Loving thy neighbor, no matter their background, is the driver behind a band of Wimberley community members’ quest to organize the city’s first Pride Parade.
As Wimberley city leaders offered June 6 their support and encouragement for the event, many were moved to tears as organizers offered testimonials on the impact the parade could have on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community in the area.
“I have a husband, two daughters and five grandchildren,” said Pride march organizer David Martin. “Our families are as valid as any others. LGBTQ Pride is a family-friendly event by definition.”
Local business owners took to City Hall June 6 to express support for the march, calling it a great opportunity to bring people to Wimberley for the weekend. The march is scheduled for Sept. 21, which is typically one of the slowest economic periods in the city. Local residents said the parade could boost sales tax numbers, shopping, dining and lodging in the city.
Martin said Pride marches are still necessary as members of the LGBTQ community are still marginalized and oppressed, citing rhetoric from an Alabama elected official who recently called for the killing of all gay people.
“That is just one example, but it shows that these marches are still needed 50 years later,” Martin said.
It took one year for Bryan Burke’s daughter to confront her parents about being gay, which he embraced with open arms.
Addressing the council, Burke said his family was always accepting and loving of all people, no matter their race, sexual orientation or religion. But he did question why it took so long for his daughter to open up to him.
“It took her a year after she knew to actually tell us,” Burke said. “I always think it’s still society as a whole and things (people) see and hear. Maybe some of their peers even say things that are inappropriate that don’t support the differences.”
For Burke and his family, the parade will be an opportunity to show support to the LGBTQ community in Wimberley.
“(She) is not the only gay kid in Wimberley,” Burke said. “There is a bunch of them and some that have yet to come out because maybe it’s the feeling of the community.”
Councilmember Christine Byrne said she had chills on her body during the testimonials.
Mayor Susan Jaggers said there are members of the Wimberley community who are “old school” and may not support the march.
“However, a parade is a celebration of life; not just ordinary life but a life of love and tolerance, especially when you don’t agree with someone else’s view,” Jaggers said. “It would be a disservice if we had opposition during this parade. I would like to encourage that if you don’t agree with it, stay home. Otherwise, come down and support these folks.”