The LGBTQ Taskforce and Visit Brownsville hosted the second annual Pride Flag Raising on Wednesday morning to create visibility, support and awareness of the LGBTQ community in the city.
Bryan L. Martinez, co-chair for the Brownsville LGBTQ taskforce, said the raising of the flag is a joyous event because it not only celebrates pride but also the inclusivity the taskforce is promoting within the city.
“This is the second annual event that we raise the pride flag, and we are one of the first municipalities in South Texas to do so,” Martinez said.
“It’s a historic event because there is a segment of our population in the City of Brownsville that refers to themselves as LGBTQ and it’s important that we provide this kind of events to provide support and allow them to fully express themselves and feel safe.”
Roy De los Santos, member of the taskforce, said there is a large population of the LGBTQ community in Brownsville and even in this day and age there are members of the community who don’t feel safe being who they are. He said the raising of the flag is a symbol to let them know that Brownsville is a community where everybody is equal, everybody is welcome and everybody should be comfortable expressing themselves.
“Lots of education. I think there’s a lot of fear still out there, but it is fear out of ignorance. I like to think it’s not fear that is driven by hatred and so we are going to continue to try and have the conversations to educate people. And help them realize that we are average citizens, average Americans, just like they are,” he said.
De los Santos said it is great to see the improvement the community members in Brownsville are working toward to create a more inclusive city. He said if the city continues on the same track, with business owners standing up and embracing pride events and individuals expressing that they are allies, the city will be a better place for everyone.
Nolan Navarro, member of the taskforce, said the raising of the flag it is an extreme event for the city, and a very historical one, because moments like this have to happen to create visibility and awareness of the queer community in Brownsville.
“Some of the changes definitely include tackling the machismo, the homophobia and just really establishing a more prominent theme down here,” Navarro said.
“Where people feel comfortable, they feel like they can go out, enjoy themselves and really feel the valley life down here to its full extent.”