Terry and Jamie Fuller-Waymire are a gay Galveston couple that have been creating spaces and experiences for LGBTQ islanders and tourists for the last three years with their annual Pride Galveston celebrations. They are holding out hope that 2020 can still include some Pride partying, even if COVID-19 has sent most of the season out with the tide.
“Years ago, there was a club called the Third Coast Downtown. They always threw a big beach weekend. After the bar closed, the event kind of fizzled out. That’s when we were approached to do Pride Galveston. We were known for doing many special events, and we thought that we would be able to get it off the ground,” says Terry.
The Galveston couple has been together for eleven years and married for four. Terry, who is 40 and originally from Los Angeles, met Jamie, a 50-year-old Houston native, through mutual friends. They moved to Galveston six years ago, and their roots in the community developed fast as they took on Pride Galveston only a few years after their move. These two men are uniquely situated to lead the way for Galveston’s growing Pride organization.
When they aren’t working their day jobs at an engineering firm, Jamie is a mobile DJ who usually does wedding and corporate events, while Terry has a side gig that’s a little flashier. “My drag name is Kiki Dion Van Wales. I have been doing drag for about ten and a half years. I am all over the place. In Galveston I do a lot of corporate and special events.
I also perform at Robert’s Lafitte and 23rd Street Station. Every other month I am at the Eagle, where we do a regular Out for Brunch fundraiser,” he says.
Out for Brunch is a significant event for the couple. On July 19, Robert’s Lafitte will host the brunch that will benefit Pride Galveston—COVID-19 restrictions permitting. The fundraiser was originally scheduled to take place in March, in order to raise money for Pride Galveston’s regular summer events. But as with almost everything fun in 2020, it was all pushed back.
“With everything other than our full-time jobs put on standby because of COVID-19, we had to [reschedule all of the Pride] events,” says Terry.
But there is good news for brunch attendees: admission to Out for Brunch is free, and all of the money raised from the $10 Mexican brunch plates (and the tips earned by the likes of Van Wales herself) will help make Pride Galveston a huge success in September—restrictions permitting.
“We keep these events free so that a ticket price isn’t a barrier for people. We are still a small Pride, so we want to make sure that the community has access,” says Terry.
If all goes as planned, the three-day Pride Galveston celebration will commence on September 18 with the annual Mister and Miss Pride Galveston Pageant at Lafitte’s. Then on Saturday the 19th, the Beach Bash starts at 10 a.m. on the Apffel East Beach, where the LGBTQ community can enjoy DJs and pop-up tents all day. With the tropical climate of Southeast Texas promising hot weather throughout September, free food as well as the all-important bottled water will be provided by Walgreens.
That evening, 23rd Street Station will host the White Party. Things wrap up on Sunday back at Lafitte’s for the second annual pool party featuring poolside DJs and special shows inside until around 7.
“We will be responding to the City’s guidelines regarding COVID-19. If we are not able to have the event in person due to social distancing, we will try to work on something virtually,” Terry notes.
The couple also recognizes that, particularly this year, the event needs to show its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Plans are underway to make sure that that supportive presence is recognized during the weekend’s events.
“If people are curious about Pride Galveston or Out for Brunch, they should visit our website at pridegalveston.com. We can answer any questions you have through the website,” says Jamie. “We are thinking about all of our community right now, and we’re being vigilant about COVID-19 and the important issues surrounding Black Lives Matter.”
This article appears in the July 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.