Qmmunity: Austin Pride Made the Right Call

Yes, Pride’s cancellation is sad. But it brings us one step closer to a post-pandemic future.

Austin Pride Parade, 2017 (Photo by Jana Birchum)

"Now more than ever." I've opined here before on how maddening I find that phrase, but there are some situations, I think, in which the stakes cannot be described in any other way. Right now is one of those moments. Now more than ever, we need to recognize the only way out of the COVID-19 crisis is together. On Wed., Aug. 11, Austin Pride announced it was postponing this Saturday's Pride Parade and afterparty for an indeterminate amount of time out of safety concerns. Their message to Austinites was clear: We're in this together.

I, and countless others, feel for Austin Pride. These are tough decisions in relentlessly tough times, and when looking at events like Pride, turning the ship around isn't a matter of just flipping the switch. Permits have been secured, float fees paid, talent booked, events promoted, and liquor orders placed. The same goes for anyone or any business hosting (or having had to call off) Pride events. I'm not a bartender, club owner, performer, nor event organizer, so I can't speak to what I imagine is a difficult reality.

It didn't have to be this way. But thanks to state leadership, who bid adieu to science long, loooong ago, the hand-wringing, the anxiety, the tough calls have instead been dumped onto their denizens – you, me, all of us. In spite of that, there are people doing what they can to help mitigate risk. Austin Pride, after pulling the plug, is now among those, and just this week, Blues on the Green canceled.

Although Saturday's parade and afterparty were outdoors, where the risk of transmission is considered much lower compared to being inside, Austin Pride made the right call. For one, COVID-19 can spread from fully vaccinated people to those who can't get vaccinated. Worse, too, is the fact that the Delta variant can infect fully vaxxed people, who, because of Delta's higher viral load, are more likely to potentially infect people while they're asymptomatic. Indoor gatherings, like in bars and clubs, also spell bad news for community transmission.

We can – and must – do our part. That means getting fully vaxxed (if you're not already) and really committing to prevention measures, like masking up and getting tested within 72 hours of gathering with others. Ideally, that also means avoiding nonessential events, especially ones where masking and vaccination isn't required, but if that's not in the cards, then at the very least we can require it of ourselves and urge others to do the same.

If we know the very worst outcomes of our actions could mean death, hospitalization, and the general prolonging of suffering that is enduring a global pandemic, why then even entertain the risk? I miss Pride, especially after its two-year absence, but our actions today determine what's possible tomorrow, including future Pride celebrations. By canceling Saturday's events, Austin Pride organizers brought us closer to our post-pandemic future.

2 to Do

Pride Pool Party Attendees will need to verify their COVID-19 vaccination through the Clear app prior to arrival at the event or provide a negative test result received within 72 hours of the event; see ticket link for instructions. 100% of ticket sales benefit the Equality Alliance. Sat., Aug. 14, noon-7pm. W Hotel, 200 Lavaca. $40-50. whotelaustin.com.

"Everybody Say Love" Pride Market Shop 20-plus local queer vendors, alongside an afternoon of drag performances by Ritzy Bitz, Celia Light, and Casady Milan, photo ops by Sean Peters, and music by DJ Eriq Stylez. Sun., Aug. 15, 11am-3pm. South Congress Hotel, 1603 S. Congress. fb.com/southcongresshotel.

Q'd Up

Thurs-GAY Pool Party Geraldine's kicks off Austin Pride weekend a li'l early poolside with special drinkity drinks and DJ Kick It. $1 from every frozen "CAUSE-Mo" purchased will be donated to the Trevor Project. Thu., Aug. 12, 5-8pm. Geraldine's, 605 Davis. $20. hotelvanzandt.com/austin-restaurants/geraldines.

Special Session Strategies In preparation for the second special session of the 87th Texas Legislature, Equality Texas hosts an updated messaging and testimony training session for advocates and organizers. Thu., Aug. 12, 6:30-8:30pm. Online. Free (registration required). fb.com/equalitytexas.

Austin Pride Presents RAW Oilcan's turns down the lights for folks to turn up while showing off their favorite gear. Thu., Aug. 12, 10pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. Free. fb.com/austinpride.

Velvet Dreams: Austin Pride Weekend Nothing says Purrr-ide like not one but two days of all-day pool parties, live DJs, cocktail specials, and more. Aug. 13 & 15. Fri., 6pm; Sun., noon. W Hotel, 200 Lavaca. $20-40. wetdeckatx.com.

Pre-Pride Fuego In celebration of Austin Pride, our favorite QTBIPOC dance party-meets-market is going all out with an amazing lineup of local performers and DJs, plus an all-queer market. Free PPE provided on-site by Austin Latino Coalition. Fri., Aug. 13, 7pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. $10. fb.com/fridafridayatx.

Drip Drop IX Austin Black Pride, Pink Elephant Radio, and others host a hotter-than-hot night of live music, dancing, and Pride vibes. Fri., Aug. 13, 9:30pm. Cedar Street Courtyard, 208-C W. Fourth. $10-20. fb.com/dripdropatx.

Poo Poo Platter Enough is enough, y'all, and the Poo Poo Platter girls are taking things into their own hands. Bulimianne Rhapsody, Louisianna Purchase, Arcie Cola, Kitty Buick, CupCake, Summer Clearance, and Basura summon their darkest, most dragtastic forces to help save queen Britney. Fri., Aug. 13, 10pm. Elysium, 705 Red River. $5. fb.com/poopooatx.

Category Is ... LatinXXX Tatiana Cholula presents a post-Pride Parade party full of Latinx queerness and fierceness. Performances by Ruby Knight, Honey Baby, Arinna Heys, and Bohemia, plus music from Suxxy Puxxy, Aldo, and DJ Lilith. Sat., Aug. 14, 10pm. Cuatro Gato, 310 Colorado. $5 cover. instagram.com/cuatrogato.austin.

Sounds on Saturdays Pride Edition w/ Danny Tenaglia Sat., Aug. 14, 10pm. Summit Rooftop Lounge, 120 W. Fifth, 512/394-7347. $35. summitaustin.com.

Eastciders: Austin Pride Drag Brunch A fabulous way to end your weekend. Austin Eastciders Barton Springs will be hosting a drag show, offering $4 draft and brunch cocktails to complement their delicious brunch menu (replete with coffees and baked goods from local Austin vendors, plus salads, pizzas, and more), and the whole tasty shindig's a benefit for Out Youth, too. Hint: Try that watermelon cider, omg. Sun., Aug. 15, 10:30am-2:30pm. Austin Eastciders Barton Springs, 1530 Barton Springs Rd. austineastciders.com.

Sad Girls Only Explore the softer side of drag with hosts Ruby Knight and Louisianna Purchase and some very special (and v sad) guests. Mon., Aug. 16, 9:30pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $10. fb.com/sadgirlsonly.

BearBack Bingo Lady Grackle and CupCake play host while you play to win prizes. Tuesdays, 9-11pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. Free. fb.com/theironbearatx.

Drag Queen Bingo Play for prizes between performances by Ms. Louisianna Purchase herself. The Little Gay Shop joins in the fun in honor of Austin's Pride Month. Wed., Aug. 18, 7-9pm. St. Elmo Brewing Co., 440 E. St. Elmo. Free. stelmobrewing.com.

Boyz of Austin Austin's only drag king troupe queers up Fourth Street tonight. Wed., Aug. 18, 9-11pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. No cover. fb.com/boyzofaustin.

theGlitoris Showcase presents La Goony Chonga, Iconika, DJ Elosi Thu., Aug. 19, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. swandiveaustin.com.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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