There are misconceptions, misperceptions and misunderstandings about every community, but there are lots of things about gays and lesbians in Texas that aren’t widely known.
Here are four things you may not know about the gay and lesbian communities of Texas.
1. Pride events don’t always happen in June.
While most of the nation celebrates gay and lesbian pride in June, much of Texas is too hot for outdoor celebrations in the summer.
Dallas has had their Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in September for years. Fort Worth now celebrates pride week — including a picnic and a small parade as well as other events — in early October.
Pride event dates vary by city and year in the rest of the state. Some smaller cities don’t manage to have a pride celebration every year — or at all.
2. The largest predominately gay church in the world is in Dallas.
Some gays and lesbians are highly religious.
Cathedral of Hope, the largest church in the world with a primary outreach to the gay and lesbian community, is located in Dallas, a city that is also sometimes called the buckle of the Bible belt. According to its website, the church has more than 4,000 members. It has outreach campuses in other cities as well.
Founded as part of the mostly-gay Metropolitan Community Churches denomination, the church is now part of the United Church of Christ, a liberal mainline Christian denomination.
3. Many Texas cities have no local gay and lesbian newspapers or websites.
Gay journalism doesn’t flourish in every part of the state.
A few years ago, most major cities in the country had at least one gay and lesbian newspaper or magazine. Some even had two or more competing publications.
Today, there are no statewide gay and lesbian print publications in Texas, and some cities are not served by any kind of gay publication. Fort Worth, El Paso and Austin are among cities with no gay newspaper, although Fort Worth is sometimes covered in the Dallas Voice.
4. The community is more diverse that you may think.
The Texas gay and lesbian community is as diverse as that state itself. While there are plenty of gay cowboys in the state, there are lesbian businesspeople too. Stereotypes just don’t work in Texas.
In fact, Texas is such a large state that each city’s gay and lesbian community is a bit different. While Dallas and Houston have reputations for being cities that favor style over substance, Austin and Fort Worth are said to be more authentic. Gays and lesbians may not be obvious in Lubbock, Abilene or El Paso, but these cities have gay and lesbian residents too.
It’s also important to remember that no matter where you go in Texas, the phrase “gay and lesbian community” also includes bisexual, transgender and question youth and adults.
Vocal Only When They Need to Be
While there are many more interesting and exceptional facts about the Texas gay and lesbian community, the state is so large that generalizations about the nature of the community are a bit dangerous.
One thing is certain, however: Gays and lesbians in Texas are a powerful and vocal presence when they need to be — and one that often fades into the background of the huge and eclectic state when there is no big issue to bring them to the forefront.