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  • Caitlyn Burge-Surles

North Texas Pride Foundation Continues Preparations for "Family-Friendly" Festival

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Latin drag queen performs in Bogota, Colombia [photograph]. iStock.

Although Pride Month has ended, LGBTQ+-oriented events in DFW are far from over. Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 30, for the 2023 North Texas Pride "Come as You Are" Festival, hosted in Plano, TX, by the North Texas Pride Foundation.

This year marks the 12th annual festival the North Texas Pride Foundation hosts. Since its early days, the festival has provided free tickets for children under 12. It is widely advertised as a family-friendly event. The festival includes a marketplace of vendors, food and drink, prizes, and events, including drag performances.

The North Texas Pride Foundation is made possible by various sponsors, historically including minor-oriented organizations such as Elevate North Texas Youth Shelter and Young Actors Guild McKinney in the lineup.

Elevate North Texas Youth Shelter states on its website that "LGBTQ+ youth are already a vulnerable population and at higher risk of anxiety, depression, homelessness, and self-harm than their non-LGBTQ peers" and seeks to allow LGBTQ+ youth an alternative to "quarantining with unsupportive family members."

One of Elevate's community partners is Prism Health North Texas, which provides hormone replacement therapy "for all transgender and non-binary individuals at little to no cost." Prism Health also offers a free condom delivery service called "Nice Package."

Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney will be featured as one of the festival's 2023 sponsors. A June 28 Facebook post for the foundation shared, "The North Texas Pride Foundation is pleased to announce returning Non-Profit Partner Sponsor, Open Hearts Trinity Presbyterian Church, to the 2023 'Come As You Are' Festival."

Open Hearts are a series of support groups offered by Trinity Presbyterian Church in McKinney, TX. TPC offers teen and "Trans-Parent" Open Hearts groups and a standard Open Hearts group.

Trinity Presbyterian's homepage states, "We take the Bible so seriously that we don't take every passage literally and miss the intended meaning. We are intentionally inclusive and welcome all, really all, who want to grow in grace, understanding, compassion, and service in the name of Christ Jesus."

TPC also hosts a Committee on Racial Equity to educate its congregation on systemic racism, attending city council meetings and forming a network of like-minded ministers across McKinney. Additionally, TPC requires "All employees and volunteers working with children under age 12…to be vaccinated and to wear masks for the safety of our children."

As the North Texas Pride Foundation and its sponsors prepare for the September festival, Texas legislators continue to refine legislation prohibiting minors from participating in or observing drag shows. Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 12 on June 18, 2023, imposing fines on drag performers and the businesses that host them for performing shows of a sexual nature in front of minors. The law will go into effect on September 1, 2023, and the North Texas Pride Foundation has yet to indicate whether they will impose age restrictions on their featured drag performances.


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