Home

About
- About Us
- Community Guidelines

Advertising on BOR
- Advertise on BOR

Advertisements


We're Counting On You.

Burnt Orange Report is redeveloping our website for the first time in almost a decade.

We're counting on your support to continue providing you free and frequent coverage of progressive issues that matter to Texans.

Help us build a website that is as great as the content we publish on it.



Beaumont Texas Celebrated Its First Ever Pride Parade Last Weekend


by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:34 PM CDT


I have been fortunate enough to travel a good deal around the country and after growing up in Beaumont I never considered my hometown to be a bastion of progressivism. But, as the rest of the country begins to end it's social stigma against the LGBT community Southeast Texans gathered celebrate its first ever Pride Parade.

Beaumont is community with its own rich history and culture, but hasn't been, at least in the past, as tolerant of others. I remember in the not so distant past when every member of an alternative lifestyle, whether a rockin' roller or an LGBT individual, pretty much stuck together in a handful of hangouts.

See how Pride went over in Beaumont below the jump...

ADVERTISEMENT
In fact I turned 21 in a "gay bar" called the Copa which has recently reopened under the name "Xclusive." At the time, far from exclusive,  it was one of just a few venues that allowed local musicians to play, another was a "lesbian bar" called Hooligans.

One of my oldest memories in politics was of my openly gay friend who was an active member of the Democratic Party who helped guide and shape my views to recognize the importance of fighting for the equality of all people. It wasn't the friendliest place to be "out" but all his hard work has surely paid off. Now the community in Southeast Texas even has an active Stonewall chapter.

Like every civil rights struggle the movement has had its ups and downs. The Pride event that went off without protest is surely a highlight but other incidents show there is still work to be done. It wasn't but two years ago that an entire program was shut down at Beaumont ISD because one student who attended appeared to be homosexual to the dismay of the principal. And, even more recently a transgender teacher in Lumberton was relieved of her duties because some parents were offended by her presence in the classroom.

Judging from friends pictures and comments on Facebook the event seemed like it went off without a hitch. I asked a few individuals for comment and they all mentioned seeing people in tears of joy.

"Having this event is actually a community-building activity," Jacqueline Hays, Beaumont Pride Committee member, says. "You have every category from the queer community - LGBTQIA - and allies. We have everyone from babies in diapers to grandmas and grandpas with gray hair walking around out here."

Former State Representative Glen Maxey attended, he is also the state's first openly gay legislator. He told me, "The importance of these kinds of events in places like Beaumont, is that the only thing that really has moved the needle on attitudes on non-discrimination protections or marriage equality, is that people know their LGBTQ neighbors."

The pace of progress has been rapid relatively speaking as state after state has their ban on marriage equality ruled unconstitutional. Unfortunately the GOP, especially the Texas GOP, has only fought against the call for equality. Moving in the opposite direction adding gay conversion therapy to its platform and denying gay conservatives a table at their convention this year.

There was a time when I thought Beaumont was stuck in a bygone era, now I think it may just be the Republican Party. One thing is for sure -- I'm proud to be from Beaumont.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.



Copyright Burnt Orange Report, all rights reserved.
Do not republish without express written permission.


Tags: , , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

The Copa was Beaumont's gay bar (5.00 / 1)
at least as far back as the mid-70's (when I grew up there).  It was a great dance club because they had the best sound system and they didn't stick to top 40.  We'd go in a group with our girls -- and a few guys with guys -- and have just as much fun there as anywhere, at a time when the nightlife in Beaumont was pretty good.  Ah, the disco years...

Good to see that they were no counter-protesters.

Afflicting the comfortable via...


Amazon Referrals
Buying Back-to-School Books?

Use BOR's Amazon Referral and we'll receive a share of your purchase, at no cost to you!




Click here to shop.



Connect With BOR
    

2014 Texas Elections
Follow BOR for who's in, who's out, and who's up.

Candidate Tracker:
-- Statewide Races
-- Congressional Races
-- State Senate Races
-- State Rep. Races
-- SBOE Races
-- Austin City Council

Click here for all 2014 Elections coverage

Menu

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?


Texas Blue Pages

Texas Blue Pages
A career network for progressives.

Advertisement

Shared On Facebook

Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Genevieve Cato
Joe Deshotel
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Phillip Martin
Natalie San Luis
Katie Singh
Joseph Vogas

Founder:
Byron LaMasters

Blogger Emeritus:
Karl-Thomas Musselman

Read staff bios here.

Traffic Ratings
- Alexa Rating
- Quantcast Ratings
-
Syndication

Powered by: SoapBlox