History was made in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley on June 10, 2017, as the city was the first in the Rio Grande Valley to recognize June as Pride Month.
Reaction has been mixed, with some celebrating and others criticizing the city’s action.
A city commissioner read the proclamation designating June 2017 as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Pride Month.
Those who identify as LGBTQ believe the proclamation is significant because of the discrimination the community has faced for years in the conservative state of Texas and in the predominantly Catholic Rio Grande Valley.
“But for people of color it’s very important for us in particular because for a lot of times when you’re at that intersection of multiple minority groups you can feel especially closeted,” Caleb Arellano told News Center 23’s Marlane Rodriguez after the proclamation was read.
“[The Proclamation] shows that it is okay to be yourself especially nowadays its really helpful for those individuals who may or may not feel comfortable expressing who they are,” he said.
Local activist Jose Uvalles worked closely with Brownsville commissioners to make the proclamation happen. He gave a speech at the meeting after the proclamation was read.
“I feel happy, I feel proud of my community, I feel so proud of the commission for standing up to be more inclusive,” Uvalles said.
Supporters of LGBTQ rights came from across the Rio Grande Valley to witness an action very dear to their hearts.
“It sends a message out to lawmakers, representatives in the [Rio Grande Valley] and all across Texas that we should be an inclusive community and we do stand with the LGBT community and anyone here that is LGBT this is a place for you,” Dani Marrero said.
LGBTQ community members were invited to stand as the proclamation was read, while a rainbow flag was displayed and a drag queen stood proudly.
“It’s a very powerful action and I really hope that our youth see how much our city believes in them,” Diego Huerta said.
It was an overwhelming and joyous moment for those in attendance.
The Proclamation in part calls upon the residents of Brownsville to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the great diversity of the city.