PaperCity Magazine

June 2019- Dallas

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Weekend festivities, in turn created its own celebration, which is known today as Dallas Southern Pride and Dallas Black Pride. Started in 1997, it coincided with a rivalry football game between Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M. Perhaps one of the last groups within the LGBTQ community to gain public acceptance is the trans population. Only recently have trans people been humanized in mainstream media by way of television shows such as Transparent and the public transition of Olympian Bruce Jenner, who became Caitlin Jenner after undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2017. Her journey was documented before millions of viewers via reality television shows I Am Cait and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. W hile Dallas' LGBTQ community still faces challenges, it also has many bragging rights. The city had its first gay parade in 1972, eventually coming together again and forming the Dallas Gay Pride Parade in 1982. Now named the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, the event draws tens of thousands. The Cathedral of Hope designed by architect Philip Johnson, serves the local LGBTQ community and is said to be the largest church of its kind in both physical size and its sizable member congregation. Numerous fundraisers supporting issues that impact the gay community have loyal followings in Dallas. There is the incredibly chic TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, an annual contemporary art auction benefiting the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. TWO x TWO, always a sell- out, is the second-largest fundraiser for amfAR in the world. The Dallas chapter of DIFFA (Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS) is notably strong, with nearly 2,000 attending its annual gala, which raises funds to provide education and direct care service grants for men, women, and children affected by HIV/ AIDS. And since its inception in 1982, Black Tie Dinner has been the largest fundraising dinner for the LGBTQ community in the nation and to date has distributed more than $23 million to LGBTQ organizations. Few more pivotal laws symbolize progress in LGBTQ rights than when, in 2015, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage. Dallasites George Harris and the late Jack Evans — often described as the elder statesmen of the Dallas gay community — had been a couple for 50 years, when the momentous Supreme Court ruling was announced. They were the first in line to get married — and they hold the title of being the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Dallas. When asked to measure how far society has come in terms of equal human rights, answers often vary by generation and age. Baby Boomers might find today's world a radically new environment, given the vast scope of societal and legal changes they have observed since the post-war era. Generation Xers, on the other hand, may yield a sense of apprehension when it comes to measuring the progress of LGBTQ rights — perhaps the result of having come of age during the fear- mongering years of the AIDS epidemic. Millennials tend to fall on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, viewing sexuality in even more fluid terms. And only time will tell what Generation Z will bring to the table. A fitting statement of our current times — and the millennial impact on the future conversation surrounding sexuality and gender — perhaps, comes from 27-year-old Fred Holston. "Within the last couple of years, I've started to allow myself to let go of gender altogether, and everything started making sense," says Holston. "The reason I felt out of place and had a hard time connecting with the gay male experience was because I wasn't a gay man, and in fact, I wasn't any kind of man … I am not a man. I am not a woman. I am Fred." And with that, the future is blown wide open.

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