2nd annual Pride in Dallas Parade steps off Sunday at 2 p.m.
TAMMYE NASH | Managing Editor
What does a city do when it has just too much Pride to contain it all in one month? Simple: You have Pride twice a year. So that’s exactly what happens in Dallas.
The second annual Pride in Dallas Parade takes place Sunday, Sept. 17, stepping off down Cedar Springs Road at 2 p.m. It will be Dallas’ second Pride parade for 2023, and Pride in Dallas President James Ware said this week that it proves there is room for every one and every Pride in the Dallas LGBTQ community.
The grand marshal for our first Pride in Dallas Parade, in 2022, was Kirk Myers-Hill, founder of Abounding Prosperity Inc. and president of Dallas Southern Pride, the city’s long-standing Black Pride celebration. Myers-Hill’s sudden passing in April this year was a stark reminder, Ware said, of the need for unity not just among committees and organizations but among the community as a whole.
PRIDE ALL WEEKEND
From Staff Reports
While the second annual Pride in Dallas Parade down Cedar Springs might be the most visible of the weekend’s events, it is by no means the only event.
Texas Latino Pride
September is Hispanic Heritage Month, and this is Texas Latino Pride Weekend in Dallas. The fiesta started Thursday, Sept. 14, with the Association of Latino Professionals For America’s Dallas Pride Launch Party held in conjunction with Texas Latino Pride at Lava on Cedar Springs Road.
The celebration continues Friday night with the opening night of MachismX, the “thought-provoking and culturally-charged creations of artist Christopher Martinez, alongside the talents of other local artists and their compelling exploration of machismo, challenging traditional notions,” from 7-10 p.m. at Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Then the Texas Latino Pride Fest keeps the party going from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave. Known as the organization’s “mothership event,” this is a free community festival full of music, food and fun celebrating LGBTQIA+ Hispanic/Latine intersections. The festival will feature reggeaton artist La Cruz and RuPaul’s Drag Race celebrity performer Jorgeous and Crystal Methyd alongside local favorites and a market with more than 70 vendors.
General admission is free with registration, and a VIP experience for ages 21 and up is $75; to register or purchase VIP tickets, visit EventBrite.com.
Texas Latino Pride month’s activities continue Sunday, Sept. 24, with Noche de Cine y Cassandro, at 6:15 p.m. at Texas Theater, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., exploring “the intersections between the queer and Hispanic/Latinx communities through the inspiring journey of Cassandro, a trailblazing luchador who broke barriers and shattered stereotypes.” Tickets are $13 at TexasTheatre.com.
After Parties, Sunday, Sept. 17
• The Blackout After Party, a Pride in Dallas afterparty with performances by Gloss Up, Sevendeep and Barbie Bank Rose, presented by Eric Russ, Texas Tactical Security LLC and Dameron Growe, takes place, from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at Gilley’s Dallas, 1135 Botham Jean Blvd. Tickets range from $25-$250, available at EventBrite.com.
• The Round-Up Saloon hosts the Denim Party. Doors open at noon with no cover all day. Watch the parade on the big screens, and the dance party starts at 2 p.m. with DJ Blaine, and keeps going after 8 p.m. with Zaddy Nick Stracener all the way till close.
• Love Loud dance party presented by BearDance and The Purple Foundation, featuring DJ Kitty Glitter, at S4. See page 39 for more information.
This year, as Pride in Dallas marks its second year, Ware said the committee has chosen two grand marshals for the parade. “We are fortunate that we have both Chris Sapphire and Alyssa Edwards as grand marshals this year,” he said. “We wanted to have two this year, and that’s based on our theme for this year: ‘Stronger Together.’
“We want to see the unity between organizations,” Ware added. “We want to hold on to the promise that we are stronger together.”
Ware said the first Pride in Dallas was “extremely well-received” in the community, and “based on the comments we are seeing on social media, there are a lot of people really looking forward to it this year. Sure, there may be one or two people commenting on one or the other of the social media sites who are consistently negative; that will always happen. And we know there will be some people who don’t want a parade back on The Strip. But we know that most people are happy and excited about it, and we believe there is room for both.”
In its first year, the Pride in Dallas committee focused a lot of its efforts on raising the funds necessary to stage the event from community members rather than turning to corporate sources. A GoFundMe page was part of that effort, and businesses in the community — including the Caven Enterprises and Round-Up Saloon “anchor bars” on the Cedar Springs Strip — contributed to the cause. This year, Ware said, those same anchor bars along with the new Hamburger Mary’s on The Strip are again helping fund the parade, although the committee has chosen to forgo the GoFundMe option this time around.
“I am not against corporate funding,” Ware said, “but I don’t want us to get into a situation where somewhere down the line some corporation would want us to name the parade after them. We won’t do that.”
In the weeks before the parade, there were already around 50 parade entries confirmed. Ware said the anchor bars — “our major sponsors” — will have floats in the parade, and that there will be entries made up of motorcyclists and even some of the three-wheeled Slingshot vehicles. Most of the entries will be walking groups from organizations and businesses, including larger corporations that will have LGBTQ employee resource groups participating.”
The Skyline High School marching band made history as the first high school band to participate in a Pride parade in Dallas last year. This year, Ware is excited to announce, not only is Skyline’s band returning to the parade, Dallas ISD has cleared the way for bands from Kimball High School and Carter High School to participate as well.
Ware said that space will once again be set aside for those who have mobility issues or some other situation that makes them unable to stand along the streets in the middle of the dense crowds of onlookers, and this year, there will be such safe spaces set aside on both sides of the street. There will be food trucks accessible on both sides of the street as well as vendors.
Legislation passed earlier this year by the Texas Legislature prohibiting certain performances in the presence of minors — a measure initially intended to ban drag performances that was eventually “watered down” in such a way that it could have had wide-ranging repercussions — could have had a drastic effect on the parade. But the law is being challenged in court and was temporarily enjoined by the court before it could take effect as scheduled on Sept. 1. Ware said organizers were ready in the event the injunction hadn’t come.
“We were basically going to speak to any performers that were going to be in the parade to let them know what they could and could not do,” he said. “The state was trying to make us into the moral police. But the injunction makes that not necessary.”
He also said organizers have not heard yet of any plans for anti-LGBTQ protesters to target the parade. But if they do, he added, there will be plenty of security in place to handle any problems.
“There will be a ton of police presence from the Dallas Police Department. We had 40-some-odd officers there last year; this year there will be 60-plus,” he said. “They are there to protect the parade and to protect our community.
“We wanted to show people we are working to create and maintain a safe environment for our guests. That is very important to us,” he added. “Safety is an issue for all of us, not just those at the parade but everyone in the area. And speaking for Round-Up and Caven, I know they have extra security planned as well. There will be a strong security presence there.”
Ware continued, “My message all along has been its ok for us to have more than one Pride. We are not competing with each other. We just want to give people a choice in what they want to do and where they want to go. We want people to come here to the heart of our community and show that we are not going anywhere. So come out and have a good time.”