When Dallas Voice led a group of more than 30 LGBT community organizations to sponsor the 1997 “Gay Day at Six Flags Over Texas” as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, then owner and publisher Robert Moore said the outing to the Arlington amusement park was “intended to provide visibility for our community and to provide some fun.”
The event — which has taken place each September since — certainly provided visibility. And that visibility brought some unwanted attention, too, as right-wing groups responded in the years to come by staging protests outside the park and various other efforts to get Six Flags’ management to cancel Gay Day.
In 2002, according to Dallas Voice archives, conservative religious groups launched a boycott campaign to try and shut down Gay Day at Six Flags. They failed.
An article published online at the Christian website World Net Daily in 2004 quoted Rick Warden, organizer of ProtestGayDay.com, as saying that “families that might not know about the homosexuals’ plans could unknowingly come to the park Saturday and ‘realize that they are waiting in line for one hour at a time with flamboyant homosexuals embracing one another and kissing. … Six Flags Over Texas is willingly allowing families and children to be exposed to homosexual activities without giving them any warning.’”
Gay Day at Six Flags marks its 20th anniversary this year, and as the years have passed, the protestors that had been so vigorous in waving their anti-gay signs to warn off the innocent heterosexual families have faded away (although simply pointing this out might bring them back to the gates this year).
For Leo Cusimano, now publisher and co-owner of Dallas Voice, it is “a reflection of the changing times that we no longer see those protestors outside the gates on Gay Day at Six Flags.
“I think that is a sign that we are moving ever forward toward full equality,” Cusimano continued. “And Dallas Voice is proud to be a part of the movement that is creating such a positive change in our society. We are proud to continue this contribution to creating a weekend full of Pride activities in Dallas.”
Those headed to Six Flags for Gay Day on Saturday, Sept. 19, can get discounted tickets for $36.50 plus tax online at SixFlags.com/OverTexas?promo_code=DALLASVOICE. That price includes parking and is a savings of more than $50
Tickets at that price are only available online and must be purchased in advance.
Six Flags Over Texas is located at 2201 Road to Six Flags St. East in Arlington. The park opens at 10 a.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 18, 2015.