If you live in Austin, you may have noticed that Pride’s been weirdly absent the past few years, and this isn’t without reason. Thanks to COVID-19 and its ongoing impact, Austin hadn’t held an official Pride since 2019. However, after two long years, Austin Pride finally came back in full swing over the weekend! While there were plenty of festivals and local pride events that took place during Pride Month, AKA June, the actual City of Austin didn’t celebrate it till this past Saturday. People showed up in droves for the all-day extravaganza, which had an estimated turn-out of 400,000 attendees.
Austin Pride’s “Beyond The Rainbow” Festival kicked off at 11 AM with back-to-back performances at Fiesta Gardens. The acts ranged from well-known celebrities and drag queens like Kylie Sonique Love and Babiboi, all the way to musicians like headliner Cupcakke. Who came in swinging with her opener “LGBT”, a song that became a viral sensation all over TikTok. After the festival, which ended around 7 PM, attendees flooded Congress Avenue for the official Pride Parade.
The Parade started off with a bang, as a considerable amount of bikers, all decked out in pride flags and rainbow colors, bustled down the street. The motorcyclists were followed up by nearly three hours of various companies, organizations, and queer folk, all making their mark on Austin Pride 2022. Some notable walkers came from the Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association, which is the first official LGBTQ+ Police Association in the state of Texas. Most of the group were dressed in uniform, while others dawned kilts, as they all stepped in line with live bagpipes.
The Consulate General of Mexico was also there, carrying a large “Mexicans for Pride” banner. HEB had a massive group of people walking down Pride, proving once and for all Here Everything’s Better. And they weren’t the only grocery store getting in on the action. Following a Walmart van, Walmart workers were also in attendance. The group carried a custom banner that read “Pride” in Walmart’s logo font. The Austin Front Runners showed up, jogging their way through the street. There were even some religious groups in attendance, one of which held a banner that read “You Are My PRIDE and Joy – Love God.” Another cute moment came from the Austin Fire Department, which rode a large red firetruck down the lane. Poking out of the side window of the truck were two women, one of whom held up a sign that read, “I’m not a firefighter, but my wife is.”
The entire event went off without a hitch, and Austin Pride 2022 serves as a reminder that these massive celebrations are essential. They give the city a sense of unity, a sense of belonging, a sense of well…pride! You are who you are, and that’s more than okay–in Austin it’s celebrated. Seeing queer officers and firefighters helps instill trust in our city. It shows that there are people like us in all aspects of our community. People who aren’t just tasked with fighting for us, but people who are like us. If Austin Pride 2022 is any indication, Austin Pride 2023 will be amazing, and I for one cannot wait.