Second Annual Latino Pride will recognize Dallas County commissioner



JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

Latino Pride is back for its second year, at the same time on the same date and in the same location — 3-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Reverchon Park.

The celebration is also being held during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15. It has the same purpose, too: to create a safe space for the various LGBT Hispanic communities to come together.

But expect a whole lot more this year. For one, there’s a theme: “Selena Forever,” honoring the late singer and gay icon Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who died 20 years ago this year. To honor her legacy, organizers are bringing in Grammy-nominated singer Shelly Lares and Corpus Christi-based drag performer and Selena impersonator Honey Andrews to perform.

DJs from Club Los Rieles and Havana Lounge will also provide live music throughout the day.

Events, especially good events, cost money, said organizer Juan Contreras. Thankfully, sponsors such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Peace Corps, Lambda Legal, the Domingo Garcia Law Firm and others have stepped up, underwriting the burden of renting the park, obtaining licenses for alcohol and providing entertainment.

Because of the outpouring of sponsor support for the event, all alcohol sales will be donated to Cathedral of Hope’s Spanish-speaking congregation.

But Latino Pride is not just a party. It’s also a way to connect the broad range of people who make up the LGBT Latino community, which spans sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, Contreras said, adding that it also includes heritage and ethnic identity as well.

With all the strides made for LGBT rights, an event like Latino Pride is also long overdue, Contreras said.

“We thought about it for a few years but we weren’t able to get to organizing it until last year,” he said. “Organizing the event required strength.”

Last year’s hard work paid off: Organizers anticipated 150 attendees. Instead, they got 300.

They expect an even larger crowd this year, in part because there’s no other formal event like it in the area.

“There’s no other gathering like it in Dallas as far as we know,” Contreras said.

Because the event is about gaining recognition and representation, numerous prominent local elected officials are also sponsoring the event.

Among the sponsors are Dallas City Councilman Adam Medrano, Dallas Independent School District Vice President Miguel Solis and out gay Justice of the Peace Sara Martinez and Dallas County Schools board member Omar Narvaez.

Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, a Democrat who is married to event sponsor Domingo Garcia, a Dallas attorney and former state legislator, will be named an honorary “madrina,” or godmother, of the community in recognition of her dedication to and support of LGBT people.

“It’s great to be honored. I’m excited,” Commissioner Garcia said. “This is their second year, and they’re honoring Selena!”

Commissioner Garcia has played a pivotal role in the fight for LGBT recognition since her days on the Dallas City Council. But she doesn’t take all the credit for helping the LGBT community gain recognition.

“It couldn’t have happened without their fighting elected officials,” Garcia said.

The event couldn’t have happened either without organizers’ efforts either.

“Organizing a project takes a lot of work. I just want to thank them more than anything for putting it together,” Garcia said.

Texas Latino Gay Pride, 3-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Reverchon Park. Free.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 9, 2015.