DALLAS - The 36th annual Dallas Pride Parade kicked off Sunday afternoon in a new location for the first time.
Pride organizers say they made the decision to move the festival and parade to Fair Park because of costs, space, and a construction project along Cedar Springs Rd. in Oak Lawn, which is where the parade typically is every year.
In response, Transgender Pride of Dallas held a separate march downtown, where organizers believe their message is more visible to the public.
Organizers say with the event growing each year and a construction project disrupting the Oak Lawn neighborhood where the festivities usually take place, the move to Fair Park made sense for this year's pride.
“I think it was an amazing decision,” said Jake Ballinger, director of the Umbrella Program. “The venue was incredible, being indoors was the best decision they could've made because it was pouring down rain so everybody was still able to come inside and enjoy the festivities.”
But moving the parade over to Fair Park had some concerned about how it will affect the community's visibility and the ability to spread their inclusive message to the public.
“I would prefer it be out in the city streets just like it is in all the other large cities. Austin, Houston, San Antonio, they all have their pride parades downtown,” said Heather Howard, with Transgender Pride of Dallas.
“I feel like the parade should be out in the public. We're only going to change hearts and minds by being out and in the public. Having the parade inside the festival, we're really just cheering for ourselves,” Ethan Avanzino, with Transgender Pride of Dallas, added.
Transgender Pride of Dallas hosted a separate march from Dallas City Hall to Fair Park before the pride parade to fight for trans’ rights to basic needs, like health care and shelter.
“We're not here to hurt anyone, we don't want any rights anyone else doesn't have. We just want to be treated as equals,” Howard said.
With each step, spreading their message to the public along the streets of downtown Dallas.
“We are transgender people, we are here. We are your neighbors. We are your coworkers. We are your friends, and we're just here for love and acceptance,” Avanzino added.
“I just want to lend support and let people know you don't have to be gay to be friends with gay people, to support gay rights, to support transgender rights, it's normal, everybody should be part of it,” LGBTQ supporter Natalya Efros said.
Dallas pride officials say they haven't made a decision on if the festival and parade will move back to oak lawn next year.