San Antonio Pride is still Bigger Than Texas. Here's how to celebrate this year.
The Supreme Court ruled June 15 that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender. Amid all the chaos in the country, it was a welcome victory for the LGBTQ community — and, fittingly, it came during Pride Month.
But with COVID-19 cases on the rise again in San Antonio, the folks behind San Antonio Pride have had to figure out how to adapt their celebration.
San Antonio’s annual Pride Bigger Than Texas, organized by James Poindexter, will take place Saturday. But because of safety concerns related to the pandemic, this year’s celebration will not be happening in person. Instead, it will be broadcast live on the organization’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.
Traditionally, the event consists of a daylong festival at Crockett Park followed by a nighttime parade.
“There were a lot of conference calls among Pride (organizers) from all over the globe trying to figure out how to deal with this,” Poindexter said. “Some were postponing and some were dabbling with the idea of trying to do a virtual event.”
He said his team had seriously considered pushing Pride Bigger than Texas to the fall, but with Fiesta rescheduled for a similar time, and Día de los Muertos happening in the same season, they felt like they would be crowding the calendar. So they decided to make this year’s Pride event a virtual experience.
“We’ve had to learn a whole new way of doing things and brush up on technology skills that we may or may not have had,” Poindexter said. “So we’re trying to reproduce what we normally would do in person — virtually — to the greatest extent that we can.”
The virtual Pride Bigger Than Texas celebration will run 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday on Pride San Antonio’s Facebook page (@pridesanantonio) and YouTube channel. Here are some highlghts:
Tejano legend Shelly Lares
Tejano singer Liz Garcia
Angel Bonilla, the first transgender contestant on NBC's “The Voice”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants BeBe Zahara Benet and Cynthia Lee Fontaine.
Drag performers Taryn Taylor, Amber Nixx and Los MENtirosos Drag King Troupe
Drag queen storytime with former Miss San Antonio Pride Ira Descent
Cat In The Hat Experience with Greg Hinojosa
Virtual Pride Parade (featuring local organizations and businesses)
Education & inspiration
Pandemic preparedness video
Black Lives Matter panel discussion with Aamori S. Olujimi
SCOTUS panel discussion
COVID-19 preparedness with Tencha La Jefa
Peace … Love … PRIDE virtual wedding
Many of the entertainers who were slated to perform live at Crockett Park will now be live-streaming their performances. They include BeBe Zahara Benet, the season one winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; Cynthia Lee Fontaine, a contestant on seasons eight and nine of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; Angel Bonilla, who competed on season 14 of “The Voice”; and beloved Tejano artist Shelly Lares.
“The reason I still wanted to be a part of this is because (Pride) is something that is important to me,” Lares said. “I still want to show my community that I’m right there with them.
“This is about us being good human beings to each other. It doesn’t matter if we’re artists, or whatever careers we (have), we just have to continue to be good people to each other and support each other and love each other, really — for the differences that we have and for the different unique things that make us who we are.”
The livestreamed broadcast will include opportunities to donate to this year’s event beneficiaries, including American Veterans for Equal Rights (Lone Star Chapter), BEAT AIDS, Fiesta Youth, Living Church San Antonio, MCC-SA, the Rape Crisis Center, Texas A&M San Antonio-LGBTQ Coalition and We Are Alive.
“Pride is a chance for us to educate people on what’s going on” Poindexter said, “and they look to organizations like ours to possibly guide them and be informative to them.
“The guiding principle behind Pride San Antonio is this idea that we seek to facilitate the needs of individuals so that individuals can facilitate the needs of a community.”
Chris Conde is a San Antonio musician and freelance writer.