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During a city commission meeting Tuesday, Cameron County commissioners approved a measure to officially recognize June as Pride Month, according to the Valley AIDS Council.
Pride Month is recognized across the country in June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, recognize the impact the community has had on history and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The historical event was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S., according to the Library of Congress.
The VAC noted in a news release that the LGBTQ+ community cannot ignore the “mounting” attacks against them. In Texas, bills that would ban drag shows and restrict health care for transgender youth have been introduced in the legislative session.
According to the release, the VAC said more than a couple dozen members of a local church in Harlingen, called City Church, protested against the agenda item and espoused extreme views that were anti-LGBTQ+.
City Church posted on Facebook Monday that Pastor Luis needed their followers’ voice at the commissioners court’s meeting to oppose the proclamation.
The church wasn’t the only one who opposed the resolution.
State Rep. Janie Lopez, whose district includes Cameron and Willacy counties, wrote a letter also opposing the resolution.
“I am opposing this proposal on behalf of my constituents, who elected me to represent and preserve the Conservative family values of House District 37,” Lopez wrote. “The promotion and explicit displays from the LGBT+ community would go against the religious beliefs of many in Cameron County, and so with matters like respect for religious belief, societal equality, and the preservation of Conservative family values in South Texas in mind, I respectfully oppose item number 2a.”
It should be noted that RGV Pride returned last year at the Cameron County Amphitheater and Event Center in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island. The event garnered a strong turnout, with over 80 vendors and exhibitors, beach activities on the private PRIDE beach, food trucks, Loteria, beer gardens and a youth area; all open to families of all ages to enjoy and celebrate Pride together.
Nevertheless, this isn’t Lopez’s first opposition to resolutions related to LGBTQ+.
Earlier this year, Lopez and state Rep. Ryan Guillen, whose district includes Starr County, voted no on a resolution seeking to recognize Feb. 14, 2023, as Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.
Lopez has not commented on the resolution to AIM Media Texas newspapers.
Regardless, upon the news of the resolution passing, the VAC said they’re going hold their first ever two-day event at the Cameron County Amphitheater and Event Center in June.
“A Family-Friendly event, RGV PRIDE is now in its 10th Annual production, and is the largest PRIDE celebration in the greater Rio Grande Valley area,” the release stated. “It is attended by thousands from throughout the Valley and beyond.”
The event will take place on June 24 and 25, which will feature about 100 vendors and exhibitors, community resources, two food courts with cuisine from every ethnic origin, beer gardens, RGV Queer Exhibit and the first ever Casa Orgullo Safe Zone Carnival, the release stated.
Additionally, Saturday evening will feature performances by local artists and bands, including co-headliners Whatevermike and Cassidy King along with a surprise guest artist from RuPaul.
There will also be free HIV testing provided by the VAC.
RGV Pride is sponsored by national and local companies such as VAC, Walmart, Target, T-Mobile, Starbucks, BudLight, Tito’s, Avita Pharmaceutical and others. The release stated that sponsorships, vendor and food court opportunities are still available, with registration closing June 6.