take that bag and get
on my tricycle and tell her I was leaving for Dal-
las," Gray said. "She would stand at the end of the
driveway and watch me — she watched me the
whole way—and I would pedal down to the end
of the lane. Then I'd hide behind the bushes and
eat my peanut butter sandwich."
After awhile, he said, little Rodd Gray would
pedal his tricycle back down the lane to his house,
where he would "make up some excuse, like, 'I
don't think the headlights would get me all the
way to Dallas in the dark. I'll just have to get up
real early in the morning and leave then.'"
He did, obviously eventually make his way to
Dallas. But it was a roundabout trip.
After graduating from Lonoke High in 1976, he
studied business at the University of Central
Arkansas, before heading to the University of
Maine Presque Isle where he studied computer
Gray ended up enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in
1979 where he worked as a computer program-
mer. When he got out, with the rank of staff ser-
geant, he stuck with what he knew and took a job
as a civilian employee computer programmer at
the Army base in Fort Hood, Texas.
But by 1985, Gray could no longer resist the
siren call of Big D. And in May of that year he took
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 17, Ed. 1 Friday, September 9, 2011, newspaper, September 9, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239184/m1/12/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.