Denton Pride rescheduled, persists online in spite of pandemic

Denton Pride COVID

Article Originally Published by Samuel Gomez on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily

Following the cancellation of June’s Pride festival, Pridenton and OUTreach Denton held virtual events Friday and Saturday to give a spotlight to trans and non-binary performers in an online showcase.

The Denton Pride Foundation originally planned to hold its Pride festival on June 27, but in response to COVID-19, the foundation announced the festival is rescheduled for Sept. 12.

Brian Ivanchan, Executive Director of Denton Pride Foundation, said they do not have specific guidelines put in place for September yet, but the foundation plans to ensure the event is as safe as possible, given the circumstances.

“We’ve talked about it a few times,” Ivanchan said. “What can we do for an outside event like this to keep our vendors and everyone safe? One person coming to our event and getting sick and passing away is not worth it.”

Ivanchan said it was a dilemma deciding whether to hold the postponed event in September at all. He said it was a concern there may be another possible rise in cases of COVID-19.

“Do you cancel the event and go with something digital?,”  Ivanchan said. “Do you do keep doing something visible to bring people together? That’s the biggest challenge.”

For them, holding the event in-person in September is an important statement. Ivanchan said a physical event like Pride has value, especially for people who haven’t experienced a Pride festival before.

“We know Pride needs to happen,” Ivanchan said. “Pride is a visible event for people in our community to see that there are others in the community for them, that are likeminded. When kids go college, they may not be able to go to Pride at home, this is an opportunity for them to come to Pride while they’re in school and explore who they are.”

With June being recognized nationally as LGBTQ+ Pride month, other Denton organizations made arrangements to celebrate virtually.

Pridenton and OUTreach Denton held virtual events Friday and Saturday, including a showcase of performances by local queer and trans artists. Spiderweb Salon worked in coordination to organize the digital event. On Saturday, OUTreach held a virtual dance party on Twitch.

Since the organization’s creation in 2017, Pridenton has made a point to shine a spotlight on underrepresented groups in the LGBTQ+ community. In the last three years, the group centered non-binary, trans, racial/ethnic minority and indigenous groups.

Pridenton organizer Enedelia Sauceda said the group hopes to continue highlighting other groups in the years to come.

“We’ve often felt a little pushed aside at other Prides when they focus on [cisgender] white gay men,” Sauceda said during an introduction in Friday’s online showcase. “This was our way of making sure it was a very Denton Pride. To make sure it reflected us and the people we love.”

On Saturday, OUTreach Denton held the Queer in it Together: Virtual Dance Party on Twitch, hosted by Dallas DJ Rachel Harvey, who goes by the stage name DJ Ursa Minor. Harvey emphasized the positive aspects of holding Pride from home, such as wearing whatever clothes you want and being able to dance “HOWEVER. YOU. WANT.”

“It means a lot to me as someone who looks forward to actively participating in Pride as a celebration of my truest self, to still be able to do that this year,” Harvey said. “Even though times may be bleak, some great things have happened, and we should all take a break to acknowledge our personal victories.”

Harvey said her most important message for this year’s Pride goes to a specific group in the LGBTQ+ community, and one that is most vulnerable.

“I pray we continue to protect and love our Black trans community,” Harvey said. “There are layers to every individual, just like how there are so many layers to our community. Don’t ever forget that during Pride and protect each other.”

Courtesy Jennifer Meza and Pan Ector Industries

Source: North Texas Daily