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

Dropping a QueerBomb on Austin Gay Pride

Many North Texans will undoubtedly be heading south to Austin this weekend for our capital city’s Pride celebration. But before you head out, you may just want to read up on some major drama that’s apparently going on behind the scenes.

In fact, things are so bad that it looks like a group called QueerBomb! is staging an alternative to Pride. An alternative to Pride? Blasphemy!

QueerBomb! calls itself “a flash force assembly of LGBTQIA individuals.” And the group alleges that “the strategy and structure of Austin Pride” is “non-inclusive, capitalist, heteronormative, safe and unchallenging.” (Seriously, though, since when would we have our Pride any other way?)

The Austin Chronicle reports that the controversy all started after the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce  took over sole responsibility for Pride last year, setting up the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation. Despite a successful event in 2009, the chamber abruptly ousted its president and replaced him with Chad Peevy. Peevy, who now serves as both president of the chamber and chairman of the Pride Foundation board, also happens to own the company that is promoting pride. Conflict of interest? You decide.

But it doesn’t end there. According to the Chronicle, the Pride Foundation revoked an invitation to local performer Nakia after Nakia also booked a separate gig at a QueerBomb!-affiliated event on Saturday night. The Pride Foundation also turned down Sandra Bernhard because, according to Peavy, she’s “too vulgar for a family-friendly event.”

Finally, and this is by far the most shocking allegation of all, the HIV/AIDS charity Project Transitions wanted to bring one of its long-running galas under the Austin Pride umbrella. But Austin Pride allegedly told Project Transitions no because the charity couldn’t pay enough. What???

Needless to say, none of this exactly makes us proud — unless you mean proud to live in Dallas.

—  John Wright