Tarrant County kicks off 25th year of gay Pride

Posted on 01 Jun 2006 at 10:28pm
By B.J. Laray Contributing Writer

Events will feature parade on Sunday, picnic next weekend; coordinators focus on “‘diversity, balance’

The GLBT community in Tarrant County is holding its silver anniversary gay Pride celebration during June, with 25 years of support, education and diversity setting the stage for the festivities.

Gay Pride kicked off earlier this week with a few shows and events. But the main events are still to come, including the Pride parade on Sunday and the concluding Pride picnic on June 10.

Tony Coronado, president of the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association, said the county’s annual Pride party has “never been about sexuality but diversity. We try to maintain a balance in everything.”

“Our community here in Fort Worth is structured differently than others,” Coronado said. “We have gays, lesbian, transgenders, bisexuals, church organizations, club organizations and so on that make our gay Pride a success.”

The Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association works year-round to prepare for the two-week celebration each June, he said.

The schedule includes a pledge pageant system made up of five pageants Miss Rainbow Excellence, Miss Diva, Miss HoHoHo, Miss Cinco de Mayo and Miss Drag Race and fundraising for Pride week is part of the criteria on which contestants are judged, he said.

A year-round fundraising schedule and the work of the volunteers in the association are examples of the cooperative, community-oriented spirit of the county’s GLBT residents, Coronado said.

“Gay Pride together means more than “‘We’re here , we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere.’ We’re not that type of community. We are here to help, promote and celebrate each other,” he said.

That attitude has helped the association and Tarrant County Gay Pride Week survive when some other groups and events have not, Coronado said.
The Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association also thrives through cooperation with other communities and other organizations, Coronado continued.

“We do a whole week’s worth of events, and we have many people from surrounding cities and states wanting to come, give their support and join in on the fun,” he said.

“We also keep in contact with other Pride communities around the state, commend them on their organization and exchange ideas on enhancing our community,” Coronado said. “Our expectations are simple. We want people to come out and see who we are, what we’re about and just to celebrate and enjoy being who you are.”

The fifth annual Gay Pride Softball Tourney gets things rolling on Saturday. The tournament begins at 10 a.m. in Greenway Park and will wind up at about 2 p.m. The Rainbow Rally, presented by several local GLBT churches, will be held Saturday night at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvannia Ave., in Fort Worth. The rally’s start time was not fixed when this issue went to press.

The Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Sunday It will follow its usual route, starting at Broadway Baptist Church and moving south on Jennings Street.

Grand marshals this year are Dianne Dunivan, Kevin Dunne and Jason Bernard, who performs as Melody Lane. Area nightclubs get into the act following the parade. Gayfest will be held at The Stampede Club North 40, 621 Hemphill St. Pridefest is scheduled at Hot Shots, 651 S. Jennings St. More Pride festivities are planned at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave.
Award-winning parade entries will be announced at 4 p.m. at the Stampede Club.

The other bookend event for Tarrant County Gay Pride is the Pride Picnic, set for noon to 6 p.m. on June 10 at the 7th Street Pavilion in Trinity Park.
It will include music, contests, vendors, information booths, free food, free beverages, water slides, and areas for children and pets.

“Our picnic is famous in Texas,” said Coronado. “And if that’s what people know us for, that’s great. It means we’re well-known.”

For more information and a complete schedule of Fort Worth gay Pride events, visit www.tcgpwa.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 2, 2006.

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