The city of Lubbock — and the rest of West Texas for that matter — is not exactly known as a safe haven for LGBT people. Yet, the local LGBT community here is making progress in order to change that. At least, make their presence known a little bit more.
The New York Times published a story this weekend concerning the Gay Pride event held in the conservative city of Lubbock, and the efforts and stories of those that were behind the event.
Kat Cade (pictured on top), a student at Texas Tech University, has organized Lubbock's Pride events for the past three years. Lubbock's first pride event was held in 2011 by a different group. It has since grown bigger each year. This year the event attracted close to 400 people.
Being involved with local LGBT organizations after coming out, Cade wanted to extend support to other members of the community that might feel isolated. “[T]he minute you realize, 'Oh, there's a group of people just like me,' it's so uplifting,” said Cade.
When planning this year's event, Cade had to consider people's attitudes in Lubbock towards the LGBT community. “As Lubbock is such a conservative city, we decided that the wisest thing to do would be to make it a family-friendly festival,” Cade said.
This year's Lubbock Pride event included live music, a drag show, a speech by a lesbian Army veteran, and an award for activism.
Attitudes towards LGBT people continue to change across the nation — and the Texas Panhandle is no exception. The growing visibility of LGBT people will only continue to further foster this growing acceptance towards equality.
But there is still a lot of progress left to be made.
“You go to Austin and you feel comfortable holding your partner's hand, but that comfort zone is not in Lubbock,” said a Pride attendee and resident of Lubbock.
Today, major cities across Texas all hold Pride events — including Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley. Other smaller cities, such as Amarillo and Abilene, also hold Pride events.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.