Denton Stonewall group to sponsor gay Pride celebration

Posted on 18 Jun 2009 at 7:43pm
By John Wright News Editor

Stonewall president hopes to make Denton Pride an annual event

DENTON COUNTY GAY PRIDE
FRIDAY: June 26, 7:30 to 9 p.m., Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair, 1125 E. University Drive
SATURDAY: June 27, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Bell Ave.
SUNDAY: June 28, 2 p.m., Million Gay March, Dallas
INFORMATION: StonewallDemocratsofDentonCounty.org or e-mail info@stonewalldemocratsofdentoncounty.org.

For the first time in recent memory, the Denton LGBT community will host a Gay Pride of its own next weekend.

Denton County Gay Pride, sponsored by Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, will begin with a mixer Friday night, June 26 at the city’s only gay bar, Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair. The mixer will be followed on Saturday by an awards presentation, movie screening and panel discussion at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Denton.

Then, on Sunday, June 28, Denton Gay Pride participants will travel to Dallas for the Million Gay March of Texas, an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.

John McClelland, who lives near Little Elm and is president of the two-year-old Stonewall Democrats chapter, said he’s hoping Gay Pride will become an annual event for the city and county. Co-sponsored by Stonewall Democrats of Collin County, McClelland said the main goal of the celebration is increased visibility for the LGBT community in the northern suburbs of Dallas.

"It’s letting people know that we’re here and this is what we want to accomplish," McClelland said. "I think a lot of gay people who’ve moved to the northern ‘burbs seem to get a little complacent, just having your picket fence and your house, and you kind of lose sight of what we need to work to accomplish for equality in Texas, and I hope events like this will help people come out of their shell a little bit."

Kelly Sanders, the longtime owner of Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor and Chainsaw Repair, said she’s excited about the upcoming Denton County Gay Pride and has been frustrated by apathy in the local LGBT community in recent years. .

"I think it’s about stinking time somebody started giving a shit again," Sanders said. "It just makes me wonder where the interest has been."

Sanders added that the bar has been doing well in its new location since reopening last year after burning down at the hands of arsonists in 2007.

But even though Denton has a gay bar and a major university, the University of North Texas, many LGBT people have grown accustomed to driving back and forth to Dallas, Sanders and others said. They added that this habit likely has prevented Denton from developing a stronger LGBT community of its own.

Last November, about 100 people turned out for an LGBT equality rally outside Denton City Hall, and since then the community seems to be reinvigorated.

Eloy Machuca, who lives in Flower Mound and serves as vice president of the Stonewall chapter, said he hopes Gay Pride will unite local LGBT groups and pave the way for a parade in future years.

"If we’re going to start, let’s start here with the [Stonewall] anniversary and make it an event every year, and I’m really kind of excited about how much response we’re getting," Machuca said. "I would love to see a parade in Denton. You can’t just say, ‘Hey, we’re all going to march.’ I think this is a way to get these different groups together and get them to know each other."

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 19, 2009.

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