Thasia Madison, co-president of Pride Houston 365, explained why this month and celebrations like this matter.
"[The LGBTQ community] needs that visibility, that awareness of our community. We need that support. With so much anti-LGBTQ legislation that's happening, we need to combat that with love, with peace, with people coming together in unity. Pride Month is just that. It's the love and the light. It's the lifting of our community."
It's hard to argue with her. It's not easy being LGBTQ...although we sure make it look like a lot of fun. Despite the cosmic fabulouslity of the queer community, turbulence abounds both statewide and nationally. It looks as if Roe v. Wade is facing jeopardy, which has implications that could spell demise for same-sex marriage legality. Books are being banned, with many of them stemming from out-of-the-closet authors or detailing queer story lines. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Trans athletes in sports are causing a stir, while trans youth are being denied gender affirming healthcare.
Most recently a Texas Legislator proposed a bill that would ban minors from drag events, which would effectively end Drag Queen Story Time at libraries. Even United States Representative Lauren Boebert is taking part in the hate with her tweet "Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars."
Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars.— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) June 6, 2022
Well, if that is the logic, given the gun massacres in places of worship as well as Catholic sex scandals, Drag Queen Story Time is a much safer place for children to congregate.
Despite the fact the LGBTQ community still faces hate and fear, it has rallied together, and this June shows no slowdown in overcoming adversity. Fittingly, Pride Houston 365 used the theme "the beat goes on" when developing the month of events.
"That theme is dedicated to our history, like Lawrence v. Texas, [which overturned a discriminatory law against same-sex intercourse]. If you look at some of the earliest blues recordings, they were made in Houston. If you look at our history, Houston is a first in a lot of things. It's a nod to Houston's historical resilience as well as our musical resilience. However you choose to look at, the beat goes on. We're still here and we're still striving for what comes next," Kendra Walker, co-president of Pride Houston 365 said.
One of the largest displays of visibility and community is the organization of the Houston Pride LGBT+ Celebration Festival followed by the Pride Houston 365 Parade. The day marks the country's third largest Pride celebration on Saturday, June 25.
American rapper, Coi Leray, who recently released the official video with Nicki Minaj "Blick Blick,'' will perform at the Pride Houston 365 LGBT+ Celebration Festival. And "Finally" coming to the stage is American Female R&B/Soul/Pop/Dance/House singer-songwriter CeCe Peniston. Local performers include DJ Rocabye, Angelina DM Trailz, DJ Uri, Marium Echo and DJ Panda. The Festival will take place at Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby Street beginning at 1 p.m.
The parade will commence afterward at 7 p.m. at the intersection of Smith and Lamar and head north. It will turn right onto Walker, right onto Milam, and conclude at the intersection of Milam and Pease. The Pride Houston 365 Parade is free, but ticket packages that include VIP seating, cooling-off bathrooms, and open bar privileges are available.
The event will also recognize the official Grand Marshals. They are as follows: Brandon Wolf (Honorary), Hatch Jr. and The Montrose Center (Trendsetter), Danielle Houston, MSPH (Ally), Juliann Losey (Non-Binary/Non-Confirming), Isabel Longoria (Female Identifying), and Travis Torrence (Male Identifying).
And just like the theme of this year's celebration, the beat goes on with several more events throughout the month. The full schedule is below:
Rock the Cognac featuring NYAK
Noon – 7 p.m., Saturday, June 11
Pride teams up with Houston's hottest, The Flava Team, to bring the award-winning, masterfully handcrafted NYAK Cognac.
Houston Pride: The Official Grand Marshal Reception
7 – 10 p.m., Thursday, June 16
Celebrate the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Pride Houston 365 Grand Marshals with a family-friendly party with light bites, cash bar and free admission.
Friday Funday Out In Exploration
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Montrose Center
As the Official Pride Queer Youth of Color STEM event for Houston youth, IT professions will lead students through engaging STEM projects. This event is capped to 50 students, so RSVP to secure a space.
Soaked | Official Pride Pool Party
2 – 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18
"Soaked" is one of the hottest events of the summer in celebration of Houston's LGBT+ community. Come ready to enjoy live entertainment, incredible Dj's, amazing drinks, cool vibes by the pool and much more.
Pride Bar Crawl
4 – 11:59 p.m., Saturday, June 18
Meet at BUDDY's (2409 Grant Street) for a night full of fun. Get tickets to access perks and the crawl map. A portion of the proceeds go to The Trevor Project.
Lounge One by One Medical
4 – 8 p.m., Thursday, June 23
This wellness event was designed to help people center themselves while celebrating, because it’s all about balance. Enjoy local entertainment, curated activities, intention setting, fresh bites and a sober spritz bar.
Rock The Runway 2022 | Official Pride Fashion Show
6 – 11 p.m., Thursday, June 23
Rock the Runway will feature some of the hottest models in Houston walking the catwalk in this summer’s latest styles in casual wear, ladies evening wear and much more. This event is free to the first 200 RSVPSs and open to the public.
Eden 2022 | Official Pride Girl+ Party 21+
9 p.m. Friday, June 24 to 2 a.m. Saturday, Jun 25
Everyone's favorite girl+ party is back. Presented by Pride Houston in association with Jeff Harmon Entertainment, this event is dedicated to the strong womxn of Houston's LGBT+ Community, but as always, male friends are welcome to the party.
Pride Run 2022 5k/10k and 5k Walk
9 – 10 a.m., Saturday, June 25
1900 Lyons Avenue
One Love. One Finish. The Pride Run is the Nation’s first intentionally LGBTQIA inclusive synchronized 5k/10k walk and run dedicated to bringing people together to have fun, be active, and support our wonderful and diverse community.
Rich's at Rise - The Official Houston Pride Afterparty
9 p.m. – 3 a.m.
2600 Travis, Suite R
Rich's host the official Pride Houston afterparty at Rise Roof top. Dance into the after-hours with two different DJ's in the nation's largest music/nightclub venue with a retractable roof.
"We felt that pride needed to serve 365 days a year, whether that means us showing up at other events or partnering with other organizations, and the month of June is just the cherry on top," Walker said.
A year-round approach also means more opportunities for Pride Houston 365 to raise critical funds for grants and youth scholarships, including the Monica Roberts Scholarship Fund. Roberts was a well-known trans activist and award-winning journalist who passed suddenly in 2020. She also served as an honorary grand marshal in 2019's parade.
Walker mentioned events where Pride Houston 365 plans to be present. "The Human Rights Conference, the Heritage Festival, and our luncheon where we award scholarships to LGBTQ youth are coming up. We want to be a year-round celebration that extends beyond June to address the issues we face, brings awareness, and gets the LGBTQ community back into the bigger community."
Whether sashaying at Rock The Runway, having fun at the Pride Run, or serving eleganza during the June 25 extravaganza, Pride Month is going to be a fun ride, dah'ling. And the beat will go on all year.
June is Pride Month, which features events throughout the year. It culminates with the 44th Annual Official Pride Houston 365 LGBT+ Celebration Festival at 1 p.m., 901 Bagby, June 25. The Pride Houston 365 Parade starts at 7 p.m., June 25. For information or to purchase tickets to the events, visit pridehouston365.org. The 44th Annual Official Houston Pride LGBT+ Celebration is free for children 12 and under and seniors 60+. Tickets range $5 - $250 for ages 13 to 59. The parade is free to attend.