Texas Pride Events Commemorate Stonewall Day

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This weekend, Texas Pride events set to commemorate Stonewall Day 

In a normal year June would be a month full of festive gatherings for Pride Months: parades, bar-hops, voter registration drives, and many more fun festivities. Now with COVID-19 accelerating in the state, many Pride events in Texas have shifted virtually, or with extreme social distancing.

Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall riots, which took place in New York City during June 1969. Led by Black and Latino transgender and queer activists, the Stonewall riots lasted five days after a raid on the Stonewall Inn bar in the Greenwich Village. For many, the modern LGBTQ movement was launched following the riot.

Now, 51 years later, June has been the designated Pride Month for the United States. Though some cities in Texas like Austin and Houston celebrate later in the summer, there are still several events happening.

Although for many, this year’s Pride is different – and not just because of COVID-19. Following the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests around the country, many nationwide Pride events changed to Black Lives Matter rallies or fundraising efforts. Many organizations also highlighted the danger for Black trans women. Texas leads the country in transgender murders.

June has also been a time for LGBTQ victories. Last week the Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ Americans cannot be discriminated in the workplace. In a state like Texas, which had no such protections, the ruling was monumental. For members of the state’s LGBT caucus, they are still pushing for a statewide anti-discrimination bill for protections in medical care and housing.

On Thursday the Texas Democrats are hosting a Pride virtual town hall with Rep. Julie Johnson. Johnson previously spoke to the Texas Signal about her commitment to the anti-discrimination bill for next session.

Over the weekend, a number of Pride events are also taking place around the state. In San Angelo, organizers are going forward with a parade on Saturday, albeit one with strict social distancing.

In Dallas, organizers of the Pride Parade announced they were moving the event that normally takes place at Fair Park virtually several weeks ago. On Sunday, The Dallas Voice, the city’s largest LGBTQ paper, is also hosting an online event, that is part fundraiser and concert.

San Antonio will also be doing a virtual event on Saturday, benefiting eight different charities that support LGBTQ causes and awareness.

Also on Saturday, Pride Houston will be celebrating with both a rally and a march to City Hall. Initially the event had been postponed, but in the wake of Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the organizers decided to amend their plans. Lo Roberts, the President and CEO of Pride Houston told the Houston Chronicle, “now it is time to take a stand and fight again against the homophobia, against the racism and against the cruel and illegal structures of power that discriminate against queer people and against people of color.”

On Saturday, President Obama will be joining a global telecast to celebrate Stonewall Day with a number of LGBTQ organizers and activists. Geena Rocero, a trans activist and model, will serve as the host. Taylor Swift, Kesha, Katy Perry, and Demi Lovato (a native Texan) are slated to appear.

Austin Pride, originally scheduled for August 15th, has been postponed until 2021.

Photo: Michael Rowley/Getty Images

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