Houston Pride to move downtown instead of gayborhood
The annual Houston LGBT Pride Celebration is moving out of the neighborhood long known as the city’s gayborhood after 30 years. Pride Houston officials announced Wednesday that the Pride parade and festival have outgrown the lower Westheimer area and will move the route to downtown Houston.
“The move downtown is about breaking barriers by showing that as a community we no longer have to segregate ourselves by staying in the ‘gayborhood,’?” Pride Houston president Frankie Quijano said. “This move will allow us to better showcase the LGBT community we are and will continue to become.”
Irwin Palchik, owner of the popular F Bar nightclub, said he was hurt by the decision not to involve the city’s LGBT community in the discussion.
“Dallas, West Hollywood and other cities around the nation would not move their parade out of the LGBT area. Why would we?” Palchik said.
Armstrong predicted the move could spark a “Montrose parade” next year in competition with the downtown event.
“It’s shocking, it’s silly, and it’s not going to stand. You’re going to see emotional backlash,” he said. “I understand the bar owners are just one little piece of the rainbow flag. But I don’t know any large percentage of people that would want to move it downtown.”
The pride committee has tried this before in 1980 which was the first time they tried to move it since the parade began in 1979. There was public outcry and they decided not to change it. The bar owners in the Montrose area are totally against this drastic change. “This is crazy. It’s really crazy,” Southbeach and JR’s club owner Charles Armstrong said Wednesday. “There are thousands of people who have been silenced with no opinion in the lack of discussion about moving the parade out of Montrose.”
The parade runs at dusk and goes on until 11pm or so and includes more than 100 floats representing local bars, businesses and civic and social organizations. Thousands of people line up along Westheimer between Montrose and Dunlavy. The pride festival is normally walking distance down the street. A move downtown would mean driving or taking a cab to other events or bars being out of the neighborhood directly before or after the parade.
Next year the parade shall begin on Walker at Milam and continue down Smith Street to Andrews. The expanded, day-long festival will surround City Hall, with exhibitors located on McKinney and Walker streets and around Tranquillity Park and the Hermann Square reflecting pool. They may also have an ending firework show for the finale.
They say that the pride movement is about it’s people not the location but that’s hogwash. It needs to support the gay community as in the bars and restaurants and shops that are hurting for cash as it is in today’s digital economy. It’s disgusting that the Pride committee would not ask bar owners and other people before pushing ahead with this. These organizers who want it for just “families” they can have that in the daytime downtown or in another city or on a float in the middle of the lake. Since it doesn’t matter where the parade is held why not just hold it in Beaumont?
Oklahoma City tried to change the pride route a few years ago and failed. They also tried to move their festival to downtown OKC and that failed. They had to move it back to the gayborhood the following year. The pride committees are out of touch with today’s gays. It’s time we look into new pride committee’s especially in a city with the population the size of Houston.