As a number of events moved to October this year, Fort Worth will celebrate Pride Month beginning with the parade this weekend


STRAIGHT BUT NOT NARROW | A Fort Worth PFLAG group marches in the Tarrant County parade last year. Straight allies are the fastest-growing group of parade entries this year. (Chuck Marcelo/Dallas Voice)


DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

October has become Pride month in Fort Worth as a number of events have moved to coincide with the parade and popular picnic staged by the nonprofit Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association.

Q Cinema, which has been held in June in the past, moved to October. International Gay Rodeo Association will be in town later this month.

AARP scheduled a seminar at Celebration Church on how the new healthcare law affects LGBT families. And the city is holding a diversity training panel in conjunction with Pride month.

The 32nd annual Tarrant County Pride Parade is expected to be the largest with more entries than last year’s record-setting number.

The route will move one block west but remains in Downtown Fort Worth for the third year. The change is due to construction on Main Street.

The staging area remains on Weatherford Street at Taylor Street but the parade proceeds down Houston Street, a block west of Main Street.

Tina Harvey, president of TCGPWA, said this year will be the largest Pride with two more parade entries than last year. The fastest-growing category of groups is straight allies, which includes a number of welcoming and affirming churches.

The parade steps off at noon and follows Houston Street to West Seventh Street. The street festival at General Worth Square on West Ninth Street begins at noon and continues until 6 p.m.

A group of students from Saginaw who started a gay straight alliance in their high school will march with a number of other high school GSAs, three college GSAs and a contingent from Brite Divinity School.

The Saginaw students have endured increased bullying and even claimed death threats since they started the GSA in their school.

Harvey said she hoped the protesters from a church in Venus stay away this year. Two years ago, they interfered with Mayor Betsy Price’s car along the parade route. Last year, police began a no-tolerance policy and arrested the protesters when they stepped off the curb.

“Until we can walk down Main Street without protesters, I’ll be there,” Harvey said.

She said she was proud of the gay and straight Saginaw students not giving in to bullying and harassment and marching proudly with others.

“I want these kids to grow up and be their complete selves,” she said.

Harvey calls the city’s parade family-friendly. She said when Price saw the level of intolerance coming from protesters, she assigned the plain-clothes no-tolerance police unit to patrol the parade route.

While the largest increase in participation is coming from churches, only one bar is participating — 1851 Club in Arlington. None of the Fort Worth bars will be represented.

But Tarrant County’s LGBT groups will also be out in force.

Cowtown Leathermen will provide the color guard leading the parade. ROTC — Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps — will provide some traditional parade entertainment.

Harvey said Texas Gay Rodeo Association will try something unusual for a parade.

“There will be a moment of silence for all those unable to come out, for those who suffer bullying and discrimination and in memory of all those we lost,” Harvey said.

The Rev. Wendy Wortham will conduct a commitment or unification ceremony for couples at the county courthouse at the beginning of the parade route at 10:30 a.m. She’s invited couples who participate in the ceremony to march with her in the parade.

“I want couples to have the dignity and respect of having a ceremony,” she said.

Wortham became involved in the community through her accountant, Tom Anable, who was a founder of Fairness Fort Worth and died last year.

“I want to put the community in a good light,” she said. “We’re regular people.”

After the ceremony, Wortham will give couples a certificate and participants will share cake.

At the Fort Worth parade, not only are Democrats planning to be out in force as they were in Dallas, but Harvey said Libertarian candidates are also planning to march.

On Sunday, the Pride picnic takes place in Trinity Park. Fort Worth’s picnic traditionally attracts even more people than the parade.

Live entertainment includes the trans band Chix, country singer Jeff Black and Elizabeth, a local 17-year-old performer.

Harvey is hopeful this year’s activities will show a profit that can be used to fund an education scholarship for LGBT students. She said information about applying will be released in November.

The parade steps off at noon on Oct. 5 at Houston Street from Weatherford to Seventh Street. The Street Festival is from noon-6 p.m. in General Worth Square on  Houston Street at Ninth Street. The Pride picnic is from noon-6 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Trinity Park.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 4, 2013.