San Marcos’ 3rd annual SMTX Pride parade and festival brought out a variety of guests, including a line up of vendors looking to celebrate the community.
Vendor Daniel Gonzales became disabled at the age of 17 after being hit by a drunk driver. When Lopez graduated high school he went to San Antonio College for journalism. As a disabled man in a wheelchair, Gonzales said he struggled to make connections until he want to interview the LGBTQ community on his campus for an assignment.
“I became an ally 40 years go. I infiltrated the gay scene, only to find out they were the only people to accept me,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales, as a vendor attended the event to sell rainbow flags, pride bracelets and colorful beads, a small bounty compared to his usual stock. As an ally and a businessman, Gonzales attends pride events across Texas, sporting events and more in an effort to spread positivity, be independent and show support to a community that showed love to him.
Another ally, Ashley Main of the San Marcos Sirens women’s rugby team, came to the event with her tent to show support for her team, which is largely made of of LGBTQ members. Main is a founding member of the team which is nearly a year old, and said she hopes to get the word out to San Marcos residents that there is now a place for women, those of all types, to play.
Main’s teammate, Alyssa Barry, is a member of the LGBTQ community within San Marcos and said she believes the SMTX Pride parade and festival, as well as her team has made her experience as a member of the community better and more inclusive. Barry said she hopes other women can find inclusivity through the event and through her team.
“It’s great having a place that I can go where I can be myself and where I can be comfortable,” Barry said.
Sylvia Sandoval, founder of SMTX Pride and organizer of the SMTX Pride parade and festival said she started the event three years ago to show the community and children how positive acceptance of the LGBTQ community can benefit San Marcos. She was raised in San Marcos since she was in kindergarten and has received the chance to watch how her project has influenced her friends and neighbors in the community.
“Little by little, this grew into a San Marcos tradition. I do it for the kids, I want the next generation to see how we’re all unique in our own way,” Sandoval said. “The kids can be out here, and learn that here and then interpret that in the future.”
Each vendor showed up to San Marcos Plaza Park to set up for the event on Sept. 9 and stayed for the day to entertain and educate the community. Between a face painting booth and a free HIV testing van, there was something to learn from everyone. The majority of guests walked and marched in the parade starting at 10 a.m. but many continued to come and go throughout the day for live music and local food at the pride event.