September 24-26, 1995: Bob Barbour's Dallas Visit
July 1-4, 1995: Southern Decadence in New Orleans
Return to the Index for 1995

September 24, 1995
The Dallas Gay Pride Parade


This event overlaps the visit of my brother-in-law Bob to Dallas; you can see the pictures from his visit on the next album page. I had made plans with Mike Racke to attend the Dallas Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, September 24th; unfortunately, it was Fred's weekend to work at the greenhouses so he was not able to come down for the parage. Bob arrived today as well, about two hours before the parade, so I have left him and Jeffie at my house while I come down to meet Mike and watch the parade.

The route of the parade is pretty much the same every year. It runs from the intersection of Cedar Springs and Douglas Avenue, right by the Kroger, southeast along Cedar Springs and right through the heart of the largest gay neighborhood in Dallas. Most of the bars and clubs are located along Cedar Springs, and the apartments, townhouses and homes on both sides of Cedar Springs are largely gay-owned and/or occupied. The parade ends on the southeast side of Oak Lawn boulevard.

The Melrose Hotel is on the corner of Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs, and at first I thought that's where Mike, his friends and I would stand to watch the parade, but I got a call from him on Saturday telling me to meet him at the corner of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton.

I drove down a half hour before the parade, intending to meet Mike near the intersection and take up a position from where we could watch the parade.

So, before the beginning of the parade, I parked over on Lemmon Avenue and walked down Throckmorton to the parking lot by Lobo Bookstore where Mike, his friend Jake from Oklahoma, and another friend were waiting for me.

Fred and I have heard a lot about Jake, who is in the Army in Oklahoma going through medical training. He will shortly be transferring to Tampa, Florida. I didn't find out much about Mike's other friend, but there really wasn't time during the parade to talk much. The day was quite warm, and I shed the vest I was wearing pretty early.

(NOTE: I am creating this album page in 2015, and I cannot help but comment on the odd feelings I have when I see pictures of Mike. We always considered him a very, very good friend, which made the events of September 11, 2001 all the more tragic.)

When the parade actually began, we found we had a pretty good vantage point, so we just hung out together in a group watching the groups going by in the parade. I took a series of pictures during the event, and there is not much more I can say about them other than who or what the group was.

Here's what the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street in Dallas looked like before the parade got started. This is pretty much the center of the gay area of Dallas. JR's (preppy) is on the right far corner with TMC (rustic) beside it. A series of smaller bars extend down the right side of the street. On the left, which you can't see much of, are some shops and the Round-up Saloon (country and western). The crowd is awaiting the start of the parade. This view looks east, and the center of Dallas is out of sight in the distance. That's the Melrose Hotel (the brown brick building) and the Centrum (the new structure on the left). Turtle Creek is beyond them out of sight.

The parade began with an entry from The Names Project. As you may know, it is the Names Project that maintains the Quilt that you have heard much about. Larry Marshall and I made a panel for Grant in 1992, and it has been included in the Quilt. There are pictures of it earlier in this photo album; when it is available, look back at the Miscellaneous Pictures for 1992, and you will see some pictures that Larry and I took of the quilt panel shortly after we completed it. An in the pages for 1993, you can look at the album entry for September 18 of that year and see some pictures of it on display in the Quilt when the Quilt came to Fort Worth, Texas.

I will get to see Grant's panel again this December, when the Quilt comes back to Dallas. Each year, some of the panels prepared in the preceding year are carried in whichever Pride parade is closest to the subject's home. Although I was not here to see it, Grant's panel was carried in the parade in 1992.

In many cities, this annual event is simply the Gay Pride parade, although in some places, here included, it has more specific names. What the reason for that is I am not sure, but in any case the parade has begun. The pictures that will follow are not a complete record of the parade, but just views of whatever happened to catch my eye.

This is the entry of the P-FLAG ("Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays") organization from Denton County in the Gay Pride parade. Although this scene was not particularly colorful or noteworthy, I took it mostly to show to Fred. Fred lives in Grayson County, which is right next to Denton County north of Dallas. I wanted to let him know that at least in the county next to him, there must be some gays or lesbians. He is always pointing out that he lives out where there aren't any members of our clan, but there must be. Actually, he tells me that the bed and breakfast in Van Alstyne is run by two lesbians, although I am not sure he knows that for a fact.

Two of the cast of the play "Greater Tuna" riding, as their characters, in one of the parade units. Greater Tuna is a two-man play set in the mythical town of Tuna, Texas. Two gay men put it together originally, and Fred and I have been to see it over in Fort Worth. There is also a "sequel" called A Tuna Christmas, although we have not seen that. PBS has also broadcast the Greater Tuna play a couple of times. The play itself doesn't feature gay themes, but rather impersonations and a succession of vignettes all carried off by these two characters, who happen to be gay in real life. The play has achieved some national prominence and, not surprisingly, has a large gay following.

I wanted to get my picture of the "Greater Tuna" to include both characters looking right at me, but I was not able to achieve that in the three pictures I took. The picture above was the best one I was able to get.

I couldn't get enough in the shot at left to show why I thought it worth photographing. The drag queen is being "towed" by a boat in front of her (which is itself being towed by a car), making it look as if she is water skiing. Another "lady" in the boat in front of her is trying to cut the rope to cast her adrift. A cute concept.

At right is a picture of the float sponsored by The Crews Inn in today's parade. The Crews Inn is one of the relatively few gay bars and clubs that are NOT located along Cedar Springs.

It is located about two miles from here over on Fitzhugh Street, on the other side of Central Expressway. It's a nice bar (Grant and I went there frequently, and that is where we met Scott Gordon, who died up in Michigan this year), but, as I said, it is off the beaten track. I took this picture so Fred could see it. I knew he'd be interested in the dancers and their attire, not in "Miss Fitzhugh" sitting in front.

This float was sponsored by the largest Hispanic bar in town. This bar, to which I have never been, caters to the Tejano crowd, that blending of Texan and Mexican. If the people on the float are any indication, it might actually be an interesting place to visit. The float certainly was colorful.

This unit was from the leather organization that meets at the The Cathedral of Hope. This is the organization that Mike Racke belongs to. It meets at the church on Sunday nights, and is affiliated with the NLA (National Leather Association). Some of the guys certainly were interesting, and I wanted Fred to see them.

We have a gay friend who is an American Airlines pilot and I took this to show him. I suspect the organization is actually for private pilots but the Boeing 747 on the banner may mean that commercial pilots belong also.

The Dallas Bears marching in the Gay Pride parade. At one point, Fred and I got a newsletter from this organization, but it has been discontinued for lack of financial support. The organization still exists, though.

Watching the parade was enjoyable, and I expect we will do it again sometime.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

September 24-26, 1995: Bob Barbour's Dallas Visit
July 1-4, 1995: Southern Decadence in New Orleans
Return to the Index for 1995