The sixth month of the year is upon us, which can only mean one thing: Pride Month. Now, one might ask, "It's 2018. Why does Houston need a Pride Month?" The answer is quite simple: Because we can, Dah'ling.
Here's the quick-and-dirty for anyone not in the know about the origins of Pride Month: In the 1960s, it was tough for anyone to be public about being LGBTQ. By tough, we mean anyone could lose their job, their home and become an outcast. Being LGBTQ was demonized and viewed as a disorder. Social justice for the LGBTQ community was non-existent, which meant anyone was vulnerable to attack.
So, gays, lesbians, and the oh-so glamorous drag queens sought refuge in the few bars where they were welcomed and could be surrounded by their brethren. Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village area of New York City, was one of those bars. Yet, police frequently raided the bar and arrested the patrons for illegal behavior. After years of brutality and discrimination, the small but mighty group reached their breaking point and stood up to the bullies. It was the 1960s' version of #MeToo.
They revolted all the way from the doors of the bar to the streets, causing several days of protests and demonstrations. It was the "Heeeeyyyyy!" heard around the world. Born from the protestors' courage to fight back on that day in June, which ultimately became known as the "Stonewall Riots", Pride Month blossomed into existence. It was a call to action for everyone to bust down the closet door and be true to themselves. Or in the words of Glinda The Good Witch, "Come out, come out, wherever you are."
Fast forward to present time, we still remember the Stonewall Riots, and we also take a minute - or the entire month of June - to celebrate the rainbow of people who make up H-Town. With a city as culturally rich and diverse as Houston, opportunity abounds to take part in several events to celebrate queer culture as well as individuality.
We've created a list of various opportunities to show your pride. Whether you land in the gay, straight or "somewhere in between" swimlane, these parties are sure to be a fantastic time for all.
Pride Galveston (Friday, June 8 - Sunday, June 10)
As the temperature rises, there's no better way to cool off than on the island. Pride Galveston kicks off Friday at 9 p.m. with the Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston Pageant at 23rd Street Station, 1706 23rd. Saturday is the Beach Bash on East Beach from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with DJ Houseman. The block party this year is from 5 to 10 p.m. at 23rd Street Station with headliners Mykul J. Valentine & Tiffany Hunter along with DJ Chris Luera featuring Athenz. Sunday is Tea Dance at 23rd Street Station, which will round out the weekend of fun.
Bayou City Performing Arts presents Finding Oz (Friday, June 15 - Saturday, June 16)
Pride Month serves as the perfect backdrop to the Houston premier of Finding Oz, a story about bullies and the bravery it takes to stand up to them. As always, it's a not-to-be-missed gay old time with songs like "Don’t Cry Out Loud," "Defying Gravity" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," and it carries an overall message about overcoming adversity.
The Gay Men's Chorus of Houston have teamed up with the Bayou City Women's Chorus to tell this tale of bullying, growth, and acceptance. For two nights only, starting at 7 p.m., take in the melodious sounds of the choir as they sway and swoon the audience.
Chorus Director Kenneth Clayborne says, "It’s really a musical essay. It’s a play-musical-concert about bullying. It addresses the topic of bullying but also the causes and effects of bullying, and the bravery of the bystanders…the people who stand up to bullies. It’s not just about the people being bullied but also a large storyline dealing with all aspects of bullying."
With Pride Month being the result of LGBTQ people refusing to be looked at as "less than," this show couldn't be more perfectly timed. Performances range from $15 - $25 and take place at The MATCH, 3400 Main.
Blanket Bingo - Pride Edition (Thursday, June 21)
Enjoy Downtown's beautiful Historic Market Square Park, 301 Milam, for the monthly blanket bingo - this time with some extra flair. Market Square Park is raising its rainbow flag from 6 - 9 p.m., and it promises to not disappoint. Be entertained by the lovely Violet S'Arbleu, the reigning Miss Gay Texas America 2017 (how's that for credentials?), who will co-host alongside Mills, everyone's favorite zany announcer. There's excitement, games and a $500 grand prize, so don't miss out on this night of fabulousness. Ten dollars guarantees you a bingo card and a night full of fun. Bring extra cash for bingo daubers and for grub at the surrounding restaurants.
Pride Night with the Dash (Friday, June 22)
Root on the Houston Dash as they take on reigning NWSL Champion Portland Thorns FC, presented by Top Dog Fireworks. The night includes a pre-game ceremony, a performance of the National Anthem by the winner of the long-running contest Pride Idol and live music. A special donation package is also available, while tickets last, for only $19 and includes one ticket to the match, a commemorative shirt and a $5 donation to Pride Houston. All the action takes place at Dynamo Stadium, 2200 Texas.
Rainbow on the Green (Friday, June 22)
Land Rover Houston Central's 9th annual Rainbow on the Green, presented by Legacy Community Health - Montrose, is back for this free annual city-wide LGBTQ celebration at with electrifying entertainment and some of Houston's best drag performers. Love, celebrate and dance with performances by Bubbalicious, The Patternist and recording diva Deborah Cox (!). Be sure to arrive early, because you don't want to miss drag performances by Houston's own Dessie Love Blake and Reign.
While Cox might best be known for singing "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here," Discovery Green's President and Park Director Barry Mandel tells us that 1500 McKinney is inclusive and open to everyone for this night of free exuberance.
"This is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate...to celebrate around music and entertainment prior to the parade, and we’re under the stars in downtown Houston,” he said. "It’s important because downtown is the center of the city, and it is also becoming the place were the Pride Parade takes place."
Consider our wigs snatched, Mr. Mandel, as Discovery Green knocks it out of the park once again. Any chance we get to catch a glimpse of Whitney Houston's vocal twin, we'll take.
Pride Houston (Saturday, June 23)
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Pack the rainbow tutus and feather boas, or just keep it chill and comfortable (because historically the temperature has been hotter than Satan's taint), and get ready for the grand poobah of them all - Houston Pride. Starting at noon, the Pride Festival, now in its 40th year, kicks off at McKinney and Smith. It's an all-ages-welcome type celebration, free of charge, that shows off the diversity of the city.
The day-long event is followed up with the Pride Parade - one of the largest in the country - from 8:30 - 11 p.m. As always, the event is free, but VIP tickets are available. The parade route begins at Smith and Lamar. It will wind through Smith until Walker where it will make a right turn, continues down Walker to Milam and eventually will wrap around Jefferson.
If that isn't enough, wet your whistle at the official after party at Rich's, 2401 San Jacinto. Just because the parade has finished doesn't mean the party has to. Dance into the wee hours of the night with DJ Joe Ross and your favorite tunes at the legendary two story dance club. Pride comes in many colors, but bring some green dollar bills, as there is a $10 cover fee.
June ushers in a lot of opportunities to take part in Pride Month, so cherry pick the events that speak to you and let your pride shine through!