June is Pride Month, and in honor of that, several events have been planned this month to offer LGBTQ West Texans a chance to celebrate and come together.
Xavier Garcia, general manager and show director at the Recovery Room, is hosting a weekend of events called Odessa Pride from June 22 to June 24, offering something for everyone from children to adults to spread awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
“Pride Month is about being who you are,” Garcia said. “Love who you are and love one another.”
The weekend will begin at 9 p.m. June 22 at the Recovery Room, 2802 N. County Road West, with a drag show, featuring famous drag performers Chi Chi LaRue and Jorgeous York as special guests. On Saturday will be an adult carnival for anyone 18 and up, featuring games, contests, and a DJ. The weekend will be capped off Sunday with a family barbecue at 5 p.m., inviting people of all ages to celebrate the weekend with a talent show, an amateur drag show, and various games and prizes.
There will be free STD testing offered that weekend and on Sunday there will be LGBTQ counselors at the event to talk to children, families, and anyone with questions about sexual orientation or transgender issues.
“You’re not alone is what we want everybody to know,” Garcia said. “People go through issues and we just want everybody there to help them.”
Another Pride Month event is taking place in Andrews starting at 4 p.m. June 15. West Texas Pride is a free festival inviting all families to come out and show support for LGBTQ issues. There will be two speakers talking during the festival, as well as live music, food and a drag show inside the community building.
“Especially in West Texas, I think it’s important that the LGBTQ community has a voice and that we’re recognized and that we’re visible,” West Texas Pride organizer Ben Gibson said. “We think it’s very important that they know we’re out here and that they don’t feel isolated.”
Gibson added that it can be difficult for some people to come out as gay or transgender in West Texas due to the strong sense of religion and conservatism in the region. Garcia agreed with this, and said part of Odessa Pride’s mission is to help improve the local LGBTQ community become more family-oriented.
“That’s really important to us, family is first,” Garcia said. “I understand people have their beliefs, we have to respect them as much as we want to be respected by our opinions and our beliefs.”
- What: Odessa Pride.
- When: 5 p.m. to midnight June 22-June 24.
- Where: Recovery Room, 2802 N. County Road West.
- What: West Texas Pride
- When: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. June 15.
- Where: Pioneer Park, Andrews.