Tarrant Pride parade a rousing success, organizers say

Spectators largely ignore anti-gay protestors; police arrest, ticket Kingdom Baptist members for disorderly conduct

FW-parade

ON MAIN STREET | The float carrying members of the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association makes its way down Main Street in downtown Fort Worth. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com
FORT WORTH — Organizers of the 30th annual Tarrant County Gay Pride celebration said this week that the events were a rousing success, despite the presence of a relatively small but loud contingent anti-gay protestors at the Oct. 1 Pride parade.

This year the parade was moved from its traditional three block route down South Jennings Street to a seven block stretch of Main Street in downtown Fort Worth. And Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association President Daune Littlefield said she was pleased by the number of spectators who turned out.

“I saw people lining both sides of the street for all seven blocks of the parade route,” Littlefield said. “I know there were definitely more people there than in previous years. I’d say we had maybe three times as many people at the parade as last year. We will definitely be bringing the parade back downtown again next year.”

Littlefield acknowledged that “there were a few glitches” in the parade and the street festival that followed on Main Street near the Fort Worth Convention Center. But she said, “I guess that was to be expected since this was our first year to hold the parade downtown. Next year, it will go even more smoothly.”

Although the Pride Week association had to raise more money to cover the higher costs of moving the parade downtown this year, Littlefield said organizers still came out ahead.

“Money-wise, it was a real success,” she said. “We paid for everything, and we still have money left over, seed money for next year’s event and money for the scholarship fund.

We made a commitment to the community in moving the parade and expanding our celebration that we would create this scholarship to give back to the community. And we will follow through on that commitment no matter what,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield also said that the annual Pride Picnic in Trinity Park — Tarrant County’s original Pride event and long considered its most popular and most successful Pride event — also went off “without a hitch.”

“We had more people there than last year. We usually have around 2,500 people at the parade and this year, I’d say we had at least 3,000,” Littlefield said. “The weather was fantastic and the event was just phenomenal. There was no ruckus, no problem anywhere.”

Littlefield said that she was pleased that spectators there for the parade for the most part ignored the anti-gay protestors, at least some of whom were reportedly with Kingdom Baptist Church, a small congregation out of Venus led by Pastor Joey Faust.

“I was on a float at the end of the parade, and as we moved down the parade route, the protestors kind of moved along with us, shouting nasty things through their bullhorn,” Littlefield said. “But we would just start cheering and yelling, and the crowd would cheer and yell with us to drown them out. I was really glad to see that everybody just ignored them and didn’t engage with them, for the most part.”

Faust and other Kingdom Baptist members also staged protests outside Fort Worth City Hall two years ago during a meeting  in which the City Council approved the addition of transgender protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Faust and his followers also confronted activists during demonstrations staged in Fort Worth by Queer LiberAction in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid.

And prior to the Pride parade, Faust sent an open letter, addressed to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, to area media outlets castigating Price for participating in the parade as one of three grand marshals.

At the end of the parade, the protestors — who had started out standing on Main Street near the Weatherford Street intersection where the parade started — moved down Main

Street to position themselves near the Convention Center in the area near where the street festival was being held. Using a bullhorn, the protestors continued to harangue festival attendees, at one point calling those attending the parade “wild dogs” and “wild animals” who were “parading their perversions in the street,” until Fort Worth police officers ordered them to leave.

Littlefield said she was told that three of the protestors were arrested and another 10 ticketed. But FWPD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Kellie Whitehead said that only two of the protestors were “cash bonded” for disorderly conduct because they were using offensive language over the bullhorns.

Being “cash bonded,” Whitehead explained, means that person arrested on a Class C misdemeanor offense has to pay a set fine, or a portion of that fine, before they are released.

She said her superiors instructed her not to release the names of those arrested, but Whitehead did say she believes those arrested were members of Kingdom Baptist.

Littlefield said she had heard complaints from several people who were upset that the protestors were allowed to stand at the edge of the street festival after the parade for so long — about an hour and a half, she estimated — and harass those attending the event before police forced them to move.

