Organizers of this weekend’s Teen Pride have taken steps to keep protesters from disrupting the event. Police are working with event organizers to keep protesters off church property. And a group called Stand With Dallas Queer Youth has issued a call for volunteers to create a “human wall” to block the protesters from view as teens arrive for the event.
Protesters have threatened to show up at the event and Robinson is worried that even if it’s only a few, they could upset some of the youth who are participating.
“To combat the protesters, Real Live Connection has taken several measures to ensure the safety of our youth,” Robinson said.
Additional security will be present. The Dallas Police Department’s LGBT liaison Officer Laura Martin said she plans to be there herself to make sure the teens remain safe.
Robinson asked those attending to enter through the Ford dealership on Inwood Road. Cut through to the back parking lot, which connects to Cathedral’s parking lot. She said to avoid Nash Street, which is where the protesters will be.
To keep the event private, other measures will be taken.
“The event will be fenced and sheets will be used to create a barrier of protection,” Robinson said.
Stand With Dallas Queer Youth Facebook page is asking for volunteers to arrive at Cathedral of Hope at noon Saturday. “Bring signs supporting queer youth, rainbow flags, noise makers, music, musical instruments, your friends, loves, families and (most importantly) bring a ton of LOVE.” the Facebook event page says.
Activist Daniel Scott Cates, helping organize the counter-measure, warned that the group planning to protest is “particularly nasty,” and that the preacher leading the group is known to use especially hateful language to try to goad people into physical confrontations. “Please do NOT engage the meanies,” Cates said on Facebook. “We will remain peaceful and have our fun with our backs to the ugliness.”
Many of the teens attending are not used to police being there to protect them and view police with some suspicion, but the police who will be there know the LGBT community. Martin wants them to understand they’ll be containing the protesters to a small area on Nash Street and the teens should enjoy their event.
“What would peace be without protest and love without hate?” Robinson said. “Expect a balance at this year’s Teen Pride event.”