Dallas Pride has come a long way since it started back in 1972 – when a small group of folks gathered and walked through downtown, waving signs and showing up their pride. Although it was a sedate event, it was a bold statement. Let’s not forget we’re talking about Texas in the 70’s.
The next parade didn’t happen until 1980. But It wasn’t until 1982 (when the newly-established Dallas Tavern Guild took over) that the parade began to grow.
When I talk to others about celebrating Dallas Pride in the fall, people have all kind of reactions. I always assumed they did it in September because of “cooler” temperatures. However, the real reason is much more significant.
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The change came about in 1983 when the Tavern Guild moved the parade from the usual June date to the third Sunday in September and renamed it the Texas Freedom Parade to commemorate former Judge Jerry L. Jerry Buchmeyer’s ruling knocking down Texas anti-sodomy laws. The decision was later overturned, but the parade has remained in the fall ever since.
Just weeks after that year’s Pride, actor Rock Hudson died – who had recently come out as a gay man and as a person living with AIDS. His death focused a single national spotlight on AIDS and inspired the Tavern Guild to begin dedicating the parade each year to those Tavern Guild members who had died of AIDS during the preceding 12 months. In 1988, that number was 12.
It wasn’t until 1991 that Dallas Tavern Guild officers dedicated the parade in honor of Alan Ross, the tavern guild’s executive director and the man who – since the early days – had shouldered the lion’s share of the responsibilities of organizing the parade. That was the year that the Texas Freedom Parade became the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. Ross, who had been grand marshal alongside Lory Masters in 1988, died in 1995.
From there until today, the name remains the same, and last weekend, Dallasites celebrated 35 successful years of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. For someone that has experienced it several times, I can tell you that Dallas Pride is more than just your typical parade; it is a celebration. A joyous time to celebrate the diversity in the city.
Believe or not, nearly 55,000 people descended in Dallas during the weekend to celebrate Pride, and I was among them. My weekend was packed with events and activities.
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First, I kicked off the celebrations with a naked yoga fundraiser benefiting Lifewalk through Team Metro. (Click HERE to DONATE) Our sold-out event attracted more than 30 men and raised almost a thousand dollars for AIDS Arms and LifeWalk Partner Agencies. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Roberto Alvarez from Naked Yoga Dallas, Robert Vigor, and our sponsors House Wine, Times Ten Cellars, Timoteo Studio and Evolve by 2(x)ist. – More pictures from that night HERE
Friday and Saturday was all about dancing, starting at Purple Foundation’s opening party at Lizard Lounge. On Saturday, I got my tan and drinking on at Shine pool party with beats from DJ Ben Baker. That night, the Impulse Group Dallas BEAT event was off the hooks where DJ Paulo brought down the house with his tribal sounds!
On Sunday morning, I hosted a pre-parade mixer with WeWork at their Uptown location. With yummy drinks and food, and a DIY glitter bar with some of my favorite people – what else could I have asked for?
That afternoon, I admittedly skipped the parade – there’s only so much a queen can do ‘almost’ sober (and without any drugs #dontdodrugs). LOL! I did make it to tea dance, and I even got to snap a photo with the man of the hour DJ Dan Slater.
As you can see from this gallery, Dallasites definitely know how to Pride.
Have you ever been to Dallas Pride? Will you check it out next year? Sound off in the comments.
Photos Chel Wardell & Yours Truly
Not just a pretty face