“That’s something we will talk to the police about for next year,” Littlefield said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Austin to hold gay Pride a week before Dallas in September, but QueerBomb goes off Friday

Austin’s official gay Pride celebration has been moved from June to September this year, but an alternative “take back Pride” event called QueerBomb, which began last year, is set for this Friday in the capital. The Austin American-Statesman reports:

For a celebration of liberation and love, the changes have provoked some animosity in the local gay and lesbian community, though Queerbomb, which held its first alternative celebration the night before Pride last year because it felt that Pride had become too mainstream, says the bad feelings were short-lived.

June historically is the month for Pride parades across the country to pay homage to the Stonewall Riots — violent New York protests prompted by a police raid at a popular gay bar on June 27, 1969, that mark the beginning of America’s gay liberation movement. Queerbomb will hold Austin’s sole June rally at 7p.m. Friday, Beth Schindler, a spokeswoman for the group said.

“People have talked about the battle between Queerbomb and Austin Pride, and that’s not something I want to keep alive because it’s not true anymore,” Schindler added. “The foundation has been very open to working with us, and I’m really optimistic about what they’re doing in September, and I think we’re going to try to support them in whatever way possible.”

Organizers say Austin’s official Pride celebration was moved to September in part because they want to hold the parade during the day instead of at night to avoid disrupting businesses along the route. (Presumably it’s too hot to hold the event during the day in June.) They also say moving Austin’s Pride to September will make it a destination event because it won’t compete with celebrations in other cities — except, of course, Dallas. Austin Pride is scheduled for Sept. 10, the weekend before Dallas Pride on Sept. 18. But hey, maybe some folks from out of state can just make a month of it.

—  John Wright

Laura Bush: It wasn’t my role to defend the gays

Laura Bush

Former first lady Laura Bush, who recently said she supports equality for same-sex couples, tells The Texas Tribune she didn’t speak out publicly about the issue while her husband was in office because she was not the elected official and it wasn’t her responsibility. In her recent book, Laura Bush said she asked George not to make gay marriage “a significant issue” and that she “could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead.” In the interview with the Tribune, she responds to criticism that she didn’t speak up publicly about the matter:

TT: … You found yourself back in the headlines not so long ago for taking positions on gay marriage and abortion that appeared to be at odds with your husband and with the GOP. What do you say to the critics who argue you had a responsibility to come forward sooner, or who suggest you maybe hid those opinions from view?

Bush: Well, I didn’t hide them from view. They were very well known from the first day George was elected, when Katie Couric asked me the question. I’m not elected. I was not elected. George is. He’s the one who’s elected. I was not the elected official. It was not my responsibility, I didn’t think, to speak out in ways to get in some sort of debate with him. I just didn’t see that as part of my role.

Apparently Bush still doesn’t see advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community as part of her role, because she ignored an invitation to attend Dallas’ gay Pride celebration this year. Meanwhile, despite her focus on education, Bush hasn’t said anything about the national teen bullying suicide crisis. Asked at the end of the TT interview about the governor’s race, Bush says, “Absolutely we’re supporting Gov. Perry.”

—  John Wright

Query • 09.17.10

Are you attending Pride this weekend?

……………………….


Ulises Santamaria
— “Yes! So excited! Looking for a dancing partner for Saturday night.”

Melanie Dickson — “Yes. I’ll be there with my girlfriend.”

Juan Soto — “Absolutely! Last year was a blast. It was my first gay Pride celebration. We need everyone to come out and support!”

Brian Steen — “I attend my own personal Pride every day.”

Pete Hubert — “Yep, I’m terrible about getting to things I want to do, but this is one event where we can show our love and support for each other.”

J.W. Tarin — “I am. I’ve marched for the past two years, so this year I’m just going to enjoy it with family and friends.”

……………………….

Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask?
E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay Pride events for Saturday

The parade and festival are only a day a way, and here’s a list of Pride-sanctioned events for Saturday from the Dallas Tavern Guild:

Gay Day @ Six Flags
Once again the “queer” community descends on the largest theme park in the Southwest for a day of food, fun, rides and community. This is a really special outing and should not be missed.
Six Flags Over Texas is located in Arlington, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth at the intersection of Interstate 30 and Highway 360 (Angus Wynne Jr. Freeway).
10:00 am until park closes.

A Gay-ther Homecoming Concert
This event brings together LGBT artists from all across the country for a night of gospel music. Concert will benefit programs of the Interfaith Peace Chapel. Celebrate with LGBT Musicians and Allies as they gather for an evening of Joy, Praise and Musical Memories.
Cathedral of Hope Sanctuary
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
8:00 pm
Tickets: $15
For more information or tickets, go to: www.cathedralofhope.com

Gay Bingo at The Rose Room
“Gay Bingo Glam” Fierce, Fiery and Fashionable
One of the highlights of Pride Week is Gay Bingo. Lots of guest stars, surprises, great prizes and loads of laughs with Jenna Skyy and her cohorts. Reserve your tickets early because this one is always sold out well in advance of the date.
The Rose Room @ Station 4
3911 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
Doors open @ 5:00 pm Bingo starts @ 6:00 pm
www.resourcecenterdallas.org

Gay Pride Celebration Party
Round up Saloon
Open at noon with Drink Specials all day
3912 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
www.roundupsaloon.com

The Annual “High Drag” Ball
It’s not a “Stonewall Riot” but it will be a “fashion and laugh riot” as the gang gathers to model, perform and raise money for charity.
Barbara’s Pavilion
315 Centre Street
Dallas, TX 75208
http://www.myspace.com/oakcliffpav

‘EQUINOX’ – A Celebration of Dallas Pride
The Brick/Joe’s
Featuring superstar DJ/Producer Chris Cox
Doors open at 9pm. Dance ‘til 4am.
Advance $15 tickets on sale.
2525 Wycliff
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.brickdallas.com

Pride Night Karaoke, hosted by Totally Twisted Karaoke
Pekers
Our Saturday night is filled with “Pride” as we sing karaoke and pay tribute to all the great music that made the GLBT community sing and dance through the years.
2615 Oaklawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
www.pekersbar.com

Hot Music Night at Exklusive
Exklusive
Come and enjoy the best top 80′s, 90′s / top 40 music mixed by DJ Style
Strippers starting at midnight (12am)
Drink Specials – $2 wells / $2 domestic from 9pm – 10pm
No cover
4207 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.exklusive.tv

Glow Pride Party & Glow Dance
Dallas Eagle
10:00 pm
5740 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75235
www.dallaseagle.com

Dance Night @ Kaliente
Kaliente
Come and enjoy the best Latino and top 40 music mixed by DJ Puma
Drink Specials – $2 wells / $2 domestic from 9pm – 10pm
No cover 9pm – 11pm
4350 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219
www.kaliente.cc

Hear our Pride sponsored by the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc.
Radisson Hotel and Suites, Mockingbird (off of I-35)
Dinner with entertainment provided by renowned comedian, Paul J. Williams. Tyler McCormick, International Mr. Leather 2010 is our special guest. The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to raise funds to provide hearing aids for hearing-impaired individuals and provide grants to organizations for ASL interpreting services for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
45 – Individual Tickets or $100 for VIP Tickets
7 p.m. until 10 p.m.
More information can be found at www.SSCFund.com



—  John Wright

Atlanta police investigate fatal shooting of gay nightclub owner, black Pride organizer

Associated Press

ATLANTA —Police are investigating the shooting death of the co-owner of a popular gay nightclub.

Authorities say 50-year-old Durand Robinson was found shot dead in the middle of an Atlanta street early Wednesday, Aug. 25 following a possible carjacking. Robinson was co-owner of the gay nightclub Traxx and an organizer of the city’s black gay pride celebration.

Atlanta Police spokesman Carlos Campos says Thursday officers are “pursuing all possibilities at this time.” He said authorities have reached no conclusion “whether his sexual orientation or involvement in the gay community played a role in his shooting death.”

