The Dallas City Council and the city of Dallas officially proclaimed June Dallas’ LGBT Pride Month at a Pride kick-off event Wednesday.
About 80 people gathered in the Flag Room on the sixth floor of City Hall to hear council members speak about the LGBT community and the pride the city shares with them in the month of June.
Last year marked the first time Dallas held a reception recognizing LGBT Pride month, holding a one-day gathering for officials and community members to celebrate the city’s diversity.
This year a series of events will offer something every Wednesday in June, highlighting the importance of different accomplishments of the city’s LGBT community.
Councilwoman Delia Jasso spoke at the kick-off first and addressed the success of her LGBT Task Force, which she said has accomplished a lot in the three years since it formed. She said it has helped the Dallas police install a full-time LGBT liaison officer, worked on implementing LGBT sensitivity training for Dallas Fire-Rescue, and reviewed the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance complaints with a goal of helping improve the process.
“Perhaps the most significant accomplishment for the city is the embracing of the LGBT community.” Jasso said. “Not only do we embrace the LGBT community but we also celebrate and most especially this month.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings could not attend the kick-off because he was at a funeral, but he prepared a video message for the audience to view.
“Dallas is a city that really celebrates its diversity,” Rawlings said in the video. “I think it’s what makes us strong, it’s what makes us growing, it’s interesting. It’s a lot more fun. I think one of the strongest — strongest — communities we that have in all the diversity, a rainbow if you will, is the LGBT community.
“Thank you. I want to say, personally, thank you, for the coaching, the dialogue and the support that you’ve given me as my time as mayor,” Rawlings said. “I think we agree on so much. Sometimes we haven’t agreed. But you’ve stayed steadfast, talked about the issues that are important to you and treated me with a real honor and respect. Your style, your character, it’s truly something to be proud of. I love the way you advocate for your issues. I’m proud just to have you in Dallas.”
Rawlings also said he was proud to have the Pride flag in the Flag Room among the flags of the world for the entire month of June. A Pride flag also hangs in over a railing in the first-floor atrium of City Hall.
Council members who attended Wednesday’s kickoff were Jasso, Angela Hunt, Jerry Allen, Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, Scott Griggs, Linda Koop, Monica Alonzo, Carolyn Davis. Other prominent city officials in attendance included City Manager Mary Suhm and Fire-Rescue Chief Louie Bright.
Hunt and Medrano also spoke briefly, along with task force members Omar Narvaez, Cd Kirven, Bright and Carter Brown, founder of Black TransMen, Inc.
Task force members read the proclamation that declared June LGBT Pride month in Dallas before the close of the event. (Watch the reading below.)
The Turtle Creek Chorale provided musical entertainment, singing “God Bless America” at the beginning of the kick-off and closed the gathering with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Look for an in-depth story about the Pride events in Friday’s Dallas Voice.
More photos and video below.