Saturday, May 10, 2014

Can We Do More For Houston Splash Than Just Party?

Houston Splash is our longtime official Black Pride event on the schedule of US national and international pride events sanctioned by the Center For Black Equity that run from April to November.

It draws many people in the Houston area, the surrounding region, and even from across the country because of the early May date that Houston Splash happens. 

It usually falls during the first weekend in May unless the huge Offshore Technology Conference chooses that date, and then it gets pushed back to the following weekend because OTC gets first dibs on 75% of the available H-town hotel rooms.

This year's 19th anniversary edition of Houston Splash got whacked by OTC this year.  It started May 7 and is running through May 11 at venues all over the Houston metro area.

But one of the things that has bothered me when I compare my local Black Pride event to others around the country is the glaring lack of programming or events that aren't revolving around a party or drag show.

It's one of the major reasons I don't attend many of the Houston Splash events because you can only do so many parties or drag shows, and there's more to Black SGL life than that.  It's also so heavily SGLcentric I feel along with many local trans people left out of many of the events.

I'm one of the people in H-town that feels there needs to be less party in Houston Splash and more purpose in this event.    

While I applaud the Houston Splash organizers for trying to address the issues I'm talking about in this post with the Wednesday Mental Health Forum and Thursday's sparsely attended transgender town hall, it pales in comparison to Black Prides in other locales that have in some cases vibrant daylong programming blocks that allow us to have substantive discussions about the issues affecting our Black Trans, bi and SGL community and draw people like me who like to have a purpose with their partying.

Other Black Pride cities have multiple town halls, poetry slams and keynote speakers as part of their Black pride weekends.  Atlanta has an annual State of Black Gay America Summit with keynote speakers and national LGBT leaders as part of their Black Pride programming.

If they can do it, why can't Houston, with the dynamic trans, bi, SGL leaders we have residing in the fourth largest and one of the most diverse cities in the country?

Maybe we can do as part of future Houston Splash programming an annual summit discussing the state of Black LGBT Texas or Black TBLG Houston, and use it as an opportunity to connect with straight African-American community leaders and organizations like the NAACP and the Houston Area Urban League     

I don't want the Black Pride event that represents my hometown to be about nothing except nonstop partying.  I believe it can and must do better.  With Houston Splash's 20th anniversary coming up next year, I hope the organizers of Houston Splash feel the same way as well. 

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