From Our Readers: August 2008

Crowd control problems at the Pride Parade. And another gay dad writes.


We all know this is a rebuilding year for Pride Houston. Pride Houston committees did a marvelous job making sure we even had a parade this year. Kudos to all the dedicated volunteers who made this weekend happen.

Unfortunately, crowd control was a serious problem. For the first time, I was afraid one of the HATCH youth, or one our volunteers, or one of our staff was going to be injured by the crowd. People were coming up to the HATCH youth, grabbing them and demanding beads. People were coming up to me, grabbing my arm, trying to take beads. We were literally fighting our way down parts of Westheimer.

In addition, I was continually telling very drunk adults, who were not part of our organization, that they (and their beers) needed to keep their hands off of the youth, keep their hands off me, and leave our entry right now. At no time during the worst of this was I able to even see a police officer.

I have thought about this for a long time. Since we (and I mean the entire community, not just Pride Houston) began the practice of parade throws, the parade has fundamentally changed. We have gone from a wonderful celebration of who and what we are to some strange sort of fourth-rate Mardi Gras.

I strongly encourage Pride Houston to stop the practice of parade throws. This will reduce costs for the entries, reduce cleanup costs, and avoid giving the crowd an excuse to assault the marchers.

D.L. (Deb) Murphy
Youth Services Specialist
HATCH/Montrose Counseling Center
Houston, Texas


I had the pleasure of reading “Above All, Fathers First” [June 2008]. Being a gay father, it really struck a note with me. Being from a very rural area of East Texas, my fears were the same as any other gay father: Would I lose my children? Would they hate me? Would my family hate me? It all weighs very heavily on the mind when facing the issue of coming out.

Coming out is never easy, but doubly hard given the area where I, and many other gay fathers, live.

It was wonderful to find that other gay dads have come out and still have their families, just as I do. I didn’t lose my kids, my family, my job, or the respect of the community I call home.

We are challenged every day to find ways to live as ourselves within what society considers acceptable. We walk a fine line between being a gay man and a gay father. Reality is, there is no difference between the two.

Mike Ray
Jasper, Texas

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