Happy Pride from blazing hot Houston, Texas! Miss Ginger is pretty excited to have the week off, but Boy G will be pretty busy with all sorts of pride-filled activities! Of course, the Krewe is participating in the pride parade, but Boy G will be walking with the group from Macy's. He's pretty proud that his employer is so supportive of the community, as they have sponsored a parade entry since they came into the city 4 years ago. The previous owner of our stores would not allow participation in pride events, which always infuriated a lot of us, since so many of the employees were GLBT or at least friends of GLBT. So tonight, we are meeting at Guava Lamp to distribute T-shirts.
Miss Ginger is quite proud that Legacy has been selected by the community as Orginizational Grand Marshall, and it's perfectly fitting for a number of reasons! First, this year's parade and festival coincide with National HIV Testing Day, a nationwide effort to test 1 million Americans in one day. Legacy will be participating in the festival, of course, but they will also open the doors of their nearby clinic to provide free testing on Saturday. Secondly, it kicks of Legacy's capital campaign to raise money to build a new building to consolidate their operations and administration. Currently, they operate out of a network of spaces around the community that are small, inconvenient, and underspaced. The new building will consolidate the offices, educational facilities, and neighborhood clinic into one building, and then the only remote sites will be neighborhood clinics in the areas where the need is greatest.
As I'm sure is the case in most large cities, Houston's Pride celebration is managed and coordinated by a non-profit structured for the purpose. Pride Houston made the very smart decision a few years back to move our parade to a nighttime format, which has done a lot to reduce sunstroke and heatstroke from the participants and spectators. This also enabled them to create a festival during the day, which gives local organizations a forum to react directly with the GLBT community. Unfortunately, IMHO, they have become "too big for their britches" and have priced parade and festival participation way out of reason, without providing the basics likes security and comfort that those funds should cover! Last year there was virtually no crowd control, and spectators constantly swarmed the street to try to collect beads and throws. They require each organization to provide their own "wheel walkers" for motorized entries (which pay a premium fee), but for "walking contingents" (which is all most non-profits can afford) they provide no security at all! And, except for directly outside the festival, or just near the extremely overpriced "VIP grandstands", they provide no porta potties along the parade route. As you can see, Miss G is not particularly proud of the organization that calls itself "Pride Houston". But, she's spread too thin to volunteer with them and take on the changes that need to happen, so she'll just grin and bear it!
Happy Pride and Love to All!