Famous for its colorful parties, fabulous parades and welcoming nature, Pride, a celebration of LGBTQIA culture and rights, is held in almost every major city across the nation. This weekend, members of the Texas State community are offered a chance to participate in the festivities. As San Marcos joins the party, the true colors of Pride are revealed.
Four years ago, Silvia Sandoval, a self-proclaimed “one-man team,” gave life to Rainbow Night, a weekly event directed toward the city’s LGBTQIA community. Little did Sandoval know that her simple attempt “to bring equality to a town that didn’t have it” would turn into the makings of San Marcos’ first ever Pride celebration.
“This idea (to host Pride) came from Rainbow Night,” Sandoval said. “I usually have an event during June, (and) someone suggested that we should include the students, so I waited. I applied for a grant from the Arts Commission because every event requires funding.”
Last year, when the Pride idea was proposed to the Arts Commission, it was dismissed. This year, Sandoval decided it was time to plan what was supposed to be a simple one-day event.
“It all started June 4th when I wrote my first letter asking for sponsorship,” Sandoval said. “I am amazed at the amount of ‘yeses’ I’ve received. I now have three major sponsors and bar owners wanting to participate and open their doors to our community.”
Many agree that from the outside looking in, general audiences may have a one-sided view of what Pride is really about. While taking in the flamboyant floats, parties and big personalities, it is easy to forget the core message of the day. Pride is an event aimed at bringing families together.
Sandoval, who comes from a strong Hispanic background, said she’s seen tremendous strides made both within the community and her family.
“Seeing my mother come from telling me that I had to be a wife and get married to loving the wife I have is amazing,” Sandoval said. “That’s what Pride is about.”
The LGBTQIA civil rights moment has taken enormous strides in the past five years alone. In 2009, just three states allowed same-sex marriage. Today, same-sex marriage is allowed in 19 states. Because of the rapid advancement of the community, many wonder why a university town notorious for diversity and inclusion has not had a Pride celebration until now.
According to Sergio Melendez-Navarrete, Bobcat Pride treasurer, events of this scale require strong leaders and are often difficult to plan.
“We’re making history, and we are living through it,” said Greg Arellano, Lambda executive vice president. “50 years down the line, we are still going to have LGBTQIA students, and we are going to look back and wonder why it wasn’t done sooner.”
Arellano said he thinks the message of acceptance is what makes the Parades and celebrations so popular across the world.
“Acceptance is a worldwide message,” he said.
The true motif of a Pride celebration goes beyond the glitter, the music and the clever signs. It is about showing the world that all the small communities that form the LGBTQIA family can come together and be proud of whom they’ve become.
“Once a year we celebrate our movement for civil rights,” Sandoval said. “It’s one day of the year where anyone can just be with no regrets. No one knew they needed San Marcos Pride until (now).”