Witnesses tell Atlanta police he had gotten into an argument with someone just before shots rang out. Friends say they believe he may have been the victim of an attempted carjacking, but police say they don’t have a motive or suspect.

—  John Wright

Picking apart today’s press release on Dallas Pride from the Convention and Visitors Bureau

OK, so I shouldn’t criticize. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau means well. They want to attract people to Dallas. They want to attract gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people to Dallas. I’m just not sure they’re really comfortable with that idea. From the press release DCVB sent out today:

DALLAS (July 15, 2010) – The Dallas lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is gearing up for the city’s 27th annual gay pride celebration. This year’s theme, “One Heart, One World, One Pride”, will highlight the direction of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and subsequent Pride Festival at Lee Park on September 19, 2010.

Hmmm. Well, if the LGBT community is your audience, you don’t really have to explain to them what LGBT means.

“Dallas appreciates and celebrates its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, and September is the perfect time for visitors to enjoy one of the nation’s largest pride parades and the many other festivities throughout the weekend,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If only that were more true, but good quote.

Dallas Pride weekend offers numerous events across the city. The highlight of the weekend is the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Now in its 27th year, the parade is expecting to include nearly 2,000 marching participants and draw more than 40,000 spectators from across the nation and around the world. Immediately following the parade will be the Pride Festival at Lee Park. For more information and a schedule of events, please visit www.dallasprideparade.com.

Not held when anyone else holds Pride, so if you didn’t get your fill in your own hometown, come to ours. We celebrate in September to commemorate our own history, not to celebrate something that happened in New York City. Also, it’s a little cooler then.

Like many gay pride celebrations, Dallas Pride roots back to the late 70s when up to 300 men and women marched through downtown Dallas waving flags and shouting gay rights slogans. The Dallas Tavern Guild adopted the parade from volunteers in 1982 and named it the Texas Freedom Parade in 1983. The organization remains committed to making the celebration grow each year.

This year, grand marshals of the Parade will include Erin Moore, known for her work with the Dallas Young Democrats organization, and Paul Lewis, the long-time organizer of the Parade who also worked with Alan Ross for many years.

Oops. Dallas Young Democrats? Erin? Young?

Beautiful and sexy, maybe. But shouldn’t that read Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, one of the largest Democratic groups in North Texas? But she’s better known for her work forcing the city and many of its agencies to write equality into their non-discrimination policies. But I understand. “Erin Moore, known for forcing equality down the throats of often unwilling agencies,” just doesn’t have that press release ring to it.

Lewis is also loved in the community for heading the PWA Holiday Gift Project. And served on the board of OLCS and threw Daire Center dinners. Just wanted to mention. He’s done a lot. His commitment to the community is more than a once-a-year parade thing. But they’re right. He coordinated it for years.

Just as it has for the past 27 years, the Parade will begin at Wycliff Avenue at 2 p.m. and march down Cedar Springs Road to Robert E. Lee Park.  The celebration will continue with a festival that includes vendor booths, live music performances and more.

For more information on Dallas’ LGBT community and to book a trip to Dallas, complete with a customized itinerary, visit www.glbtdallas.com.

Nice. OK, so maybe if I were writing the press release, I would have included a quote from a gay person. I might have mentioned something about the entertainment or a lesbian venue or something the transgender community is planning.

And I wouldn’t have been afraid to mention that all these activities take place in Oak Lawn. I know part of Oak Lawn was renamed “Uptown” by developers and real estate people to dissociate all that new development from the queers. (Look at a city plat — there’s no such thing as “Uptown.” Up to the corner of Central and Fitzhugh is Oak Lawn.) But when your intended audience is LGBT, not mentioning Oak Lawn is kind of odd.

And unfortunately, glbtdallas.com doesn’t really give much information on the LGBT community of Dallas. No links to community businesses other than bars. Art galleries are listed, but no list of gay- and lesbian-owned galleries. No list of LGBT-owned restaurants and stores. No link to the city’s award-winning LGBT newspaper.

But no one asked me.

—  David Taffet