Update 5:57 p.m. October 1. AbOUT Magazine has sent out an email blast calling for a meeting at Westheimer and Montrose at 9 p.m. today in support of the parade remaining in Montrose.
Well, there's been a lot of talk and reports (the Houston Press included) about the changing Montrose as well as attitudes about the LGBT community in Houston, and now there's one more thing to point to.
Today, Pride Houston®, Inc. announced that the annual Houston LGBT Pride Celebration® will take place in downtown Houston rather than in Montrose next June. Its president noted that it's past time for "a segregated community" or event.
The press announcement acknowledged that: "For 36 years, the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration has been held along Westheimer near the Montrose neighborhood, considered to be the neighborhood for the LGBT community," but its organizers felt a change was needed -- because it was so successful.
Over the past decade, Pride Houston has seen a steady growth in attendance for the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration -- now more than 425,000 from around the world. Growth also means new challenges in dealing with expansion, safety and attendee satisfaction. Pride Houston formed a Community Task Force comprised of volunteers from top-tier consulting firms to assist with objectively analyzing all aspects, including location, to determine the best move for the organization.
During a September Board Meeting, with a 7 - 1 vote in favor, the Board of Directors passed the motion to move the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration to downtown Houston from its Montrose location.
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"The time has come for the Houston LGBT community to come out of the closet," said Frankie Quijano, President and Chief Executive Officer for Pride Houston, Inc. "The original purpose of Pride in the 1960s was to break down barriers and show that as an LGBT community we refused to be ignored. There is no longer a need for a segregated community in Houston. Therefore, the move downtown will help break additional barriers of inclusion and integration."
"With the coming changes, Pride Houston is gearing up for growth and newfound success in the broader Houston community," said Tim Garippa, Chair of the Community Task Force for Pride Houston. "This year will bring many new activities for attendees while ensuring everyone feels safe and prideful being who they are. With any change, growing pains can be expected. The Community Task Force reviewed multiple options, locations, settings, events and potential impacts. I'm confident that this move will be the dawn of great things for Pride Houston."
Event organizers said a larger family fun zone and a large disco ball or chandelier will be added to next year's June 20 event. Along with fireworks -- which actually might be starting sooner than that, because change is most always difficult.
Update, 4:55 p.m. October 1. And case in point: