“There are so many amazing Pride Houston memories,” says Pride Houston 365 Co-Chair Thasia Madison, “but if I can name just one, it would be Rockets Pride Night 2022 when we unveiled our new logo. In the spirit of the butterfly, we transformed our brand in front of a diverse group of fans. When the crowd went wild, it truly made me feel so lucky to live in Houston and celebrate with our volunteers, our supporters and sponsors.
Recently renamed Pride Houston 365, the 44-year-old organization responsible for Houston’s annual Pride Parade and Festival has expanded its mission to include community events and social activism 365 days a year.
Several administrative changes were also implemented this year. “We now have internal controls and an advisory board,” says Madison. “The Advisory Board not only advises, but verifies our message and our brand, our sponsors, etc. Essentially, the Advisory Board is the watchdog of the community to ensure that the Board acts within the best interests of the community we serve.”
Another change is that the organization now has co-chairs – the leadership positions currently held by Madison and Kendra Walker. “It’s about providing checks and balances, as well as allocating the duties necessary to restore financial solvency and stability to Pride Houston’s operations,” says Walker. “We have a new board structure and new members, new staff and a long list of new community partners that we work with. We are a more transparent board, internally and externally. We went to [new online] platforms that allow each board member [to have] access to all data, including financials, sponsors and contracts.
This rebranding and restructuring effort has been underway since October 2020. Although the pandemic has delayed many initiatives, the group decided the time was right to implement the changes in time for the festival and parade. downtown this month.
This year’s pre-parade festival, which features dozens of vendors and performers, takes place beginning at 1 p.m. on June 25 in front of Houston City Hall. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. that evening and will be led by Pride Houston 365’s 2022 Grand Marshals – Isabel Longoria, Travis Torrence, Juliann Losey, Brandon Wolf and Hatch Jr. – a diverse group of local LGBTQ and allied leaders being highlighted for their advocacy efforts. Because the pandemic canceled the 2020 and 21 Pride parades, the grand marshals from those two years will join the 2022 grand marshals.
So what can you expect from this year’s parade? “We’ve all been through so much in the past two years,” Madison says. “Historically, the LGBTQ+ community has always been attacked by someone, or by certain organizations. However, that will never stop us. ‘Houston, the Beat Goes On’ is our theme this year [that speaks to how our community has] resilience and will continue to persevere. The rhythm continues!”
“It’s also a nod to our history – the pioneers of LGBTQ+ rights who were the catalyst for landmark decisions,” adds Walker. “For example, the Supreme Court decision in [the Houston-based] Lawrence v. Texas This case paved the way for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Houston is also a city with a rich musical history that is too often overlooked. Blues music recordings began in the 1940s in Houston [with the] Gold Star Recording Studio. Then fast forward to icons like ZZ Top, Beyoncé, and Lizzo. Houston has always been “the southern capital of cool,” and the rest of the world is taking notice. Our theme expresses it. It doesn’t matter if it’s memorable historical moments or a celebration of the evolution of music. For Houston, “the rhythm continues”.
Pride Houston 365 organizers are expecting a bigger than usual turnout for this year’s Pride Month events. “People travel from all over the world to participate in our June 25 parade and festival,” Madison says. “We have more events and this year we are offering licenses to groups who wish to have an official Pride Houston 365. [event]. No one has ever provided this opportunity before. People should check out our new website at pridehouston365.org for more information. We are growing and expanding our reach. Remember that if it’s not on our website, it’s not official, and therefore the money goes into the pockets of the event producers and not into the community. If they obtain a license through us, they are required to donate a percentage of [proceeds] return to a non-profit organization of their choice.
“Our [local television] media partner KHOU, as well as several radio stations, will broadcast live,” notes Walker. “The registration was overwhelming. We expect an even greater turnout than before the pandemic. DJ Rocabye will be the official DJ for the parade and Steven Tilotta, winner of the Montrose Idol contest, will also perform. And don’t forget the festival before the parade which will offer high-level entertainment.
As for the best way to view the parade, organizers recommend purchasing a grandstand VIP package at pridehouston.org/tickets for access to special entrance, grandstand seating, an open bar, food prepared at the festival and much more.
Of course, there are always free viewing options throughout downtown Houston. “Bring a lawn chair and a spot on the parade route,” Walker suggests. The parade will travel west on Milam, from McKinney to Leeland. “Or have a watch party at home, where you can watch the parade on KHOU-11 in real time.”
What: Houston Pride LGBT+ Pride Celebration
When: June 25 (Festival starts at 1 p.m., parade starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Where: Afternoon Festival in front of Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby St.; evening parade on Milam St. between McKinney and Leeland.