Qmmunity Goes Over the Rainbow on the Creek
Qmmunity Editor James Scott reviews Waterloo Greenway’s Pride event
By James Scott,
6:40PM, Sun. Jun. 12, 2022
On Saturday, June 11, I got up before 9am – a rare occasion. My early rising was for an important reason: Me, Chron Event Coordinator Cassie Arredondo, and a buncha Qmmunity branded stickers were set to be at a booth from 10am to 2pm at Waterloo Greenway’s Pride event, Rainbow on the Creek.
With eggs, toast, and an obligatory gulp of coffee in my system, I headed down to Trinity Street to park and met Cassie at the curb. The kind Waterloo Greenway folks drove a bunch of our supplies to our booth, which we then organized into a pretty neat booth set-up. I’m no expert designing a space, so much of the credit goes to Cassie. She brought tons of great accoutrements to decorate our 10ft x 10 ft space: a rug, chairs, a patio table, plus Austin Chronicle and Qmmunity branded swag to hand out like stickers, can coolers, bandanas, and copies of the paper. My decorative contributions were smaller: a pink tablecloth and a unicorn plush – to represent previous Gay Place mascot Dandy Unicorn.
Surrounding our booth were notable nonprofits and local queer friendly orgs like Human Rights Campaign Austin (who kindly gave us some of their mini Gatorades), UT Austin’s Gender and Sexuality Center, Equality Texas, Out Youth, and many others. Adjacent to the orgs’ booths was a market set up by Frida Friday ATX. Vendors familiar to anyone knee-deep in the queer outdoor market scene (my personal guilty pleasure) lined the curve of the amphitheater opposite to our booth – The Little Gay Shop, Pride Socks, Las Ofrendas, just to name a few.
Folks trickled in over the next five-ish hours with varying levels of familiarity with the Chronicle. We even got a visit from Qmmunity/Chron contributor Lilli Hime, taking a break from the UT GSC table. Older couples swiped copies of our latest issue while complaining they couldn’t find the alt-weekly at the specific Walgreens they shop at; kids hid behind a parent’s leg while pointing at one of our cool new rainbow Austin Chronicle stickers; and one person asked if Qmmunity was, like, a mutual aid thing. In a sense, yes, my column and event listings are mutual aid: I supply all the ATX elgebetes with fantastic event info and in return, those same readers go off and do cool events so I have more stuff to list. But also, I’m maybe stretching what mutual aid means – something I’m sure news writer/proofer/member of the elgebete family Lina Fisher will gripe at me about.
Cassie sold the heck out of Qmmunity and the Chron, and also did a bang-up job of getting tons of cool photos. Her social media game is truly top tier, so if you caught any Instagram stories of our time at RotC, thank her. Plenty of folks – young, old, four-legged – showed off their photogenic support of the Chron and Qmmunity, and listened as we hyped all the great stories in the new issue. If at times we had to shout to be heard over the lovely tunes of Pelvis Wrestley and DJ Kick It, that didn’t dissuade anyone. After all, Pride is a celebration and everyone was enjoying themselves.
Later on, I took a stroll around the different booths and vendors, gathering various sunglasses and hand sanitizers. Two places I’ve received gender-affirming care from were represented, one being Kind Clinic where I get hormone care, and the other being the Crane Center, the practice my top surgery doctor belongs to. Somehow knowing I’d already given Crane Center about $3,000 to masculinize my chest made getting a gratis drawstring bag and eggplant emoji keychain from them feel strange – but hey! I always enjoy free chachkies.
Another booth I visited was the All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival, aka aGLIFF, who just wrapped their Mini-Film-a-Thon at the start of June. Taking a brief break from the sun, I chatted with aGLIFF President Todd Hogan-Sanchez about his experience at RotC. He and aGLIFF had been to a few events this June, like Round Rock’s Pride, and seeing all the LGBTQ activations popping up was really inspiring, Sanchez said. “It's just super cool to see this kind of wave of change,” he said. “And it seems to really be kind of grassroots. It's also one of the wonderful things that I'm finding at a lot of these events is so many allies and straight people [are] coming out to engage, to learn, to connect, and to support.”
aGLIFF did have, of course, a Plinko-type game set up to win little prizes at. I won a miniature film marquee keychain – because “we’re a film festival, get it?” Sanchez laughed. “We’re so clever.” The prizes on offer – all great – foreshadow the awesome swag bags at the upcoming Prism 35, aGLIFF’s big film festival in August, so grab your badges for that soon.
The day wound down, and as the clock hit 1:40pm, I was flagging energy-wise. Turns out skipping lunch in 100-plus degree weather makes one a little loopy. As Cassie and I started packing up our successfully bare table of swag and the booth decorations, one last performer took the stage. Heyonce the Vocalist’s amazing performance and enthusiasm ended the morning shift of Rainbow on the Creek perfectly. With most of our stuff packed, we stood still and took in the show. Hearing “Halo” sung among hundreds of rainbow flags was an excellent cap on one of my first Qmmunity event outings.
To learn more about Waterloo Greenway’s upcoming events, check out their website at waterloogreenway.org/events.