How the San Angelo LBGTQ+ Community Commemorates Pride
June is Pride Month. Traditionally, it is a commemoration of the events at Stonewall in June of 1969. Stonewall was not the first time LGBTQ+ people stood up against police brutality. There were riots at Cooper Do-Nuts in LA and in San Francisco at Compton's Cafeteria.
But Stonewall became a rallying cry. Ironically, 1969 was known as the "Summer of Love". The LBGTQ+ community in Greenwich Village New York City were not feeling "loved" when NYC Police stormed the Stonewall Inn, arresting patrons and forcing them into police vehicles.A week of riots ensued and the fight for "Gay Pride" and acceptance began.
Here in San Angelo, the LBGTQ+ Community celebrates PRIDE as other communities around the country. As Jon Zachariah, LBGT+ Services Advocate at Open Doors, explains, many young people today don't know the story and struggles that were part of the history of the LBGTQ+ push for the rights enjoyed today.
"I had an event with my youth last night and that's something that I asked them, what is the importance of Pride to you and do you know why Pride even started? And a lot of it is a lack of education of where we really started back at Stonewall. I think it's so important to provide the education for them so they are aware. We do celebrate this whole month, because we fought for years and years behind closed doors and behind closets. And now we don't have to. After the Equality Act in 2019 we are able to be who we're supposed to be."
Yet, with recent concerns about militia groups crashing Pride events, fears of a more Conservative Supreme Court and states rolling back protections for the LBGTQ+ community, Zachariah agrees that education about the past reminds us that we must also educate about the future. Stonewall was just the beginning and the fight for equality never ends.
There are signs that even Conservative San Angelo is moving to become a more inclusive community. Civic groups all across the area, and even at Goodfellow Air Force Base have reached out through Open Arms to learn more about Pride and the LBGT+ community here. Zachariah says this speaks well for our community.
This year, there was almost a Pride Parade in the city. It didn't happen, but not because of any objections, but only because the logistics just didn't work out. The plan is for it to come together next year.
If you're interested in celebrating PRIDE this year in San Angelo, there are still a few events planned. Saturday, June 18th, San Angelo Clubhouse is having their "Open Arms Benefit Dance from 8:30pm until 10:30p at the Clubhouse at 404 S. Irving Street.
The Pride Ball is coming up at Koronazz at 4611 South Jackson Street honoring pioneering performers and people who have worked to advocate for the LBGT+ community here in San Angelo. This dress to impress event will include performances and a DJ Dance party.
Koronazz will also present Pride Fest on June 25th at 5pm with a drag show, vendors and food trucks followed by a Pride Drag Brunch at 11:30 on Sunday June 26th with doors open at 11:30am.