Fort Worth Pride steps off an hour earlier this year; annual Pride picnic follows the next day

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This year’s Tarrant County Pride Parade starts an hour earlier than past years — at 11 a.m. instead of noon — on Saturday, Oct. 7. Longtime parade committee member Tony Coronado said the change was made for traffic control purposes.

FT-Parade-2Since moving to downtown Fort Worth, Texas’ second-oldest Pride parade has changed routes a couple of times — once because Sundance Square cut Main Street in half. That year, in 2015, the parade ran down Houston Street.

Last year the parade moved to Commerce Street so it would end at the new Pride Festival location — the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Coronado said organizers made that change because the festival had outgrown its previous location on the north side of the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Admission to the festival is $5, and it runs from noon to 7 p.m.

Coronado said this year’s parade — built around the theme “Live life bold” — will be a little larger than last year’s. Many groups are returning, but a number of political candidates will be participating this year, too. Among them are John Duncan, a candidate for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Joe Barton. That district includes parts of Tarrant County.

Allison Compolo, who is challenging Texas State Sen. Konni Burton, also will participate, he said.

Other additions to the parade this year include a number of new LGBT-friendly religious groups, Coronado said.

The headline entertainer at the festival is Jason Dottley, who performs at 2 p.m. The annual Pride Picnic takes place in Trinity Park, 2401 University Drive, Fort Worth on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Grand marshals

Grand-Marshals

Grand marshals Finnigan Jones, Kiana Lee and Nancy Peoples

This year’s Pride grand marshals are Nancy Peoples, Kiana Lee and Finnigan Jones. The honorary grand marshals are Fort Worth Councilwoman Ann Zedah and Arlington’s 1851 Club.

Peoples got involved in the community through bowling more than 25 years ago. When bowling friends contracted AIDS and lost their homes, she joined Michael Champion and Bill Lindsey who started what she called “this little drag group” — Glitz and Glitter — to help bowlers get by. Now, 25 years later, she’s still raising money.

Peoples has been Ms. Texas Gay Rodeo Association twice and is involved in the Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington, the Trinity River Bears and Wall of Food, a fundraising effort that helps fill the AIDS Outreach Center’s food pantry.

FT-Parade-3Kiana Lee served four years in the Air Force before moving to Arlington. She has performed all over the DFW area since 2001.

In addition to performing, she’s a freelance makeup artist and, “I enjoy creating costumes and gowns for shows and pageantry,” she said.

On Friday and Saturday nights, Lee hosts the shows at 1851 Club in Arlington. But she hasn’t just performed at LGBT clubs in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington. She’s also appeared at Billy Bob’s.

She’s raised money over the years for AIDS Outreach Center, Toys for Tots, Home for the Holidays and food pantries and homeless shelters. And she’s won or placed first alternate in a number of pageants — including Miss Gay Texas National 2007- 2008, Miss Arlington National 2003, Miss North Central Texas America 2003 and Miss Texas Cinco De Mayo 2003. She was named one of “The 100 of the Most Influential Gay Entertainers” in the U.S. in 2014.

Finnigan Jones is the executive director and co-founder of Trans-Cendence International, Inc. He sits on the advisory boards for The Diversity Center of Oklahoma Inc. and LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., Fort Worth’s LGBT youth organization.

Jones works with community leaders to further education on transgender and gender diversity issues and policies. He’s a motivational speaker, ally training consultant and transgender/gender identity consultant.

He’s also a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and lives in Arlington with his wife, Susan.

FT-Parade-4Honorary Grand Marshal Ann Zedah was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 2014 after the city’s first openly-gay councilman Joel Burns resigned. She was appointed to the zoning commission in 2008 and remains an active member of the American Planning Association that empowers citizens to be engaged in the development and sustainability of Great Communities in Texas.

Zedah has been married for 25 years to her husband, Jim, and they have two sons.

Established in the 1970s as the 651 Club, 1851 Club — which changed its name when it changed its address — is one of the oldest gay bars in the country. In 2005, Bill Gladen took over as owner, keeping the idea of love, pride and acceptance in the neighborhood bar with a dedicated staff that makes it one of the friendliest LGBT bars in North Texas.

Reina Lea awards
The nominees for The Reina Lea Community Service Award are Becky Lucius and Richard E. Burrow.

Lucius moved to Tarrant County in 2006, becoming an active member of the LGBT community as a straight ally and volunteer. She joined the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association and was named new volunteer of the year in 2010.

Lucius participates in Rhonda Mae’s Wall of Food and is a member of the Fort Worth chapter of TGRA. She has held several positions in the Imperial Court, where she’s now an active board member. She organizes an annual breakfast with Santa and a Samaritan House Monthly Dinner, and she currently holds the position of Imperial Crown Princess for Reign 38 of the Imperial Court. She has earned three lifetime title awards in the Fort Worth court.

Through his church, Burrows began going to Unity Park to feed and clothe the homeless. From there he began the Ricky Sparkles Homeless Outreach, targeting LGBT homeless youth.

Along with FWPD officer Julie Cox and Fort Worth Independent School District, Burrow helped create The Care Closet in four Fort Worth high schools. Ricky Sparkles Homeless

Outreach collects donations of clothing, hygiene products and school supplies and distributes them to homeless youth through the high school resource rooms.
“This is a place for homeless and at risk kids to come and shop for free,” Burrow said.

The nominees will be featured in the parade on Sunday, and the winner will be announced at the picnic on Sunday.