The city of Denton kicked off pride month Tuesday night by proclaiming June 2019 as Denton LGBTQ Pride Month for the second year in a row. In the proclamation, Mayor Chris Watts asked “for all citizens to celebrate the work of the LGBTQ community.”
Denton City Council Member Keely G. Briggs read Denton’s LGBTQ Pride Month Proclamation alongside members of the Stonewall Democrats of Denton, OUTreach Denton and PRIDENTON.
“It was important to me to come down and read the proclamation to show that I support the community, I’m there for the community,” Briggs said. “Anytime that I can say to the people watching or the community that I’m supportive, I’m going to do that.”
Pride month is celebrated annually in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots and “to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally,” according to the Library of Congress.
Eighteen-year-old Ally Serlesi Olguin said the proclamation is “exciting.”
“It allows especially students that come from different places all around to finally come home and express themselves,” Olguin said. “Denton is very progressive, so I was surprised that we haven’t done it sooner.”
Among the some 40 city council meeting attendees, a group of 16 LGBTQ individuals and their allies showed solidarity by wearing rainbow pride shirts and accessories.
Eight-year-old Skylar Monroe wore a rainbow-colored flower crown at the city council meeting. Skylar identifies as non-binary and their mother, Lauren Monroe said that they attended the meeting to “be around people like them.”
After reading the proclamation, Stonewall Democrats of Denton President Lesly Gutierrez took the mic to share the statistics regarding the livelihood of LGBTQ youth. She talked about the six black transgender women who have died this year, with two from Dallas, and she emphasized the lack of anti-discrimination laws in Denton.
“The equal rights language that we get from the federal government isn’t enough to make sure that our community feels included, like our voices are heard and we feel safe,” Gutierrez said.
City Council member Jesse Davis is hosting a panel at City Hall on July 20 to talk about ways to improve equality in Denton. He said that there are more things to talk about as a community, specifically between the “LGBTQ community and faith-based communities.”
“We’re going to talk about some of the things that we can do as a city with people from all different perspectives,” Davis said. “It’s a whole lot harder to throw grenades at people when you meet face-to-face, and you can understand where they’re coming from a lot better.”
The LGBTQ Pride Month proclamation at City Hall is one of a few pride month events that will happen this month. PRIDENTON, a committee that organizes an annual pride event in a Denton, has various Pride Month events planned during the week of June 24 -30.
“It [PRIDENTON] is a wide variety of interests, events for all abilities and ages,” PRIDENTON Executive Member Enedelia Sauceda said. “I am pleased with our efforts to make sure everybody feels seen and safe at our events.”
Featured Image: Leaders and members of the Denton LGBTQ community pose for a photo following the proclamation of June as Denton LGBTQ Pride Month on June 4, 2019 at Denton City Hall. Photo by Kara Dry