June 5, 2022

 

 

Taylor Mayor Brand Rydell gives a proclamation during Taylor Pride’s inaugural Pride Festival in 2021. The organization is hosting its second annual festival on June 25. Photo courtesy of Brent Humphreys

Taylor Mayor Brand Rydell gives a proclamation during Taylor Pride’s inaugural Pride Festival in 2021. The organization is hosting its second annual festival on June 25. Photo courtesy of Brent Humphreys

 

Wilco celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month with June festivals 

 

By BRIGID COOLEY 

A nonprofit organization serving the Taylor’s LGBTQ+ community is gearing up for its second Pride Festival. Organized by Taylor Pride, the free event will take place 2-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, along Main Street in Taylor. 

The event is open to all members of the public. 

“There’s a lot of variety happening, so there will be something for everybody,” said Denise Rodgers, one of the event organizers and the board president of Taylor Pride. 

“It’s very family friendly, especially up until 8 p.m. After that, some of the venues will have adult specific programming but others will have all ages programming until we wrap up.”

This is the second Pride Festival hosted by the Taylor-based organization. The first, which was also the first official Pride event hosted in Williamson County, took place in June 2021. Last year, roughly 2,000 people attended. Organizers expect an even bigger turn out this year, Ms. Rodgers said. 

June has been observed as Pride Month by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community members and their allies since the first Pride March in 1970, according to the Library of Congress. The march was hosted to memorialize the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, during which LGBTQ+ individuals protested against New York City police officers who decided to raid a popular gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. At the time, the State of New York considered homosexuality a criminal offense. 

The Stonewall Uprising spanned six days in June of 1969, and is considered a monumental event in the country’s Gay Liberation Movement. 

Since 1969, several U.S. presidents have recognized June as National Pride Month, including President Joe Biden, who issued a LGBTQI+ proclamation on May 31 of this year. 

Taylor Pride

Those attending the Taylor festival can peruse vendor booths and food trucks while listening to live music performed by over 14 bands. The schedule also includes a burlesque show, comedy show and two different drag shows, as well as a glow stick dance party that is open to attendees of all ages. 

Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Judge Stacy Hackenberg, Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell and several Taylor City Council members are also expected to speak during the festival.   

Events and activities geared specifically toward children, including crafts and a Drag Queen Storytime, will also take place throughout the event. 

In addition to organizing their own festival, members of Taylor Pride have worked with neighboring municipalities to form their own Pride events, Ms. Rodgers said. 

“We joked a lot last year about our event being Williamson County’s coming out party,” Ms. Rodgers said. “We expected the ripple to kind of continue.”

LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Here’s a list of LGBTQ+ community events taking place in the Williamson County area over the next month. 

Round Rock Inaugural Pride Festival 
2-6 p.m. on Saturday, June 4
Centennial Plaza in Downtown Round Rock, 301 West Bagdad Avenue, Round Rock 
The event is free and open to the public. 

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!
Julie Newmar movie screening 
6 p.m. on Thursday, June 9
Georgetown Public Library, 402 West Eighth Street, Georgetown 
This free event is open to individuals 18-years and older. 

Inaugural Pflugerville Pride Street Festival
1 p.m.-sundown on Saturday, June 18
Main Street, Pflugerville 
This event is free and open to the public. 

Taylor Pride Festival 
2-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 25 
201 North Main Street, Taylor 
The event is free and open to the public.

 

Others join in 

Round Rock is one of the city’s joining Taylor in the celebration. The city is hosting its inaugural Pride Festival on Saturday,

June 4, at Centennial Plaza in Downtown Round Rock, 301 West Bagdad Avenue. 

Organizing the event was spearheaded by resident Richard Parson, who was inspired to bring Pride to Round Rock after attending the Taylor celebration last year. 

“Taylor’s event was small town Pride, but it was so big in heart and spirit,” Mr. Parson said. “Taylor Pride was our inspiration and has been one of our big partners. We even scheduled our events so they didn’t coincide with one another, that way we could all go.” 

Modeled after Taylor’s Pride festival, the Round Rock event will feature food trucks, vendor booths and live entertainment, including a free drag show. Attendance is free and open to anyone who wishes to participate, Mr. Parson said. 

The event is hosted by Round Rock Pride, which was started by Mr. Parson and other volunteers. In addition to gaining support from local residents, the Round Rock festival has received support from local government officials. Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan read a Pride Month proclamation for the city at a council meeting in May. 

“[The mayor] made a wonderful presentation for us and reminded everyone that, in his time as mayor, there will not be a tolerance of hate,” Mr. Parson said. “He will also be at the event to make the proclamation as well. We’re looking forward to it. 

“There’s so much excitement, and inclusivity and so much diversity and so much community bringing all of this together. It’s just very inspiring.” 

The City of Round Rock is sponsoring the June 4 event. Leander also participated this year, hosting a Pride event in mid-May.

Both the Round Rock and Taylor Pride events are meant to strengthen each community and celebrate all its members, Mr. Parson said. 

“If you look in every family, you’re going to find people of diverse identities,” Mr. Parson said. “Everybody’s going to have somebody in the family that will be able to participate. 

“All we want to do is celebrate with each other, connect with each other and strengthen our family ties. By that, I mean the community of LGBTQ people who have been ostracized and discriminated against. We want a community of bonding with people.”