Skip to comments.Court ruling gives Pride Parade an extra spark (Houston Texas gay pride parade)
Posted on 06/29/2003 3:16:13 AM PDT by weegee
By ROBERT CROWE Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle From exotic drag queens strutting their stuff to colorful floats sporting gay and lesbian activists, the Houston Pride Parade on Saturday night attracted a large, festive crowd.
While just as flamboyant as it has been during its previous 24 years, the atmosphere was charged by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that overturned Texas' sodomy law.
"This is overwhelming and still seems a little unreal after all these years -- more than three decades of struggle -- that we're finally free in Texas and free all over the country," said Lee Harrington.
A self-described old-timer in the gay activist community, Harrington had served as president of the Gay Political Caucus in the early 1980s.
The Houston Pride Parade, one of the largest in the country, has been bumping like a funky disco song along Westheimer in the heart of Montrose for 25 years now.
As many as 150,000 spectators -- ranging from the expected gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to straight folk with their families and children -- turned out for the parade, which marks the 34th anniversary of a New York City bar riot that sparked the modern gay rights movement.
Saturday was Jason Mayo's first pride parade in Houston. Mayo, 31, had attended such parades in San Francisco for eight years, prior to moving to Houston last August.
"This means more in Houston -- in the heartland so to speak -- because in San Francisco it was more like preaching to the choir," he said.
Ken Harrig, 43, liked the fact that the Westheimer Street Festival crowd, which had gathered in the area throughout the day, helped diversify the parade audience. "It's great; I totally support the festival being here," he said.
"We're getting closer and closer to gay liberation," said Angela Flores, 23, a spectator. "I just want to be able to come out at work and not be worried about it."
Flores and several friends were enjoying cold drinks and the festive atmosphere.
A group of three young men said they had talked about the Supreme Court's decision before the parade. One man admired the fact that two men from Houston were willing to make sacrifices to help change the law.
Still, he said he did not want his name used because "people at work" did not know his sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court's 6-3 decision on Thursday overturning Texas' Homosexual Conduct Law as unconstitutional was made regarding a 1998 case involving two Houston-area men. Tyron Garner and John Lawrence, charged with violating the law, were arrested by police who entered their home.
Garner and Lawrence were expected to participate in the parade.
Activist Jack Valinski, chairman of the 25th annual Pride Parade, said about 100 people organized the parade. Another 1,000 participated by making floats, marching and throwing beads to the crowd. About 125 floats glided along the parade route.
A special float this year honored past grand marshals of the parade.
Although Saturday was a day to party, Valinski said, there still is much to be done in the struggle for rights for gays and lesbians.
"We celebrate tonight, and by Monday we need to get back to the social justice issues," he said.
While the gay community has been empowered and liberated by the Supreme Court decision, Valinski said, some people might be offended if it pushes for more rights.
But that won't stop him and others, he said.
While the event has been center stage in Montrose on Pride Day, this year's parade had to share some of its limelight with the Westheimer Street Festival.
The street festival's promoters moved the event back to Westheimer on Saturday after attendance figures at the Allen Parkway location began to dwindle.
Valinski said there were no incidents he was aware of between the crowds at the two events.
"As far as I know, everything is going fine," he said before the parade.
Without permission from Montrose neighborhood associations, the street festival took place on business parking lots and not in the street.
Ben Desoto/Chronicle Houstonians crowd the sidewalk and roof of Mary's at the 25th annual Houston Pride Parade on Saturday night in the Montrose area. Around 150,000 people attended.
The parade numbers are inflated dramatically as a result.
I drove through the neighborhood to make some photocopies this afternoon and deliver some papers to someone nearby.
The "Get Lubed!" trashboxes were all that I needed to know. The parade route was lined with these trashcans that were sponsored by a sex lube company. Ick.
What really happened at Stonewall:
Although gay clubs were explicitly illegal at the time, Mayor Lindsay had an unofficial policy of not enforcing that law in the West Village. The gay folks in the Stonewall bar therefore had a reasonable expectation of being left alone.
Thr reason the cops showed up at the Stonewall was because the Mafioso who owned the place was blackmailing some of his customers. The cops were responding to a complaint against the owner, who wasn't gay himself, and showed up to arrest him.
The patrons of the Stonewall assumed incorrectly that the cops were there to bust them, and responded violently. The cops responded likewise.
And so was born the "gay rights" movement as we know it, though it existed before.
Do a google on "Harry Hay", and "Mattachine Society".
These seven are the AXIS of EVIL.
The Supreme Court announced yesterday the first ripple effect of its landmark decision on gay rights, ordering a Kansas court to reconsider its approval of a 17-year sentence meted out to an 18-year-old man for having consensual sex with a 14-year-old boy.
Without comment or published dissent, the court vacated the Kansas Court of Appeals' ruling last year that Matthew Limon's sentence was constitutional even though the same conduct between two persons of different sexes would have received a far lighter penalty under Kansas law.
In fact, as that excerpt makes clear, there was never even a slightest question of vacating the original conviction, because the Kansas ruling under appeal itself only dealt with the constitutionality of the sentence disparity. To reiterate yet again, the conviction has not been vacated no matter how many ways you figure out to suggest otherwise.
They had a gay pride parade here and my husband's place of employment put out a memo, encouraging people to march in the parade and offering free tshirts to those who did.
Nah, the "evil gays" aren't gonna get anyone. We just don't agree the SCOTUS has the right to force the phaggot agenda on people who detest their behavior - esp. when in direct violation of religious convictions.
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