Houston Gay Pride Parade

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The Houston Gay Pride Parade is a Gay Pride festival held annually since 1979 in the Neartown area of Houston. The festival takes place in June to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies. The route of the parade is usually along Westheimer Road, from Dunlavy Street and ending at Crocker Street. It is currently the most attended and largest gay pride event in the Southwest region of the United States.

This event commemorates the 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, which is generally considered to be the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement.

The festivities are held all day on the 4th Saturday of June. The highlight of the event is the parade which is held in the evening after sunset since 1997 (which was arranged by then-Houston City Councilmember Annise Parker where a parade ordinance was revised). Because the event is held at night, the various floats and surroundings are creatively illuminated by the various participants.

Parade organizers (Pride Houston) estimate attendance of 200,000[1]

On September 30, 2014, the Pride Committee of Houston's executive board voted to move the parade to Downtown Houston commencing June 2015 - this was not the first time the board considered the move where it was first discussed in 2008. The 2014 decision resulted in voiced opposition within Houston's GLBT community feeling that the Pride Committee of Houston did not allow transparency concerning community input on having the parade moved where a splinter group will be likely established - much like the former Westheimer Street Festival and the 2001 future of the Houston Art Car Parade (which remained but not affiliated with the Houston International Festival) there has been blog posts about the move - also on social media (Twitter, Facebook) there are those who feel that the GLBT community was cheated. As of February 2015, the proposed Montrose Homecoming Walkabout is in the works to be held in late June.

On June 29, 2015, it was announced that the Houston Pride Festival attracted 700,000 attendees which set a new record.[2]


Entries in the parade are eligible for awards in categories with cultural references significant to LGBT history as well as a judges pick and categories with more localized focus:

  • Judges' Choice
  • Aria (best creative sound)
  • Fabulous (best costumes)
  • Rainbow (best lighting)
  • Ruby Slipper (best walking)
  • Judy Garland (best performance)
  • Pink Diamond (best float by a for-profit company)
  • Priscilla (best float by a non-profit group)
  • Spirit of Montrose (best overall)

Houston Pride Themes & Parade Grand Marshals[edit]

Year Theme Grand Marshal(s) Honorary Grand Marshal(s) Organizational Grand Marshal(s) Community Grand Marshal(s) Celebrity Grand Marshal(s)
1979 "United We Stand" Thelma Hansel
1980 "Proud to Be" Jim Farmer & Ruth Ravas
1981 "We the People" Ray Hill & Rita Wanstrom
1982 "A Part Of, Not Apart From" Marion Coleman & Andy Mills
1983 "Unity through Diversity" Marion Pantzer & Walter Strickler
1984 "Unity and More in '84" Pokey Anderson & Rick Grossman
1985 "Alive with Pride" Terry Clark & Freda Jerrell
1986 "Liberty Is In Our Grasp" Tony Bicocchi & Dee Lamb
1987 "Come Out and Celebrate Pride" Persons Living With AIDS
1988 "Rightfully Proud" Bruce Cook & Eleanor Munger Sharon Kowalski & Harvey Milk
1989 "Stonewall 20" Charles Armstrong & Bettie Naylor
1990 "Look to the Future" Walter Carter & Annise Parker Debra Danburg & Craig Washington
1991 "Take Pride" Gene Harrington, Jack Jackson & Linda Morales Katy Caldwell & Marvin Davis
1992 "Pride = Power" Sheri Cohen Darbonne & Brian Keever Gay & Lesbian Switchboard Houston
1993 "Out & Proud" Brian Bradley & Carolyn Mobley Adan Rios PFLAG Houston
1994 "HouStoneWall 25" Jay Allen & Cicely Wynne Claire Koepsel Q-Patrol
1995 "Silence to Celebration" Suzanne Anderson & Don Gill Annella Harrison H.A.T.C.H.
1996 "Pride Knows No Borders" Bill Havard & Jeanette Vaughn Jack Abercia The Royal, Sovereign, and Imperial Court of the Single Star
1997 "Glowing with Pride" Deborah Bell & Jimmy Carper Krewe of Olympus
1998 "Unified, Diversified, Electrified" Bob Bouton & Jackie Doval Barbara Winston Texas Gay Rodeo Association
1999 "Pride, Power & Pizzazz" Sean Carter & Nancy Ford Colt 45’s
2000 "Take Pride, Take Joy, Take Action" Richard Weiderholt & Tori Williams Don Sinclair People With AIDS Coalition Houston
2001 "Embrace Diversity" Mitchell Katine & Dalia Stokes Blake & Gordon Weisser PFLAG Houston
2002 "Pride Worldwide" Mela Contreras & Rusty Mueller Jane & Irv Smith Gay & Lesbian Switchboard Houston
2003 "Silver Celebration" All former Grand Marshals honored
2004 "Pride As Big As Texas" Sonna Alton & Jerry Simoneaux Sue & Jim Null Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas
2005 "Equal Rights! No More! No Less! Weldon Hickey & Deb Murphy Dennis and Evelyn Schave Bayou City Boys Club
2006 "Say It Out Loud!" Phyllis Randolph Frye & Ray Ramirez Rev. Marilyn Meeker-Williams Bunnies on the Bayou
2007 "Lone Star Pride" Jack Valinski & Maria Gonzalez Garnet Coleman The Imperial Court of Houston
2008 "We are Family" Dalton DeHart & Kelly McCann Julie Eberly AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc.
2009 "Out 4 Justice" James Knapp & Fiona Dawson Mike & Linda Bratsen Legacy Community Healthcare
2010 "Pride NOT Prejudice" Gary Wood & Carol Wyatt Ann Robison Montrose Counseling Center Mayor Annise Parker Andy Cohen
2011 "Live. Love. Be." Bryan Hlavinka & Tammi Wallace Duane & Judy Roland The GLBT Community Center Jonathan D. Lovitz
2012 "Live Out Proud" Nicolas Brines, Jenifer Rene Pool and Council Member Ellen Cohen Toro, mascot of the Houston Texans Madison Hildebrand

See also[edit]


External links[edit]