By Ben Briscoe

While most Pride events don’t start until June 13, Equality Texas is kicking off the celebration a littler earlier with the Sunrise Brunch on June 8.

The event, usually held the second Sunday of June, always has a more serious focus than normal Pride activities.

"It’s basically a way of honoring Pride month with a political event," said Marianne DeLeon of Equality Texas.

Chuck Wolfe, the president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, has signed on as keynote speaker. He is expected to talk about advocacy and activism in the LGBT community and the role of his organization in the movement.

The Victory Fund helps LGBT people get elected to public office.

The event is in Austin, but DeLeon says it’s worth the drive.

"If you want to get up to the date information on advocacy efforts for GLBT in Texas, this is the event to come to," she said.

Tickets are on sale for $50, and sponsorships start at $250. For more information call DeLeon at 512-474-5475.

Austin’s Pride Texas Festival is set for Saturday, June 14, from noon to 7 p.m. at Auditorium Shores, with Meshell Ndegeocello as the headlining performer.

Other scheduled performers include Pansy Division, a founding band of the queercore genre, and Los Bad Apples, a new hip-hop Latin fusion group, which recently opened for Ludacris during an exclusive SXSW party in Austin.

This is the first year that the Pride Festival and the Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Pride Parade will be coordinated to occur on the same day. The theme for both organizations is “Building CommUNITY."

The title sponsor for the Pride Texas Festival is Time Warner Cable. Pride Texas Festival will feature more than 150 vendors representing restaurants, organizations, businesses and nonprofit organizations from across the state.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 16, 2008.

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