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San Marcos Successfully Celebrates Equality

todaySeptember 19, 2015 1

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Laura Aebi
News Reporter

pride festival
Photo by Laura Aebi

Hundreds of people from San Marcos and neighboring cities came to celebrate equality this past Saturday, September 12, in the form of a parade, marriage ceremonies and musical performances.

The festival doubled its attendance this year.

One of the main events took place on the San Marcos Park Plaza Stage, where a drag show was hosted by Gia De Flor and Chitah Daniels Kennedy.

The ladies performed an “Age of Aquarius” lip-synch and dancing performance.

San Marcos native Stephanie Austin says it’s been a long process to get the city to this point of acceptance.

“Growing up here, I never imagined that this would happen. I never imagined I would be performing in my hometown, like this. I mean, I knew what I wanted and I thought I would have to go to another place to do it. So, I had left because of that- but coming back and having all of this and the girls… It’s like a family really. But seeing it all come together- it’s so beautiful. There are no words to describe how amazing it all is.”

This year is especially important in history for LBGTQA history with the new federal gay marriage legislation, Austin said. The City of San Marcos and PRIDE came together to even incorporate a same-sex marriage ceremony into the PRIDE festivities.

“I think this year has been an amazing year for PRIDE all across our nation. I mean, we’ve had miraculous events happen throughout the last couple of months and pride month. And um, I was telling the girls I’ve been going to a lot of prides across the state and to see so much of it everywhere is such a beautiful thing, to see everyone coming together and finally accepting who we truly are and what we’ve always celebrated.”

It all began when Sylvia Sandoval, the woman who began this process more than 5 years ago, started to try and organize a gay-night at local bars called “Rainbow Night”. The event was a hit in the LBGTQA community, but no local bars were willing to consistently hold the event.

Luckily, on December 2nd of last year, that problem was solved with Stonewall Warehouse, San Marcos’ first gay bar. Now, they hold a drag show hosted by Gia De Flor the last saturday of every month.  De Flor, a Kyle native, says that the event is even drawing LGTBQA members from outside of the city.

“Being a college town, we’ve always had people, I guess 50/50 of people that support and people that don’t. I think in the last 10 years, we’ve seen more voices come out and join together and be more united. I think that welcomes in all of the bigger cities in the area for Texas State, being a college town. It’s just wonderful for them to get here and see that something that they’re familiar with is also happening here, as it should. There should be events for everyone everywhere, so it’s really good to see that.”

Another queen performing in the show, Tanta LaStyx, thinks the annual event is something to be proud of, saying San Marcos is more progressive than some of it’s neighbors.

“As a person who grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, which doesn’t have any type of gay community, it’s kind of amazing to see. I don’t know if you know this, but in the downtown of New Braunfels there’s a sign saying “Marriage is between one man and one woman” and that was only a couple months ago. Seeing that kind of irks me to the bone knowing i’m from there, so seeing something so close to New Braunfels on the total opposite makes me so happy. It feels good to be accepted especially in a place that you live, where you grew up. You don’t wanna look back on where you’re from and think “I live there…” you want to be proud of it and I am proud of San Marcos for stepping up its game.”

PRIDE is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people in a festival environment, and the LGTBQA community and allies are welcome to get involved in next years event or see these ladies in action at the Drag Show Events held at Stonewall.

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