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Pride Comes to The Woodlands

The Woodlands, Texas, an affluent township north of Houston, is getting its very own Pride celebration and they sat down to talk to About Magazine about it first.

If you’re a native of Houston, or if you’ve been a transplant long enough to have made your rounds in and out of the metropolitan area, you probably are at least somewhat familiar with the Woodlands. Located just 30 miles from Downtown Houston, The Woodlands has been around since 1974, when oil industry investor George P. Mitchell (yes, that’s right, husband of Cynthia Woods Mitchell, the namesake of the performance pavilion) attended a conference on developing HUD Title VII towns. For Millennials who grew up in Houston and its surrounding areas, The Woodlands was sort of an escapist township – the place with the lake that had its very own animatronic monster, the place with the giant mall that had the carousel. But in the last ten years, the Woodlands has seen a boom not only in business, but in infrastructure, population, and net worth.

WATERWAY2 Pride Comes to The Woodlands
The Woodlands’ Waterway

The Woodlands now serves as a sort of city of its own. Recently, the township has introduced new dining and shopping establishments along the coast of Lake Woodlands, introduced its very own San Antonio-esque waterway (which is still growing in terms of business), and countless new residences throughout its 43.9 sq mi spread. Spreading from the Sawdust Rd. area all the way up to Research Forest, The Woodlands is only growing continuously. And while the residents are majority Christian, right-wingers, that isn’t stopping the newly founded The Woodlands Pride (TWP) from setting up shop to the LGBTQIA community, which will be hosted on September 8th, 2018

About Magazine has the lucky fortune of running the first interview with TWP’s director of public relations, Ryan Elkins.


About Magazine: What brought about the idea to give The Woodlands its own Pride, and who came up with it?

The idea was brought up by Jason Rocha, our CEO. After a walk along the waterway, where he envisioned a Pride event, he began to make some calls and reach out to community activists in The Woodlands and surrounding areas about forming a committee to organize a Pride Festival.

market-street Pride Comes to The Woodlands
The Woodlands’ Market Street

With The Woodlands being a community of diversity and welcoming to people from all walks of life, The Woodlands is [now] ready and has been ready for quite some time for an event like this. [It’s] a festival to show unity, love, and support for the LGBTQIA community. The Woodlands has never given our community a fair opportunity, mostly due to the fact that the LGBTQIA community has never been presented with an event like this in the area. So we are excited to show our support for The Woodlands and surrounding areas, as we know they feel the same about us.

What can we expect from TWP? Will it be different from Pride Houston?

You can expect TWP to be different than any other pride; just as no pride event in any community is the same.  We often attend Pride Houston and other events, so we hope our friends and allies in the Greater Houston Area will come and support us!

The Woodlands is a pretty conservative area of town. Are you all worried there may be some backlash from those in the community?

We are only focused on the positive and our mission. To connect, celebrate, educate and foster relationships in the LGBTQIA community while promoting equality, unity, and love in The Woodlands and beyond. We love our community. That’s why we’re here. We are looking forward to contribute and enhance why The Woodlands is so special.

What is TWP most excited about for this event?

TWP is most excited about organizing the first Pride Festival in The Woodlands! This is just the beginning of many great things to come not only for The Woodlands and surrounding areas, but for the LGBTQIA community as a whole.

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Town Green Park where TWP will be held

I used to live in the Woodlands off Research and can attest to the fact that it feels like its own little city (and has been reported to be the fastest-growing city in the United States). Do you think that the expansion and constant growth of the Woodlands marks it time to establish your own Pride?

Absolutely. With the constant growth of The Woodlands, and the diversity of people moving here from all types of backgrounds, 2018 is the year to establish our own Pride. So, why not now?

Do you think that in years to come you’ll continue to celebrate TWP in September? What made September feel like the right time?

More than likely, we will celebrate The Woodlands Pride in September moving forward. We want to respect our neighbors to the south, Pride Houston, as well as hope for slightly cooler weather.

In the past, society has set a date or month to celebrate Pride when our community was tolerated. But now that we are accepted, everyday is Pride day!

“We are only focused on the positive and our mission. To connect, celebrate, educate and foster relationships in the LGBTQIA community while promoting equality, unity, and love in The Woodlands and beyond.”

Tell me about the team at TWP. Who should we be thanking for making all of this come to life? Are some of you new to working for Pride orgs, or are some of you seasoned in it?

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The Woodlands Pride Board of Directors

TWP has an incredible group of individuals on our board of directors, and this is truly a group effort!

We have two political activists that both previously ran for office, two veteran board members for other pride organizations, and other local leaders.

Everyone brings their own strengths and valuable experience to the table that is going to make our Pride Festival on September 8th a huge success.

Who we should be thanking is The Woodlands and surrounding areas for expressing their love and support. This is a celebration for the LGBTQIA and our allies.

Are there any important details that we should know about? Dates, times, etc.?

Yes, save the date! The Woodlands Pride Festival will be on September 8th, 2018! We are still working on the minor details such as the time, before and after events, as well as fundraisers. But to receive the latest updates, follow us at ‘The Woodlands Pride’ on Facebook and Instagram. As well as @WoodlandsPride on Twitter and Snapchat.


You can RSVP to TWP on Facebook here.

Pride Houston Announces New President

The organization announced Lo Roberts as president and CEO after legal battle with former president, Frankie Quijano

Houston, TX —  Pride Houston proudly announced Lorin “Lo” Roberts has accepted the position of president and CEO on October 1 after receiving a unanimous vote by Pride Houston’s Board of Directors in late September 2017. While the transition was not without some bumps, Pride Houston is happy to announce the appointment and looks forward to a bright future for the organization.

Lo considers herself a proud Houstonian and was honored to accept the role of Pride Houston president, as well as all of the responsibility it entails. She began volunteering with Pride eight years ago and has served on different production committees and in various leadership positions including Parade Committee co-chair, Volunteer Committee chair, and member-at-large on the Board of Directors.

Lorin-Roberts-pride-houston-about-magazine-2018-copy-718x1024 Pride Houston Announces New President“Lo was, in essence, our vice president last year,Dan Cato, board observer and marketing director said. “She took on entirely new levels of responsibility with professionalism and grit, even dropping everything to organize a major event in less than 24 hours.”

Lo sees Houston’s diversity and its unique blend of cultures as an incredible resource and advantage and would like to see that diversity emphasized in Pride and the LGBTQIA community.

“The rights of everyone under the LGBTQIA umbrella are extremely important. But there needs to be a larger emphasis on supporting the visibility of people of color in this community. Especially the rights and lives of black trans people, who find themselves disproportionately affected by violence, homelessness, and a lack of social services.”

Lo has charged the organization by developing short- and long-term goals to convert this emphasis into action and to reinvigorate Pride’s advocacy spirit.

“The fight for equal rights in our community is just as important now as it ever has ever been, especially given the political climate in Washington D.C. It’s important to stay active in our advocacy and remember that there are many people in the world that don’t want LGBTQIA people to have their freedoms. And in a city like Houston, a city of over 2.3 million people, an organization like Pride needs to exist to serve as a mouthpiece for our people and to provide them with what they need to live happy, healthy, secure lives. But the first step to getting to that place is to create a more inclusive environment in our organization and make sure that all people within the community—black, white, Hispanic, Asian, bisexual, intersexual, trans, etc.feel represented by Pride Houston.”

Other major objectives for the organization in the coming year include re-establishing relationships with other LGBTQIA non-profits, outreach to primary and secondary institutions of learning, relaunching scholarship programs, and devoting new resources to the health and wellness needs of the the different LGBTQIA populations that call Houston home.

About Pride Houston:

For 40 years, Pride Houston has been a central part of the local LGBTQIA community in Houston. The 2018 Houston LGBT Pride Celebration®, the fourth largest in the nation, will again be held in Downtown Houston continuing the legacy that began on the steps of City Hall in 1977 with the protest against Anita Bryant which is widely considered Houston’s “Stonewall Movement”.

For more information on the 2018 Celebration go to www.pridehouston.org

Pride Houston, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization out of Houston, Texas.

Montrose Gets Rainbow Crosswalk In Time For Pride 2017

Rendering of 'Rainbow' Crosswalks at Westeimer Rd and Taft Street. (About Magazine)
Rendering of 'Rainbow' Crosswalks at Westeimer Rd and Taft Street. (About Magazine)

Houston’s Vibrant LGBTQ+ Community Of Montrose Gets The First Rainbow Crosswalk In Texas Just In Time For Pride.

(HOUSTON) — Pride Houston, Inc. has unveiled the state’s first ever plans for a Rainbow LGBTQ+ crosswalk. The installation will be located at the intersection of Westheimer Road and Taft Street. Located in Houston’s vibrate LGBTQ+ community of Montrose, the project is slated for completion by June 24.

The intersection chosen by a volunteer based committee raised upwards of over $15,000 for the project.

Montrose-Rainbow-Crosswalk Montrose Gets Rainbow Crosswalk In Time For Pride 2017
(Render provided by the Houston Pride Crosswalk Committee)

“While the project was initially requested by friends of Alex Hill, the idea behind the crosswalk is to also honor the support and friendship many find in Houston’s LGBTQ+ community,” said Matthew Brollier, project facilitator for the Houston Pride Crosswalk Committee.

Alex Hill, a twenty-one-year-old gay man lost his life at the intersection by a hit and run driver. The popular location is already home to a traffic box mural honoring Hill.

“The hope is that the crosswalk serves as a marker of encouragement to all Houstonians and visitors in recognizing the city as a welcoming place, open to all people, and one that celebrates its diversity,” Brollier said.

UP Art Studio will lead the project’s design, a firm known for Houston’s vibrant traffic signal control cabinet murals, including Hill’s.

“Pride Houston is excited to bring the state’s first rainbow crosswalks to Houston,” Frankie Quijano, President of Pride Houston Inc., tells About News. “Let this be a reminder to everyone in the state and country that Houston embraces diversity and everyone is welcome here.”

LeAnn Rimes Headlines Houston Pride Fest 2017

The Internationally Acclaimed Country- Pop Singer Will Headline The Houston Pride Festival Stage On June 24, 2017.

(HOUSTON) — County and Pop Superstar LeAnn Rimes will headline Houston’s Pride Festival in downtown Houston on Saturday, June 24, Pride Houston Inc. has announced.

The LGBTQ community is family to me,” Rimes released in a statement. “My music wouldn’t be the same without the love, and inspiration.

Rimes, on a current whirlwind of Pride performances and spreading love, hits the festival stage in Houston at 3 PM. Her new single ‘Love Is Love Is Love,’ will surely be a hit amongst Houston’s LGBTQ+ community.

The free concert and festival is open to the public and will be located in the plaza in front of City Hall downtown. There is no age limit to attend, and no tickets needed. Gates are expected to open at 12:00 PM.

Immediately following the Houston Pride Festival, the attentions turns to the Houston Pride Parade. The annual parade has an attendance of over 700,000 people every year from all over the world.

Pride Houston 2017 will be a musical one indeed—in addition to Rimes, Pride Houston has promised an amazing entertainment line-up and show stopping parade.