Gay Place

Communication with Austin Pride is a two-way street

A HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPIN This past Tuesday was City Council Member Randi Shade's birthday. I was at her shindig at Cheer Up Charlie's as both DJ and de facto co-host. The day after the party, I voted early and gleefully pulled the lever for Shade in Place 3. It might seem obvious to regular GP readers that I would do this, considering her bold stand for QueerBomb amid last year's blurry Austin Pride fracas. QueerBomb, for those of you joining the party late, was organized last year as both an answer to our town's commerce-driven and increasingly conservative Pride as well as a refuge for those folks who felt uncomfortable with those types of manifestations of our city's annual gay celebration. But, believe it or not, that is not what drove me to the polls. What drove me to the polls and what made me want to put my name on a birthday party for this fairly mainstream council member and re-election candidate was something else altogether. What she did touched me deeply and reignited my faith in city government. Last December, when a friend of mine was gay bashed right out in the open in front of our gay-club district, nobody stood by him. Nobody stepped in to get him and his pal out of harm's way. Shade availed herself to him and listened to his issues, including the shock he felt that this could happen here in our cozy city and with the utter lack of direction and care given him by the first responding police. And instead of twisting him in red tape and city bureaucracy, Shade got down to business in that way that she does and invited him to visit with the Hate Crimes Task Force. She's kept a line open to him, he's told me, and his ideas for safety concerns for LGBT folks will be heard right at the source. This week, I'll be talking with Bobby Beltran, my friend who was attacked, and we will hit the Gay Place Blog once again with our thoughts.

THE FALL OF PRIDE So the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation, the group "formed in 2010 to take on the task of putting on Austin's annual Gay Pride Parade and Festival," has definitely moved Austin Pride to September; it is not happening in June this year. Richard Whittaker reports on this in our News section (see "Pride Goeth to the Fall," News), and AGLPF has opened itself up to our questions and is cooperating by offering answers. We encourage them to stay as open with everyone else, to truly listen to the community. In our discussion with new Prez Karen Thompson and Secretary Rick Holmberg, both expressed surprise at our assertion that the community was dissatisfied with aspects of Pride 2010 and defended last year's fest with the statement that they had only received one official complaint. Well, if an entire counter-Pride organization and march (QueerBomb) wasn't loud enough, we're not sure what will be, but we are going to take the prez at her word. Again, we're happy to see Thompson's open approach to communication, but for it to have impact, it will have to be a two-way street. So have at it, Austin. It's your Pride.

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Gay Place, Randi's Big Gay Birthday Bash, Randi Shade, Cheer Up Charlie, Hate Crimes Task Force, Bobby Beltran, Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation, Austin Pride, AGLPF, Karen Thompson, Rick Holmberg, QueerBomb

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