What you need to know about Houston’s two competing Pride parades

Houstonians will have the option to attend two consecutive pride festivals this June which will follow the same parade route downtown. While many are confused by this year’s similar but unrelated events, it’s not uncommon for a city as large and diverse as Houston to have various pride groups or host multiple celebrations. Dallas is home to several, including Pride in Dallas, Dallas Pride, Texas Latino Pride, and Dallas Southern Pride to name a few. Each group serves their distinct or marginalized communities while providing a space for families, children, and youth to get involved while having separate accommodations for adults who want to party, drink, and have fun. Meanwhile, Austin organizes their annual inclusive pride march and rally, Queerbomb, on the first Saturday in June and has their larger pride festival in August to mitigate the effects of the Texan summer heat. But with more opportunities to celebrate pride in Houston this year, we’re all still left with several questions: what is the difference between the two events, who is organizing them, why does it matter, and how can we show our support?


Festivities in Houston begin on the 22nd of June at City Hall where Houston’s New Faces of Pride will host their inaugural Pride festival and parade. The weekend after, on the 29th of June, Pride Houston 365 will host their 46th annual festival and parade. Aside from variations in party schedules and corporate sponsors, these two events are nearly identical but are organized by two different groups. Houston city leaders, including Mayor John Whitmire, have expressed their concerns over this situation. “Competing parades is just not what we should be about,” Whitmire commented during a city council meeting in April, “It’s not fair to the participants, our city resources, public safety. I mean, it’s just nuts to have the same-purpose parade done within a week of each other.”[1] The significance of having a pride event to celebrate our victories and highlight the work that lies ahead should be the focal point for this month, especially given the current sociopolitical climate in America and particularly our home state of Texas.

Marsha P. Johnson is seen at a Gay Liberation Front demonstration at City Hall in New York City. (Diana Davies / New York Public Library)

Pride Month is rooted in the gay rights movement that dates back to the early 1900s in the United States. Progress was stunted for decades until the 28th of June 1969, when NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn located in Manhattan. The police, following routine harassment of known queer establishments, did not expect patrons and employees to fight back. But after years of persecution, the most marginalized groups who could not hide and had the least to lose – drag queens, trans women, and people of color – fought back and sparked the Stonewall Riots that would escalate into “six days of protests and violent clashes with the NYPD outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street”.[2] The riots catapulted the gay rights movement from a largely ignored fringe issue to one of global prominence. Over fifty years later thousands of parades, rallies, and celebrations have joined in chorus to spotlight the work we’ve done toward equitable social change and bring into focus the many injustices queer people continue to face around the world.


Non-profit organizations are distinguishable by the peripheral communities they serve, enabling them to better allocate their resources toward a specific group or cause. Houston is home to the Montrose Center which has been helping “LGBTQ+ youth and adults live healthy, actualized lives with the tools and resources they need to feel affirmed”[3] and Tony’s Place focuses on “LGBTQ+ youth who are in need of help with safe housing, queer health services, educational support, and more”.[4] In contrast pride groups, like Pride Houston 365 and the newly-formed Houston’s New Faces of Pride, are primarily responsible for the planning of the annual parade and festivities while promoting awareness and raising money for their communities throughout the year.

Hunny Phillips expressed that the LGBTQIA+ community in Houston needs unity and less fighting, during a community meeting on April 25, 2024. (Meridith Kohut for the Houston Landing)

Both pride organizations claim to foster unity and transparency, however their recent actions toward each other show a different story. In July 2021 Pride Houston 365 filed a lawsuit against their former president and executive director Lorin Roberts over claims of fraud and embezzlement.[5] The court ruled in favor of Pride Houston 365 and Roberts was ordered to pay $1.2 million in damages, with the full case pending trial, originally slated to start in April 2024, but continues to get delayed. In June 2023, pride celebrations were scaled back by Pride Houston 365 after citing “increased costs that have outpaced what it receives in sponsorships”.[6]

Houston’s New Faces of Pride formed in July 2023, comprised of board members and staff previously associated with Pride Houston 365. Bryan Cotton, the founder and president of New Faces of Pride, along with fellow board member Jill Maxwell, a former board member for Pride Houston 365, launched the new group after leaving the former due to the ongoing turmoil.[7] Three months later in October 2023, Pride Houston 365 filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the newer group, accusing them of trademark dilution and unfair competition. In November 2023, the newer organization rebranded itself from New Faces of Pride Houston to Houston’s New Faces of Pride.[8] Recent actions between the two pride groups don’t inspire trust and it remains to be seen how either have our community’s best interest in mind when their leaders are instead making a spectacle of themselves and each other.

Singers from the Orlando Gay Chorus take the stage during a remembrance ceremony honoring those killed in the Pulse massacre eight years ago, at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, the 12th of June 2024. (Joe Burbank for Orlando Sentinel)


In the face of rampant violence against queer people and the continued introduction and passing of anti-LGBT bills, we need our leaders to stand united and work together toward progressive improvements. The creation of additional pride groups shouldn’t necessitate competition or division, but should instead provide more spaces for celebration, connection, and community. The discord between Pride Houston 365 and Houston’s New Faces of Pride does a great disservice both to the volunteers who donate their time and the communities these groups are designed to serve. The city of Houston and its people deserve better than to squander our limited resources on a feud between two rival pride organizations.


The question remains: how do we celebrate pride in Houston and show our support? There is no easy answer. Visibility remains an important aspect, and our attendance at such events sustains the message that there is strength in community despite the actions and intentions of those who we trust to lead. But let’s not forget that Pride is more than any one celebration, parade, or after party. Pride is a beacon of hope for those who cannot speak up, a remembrance for those we’ve lost to hatred, and our stoic response to those who would silence our voices. While Pride in Houston this year may be marred by this confusing display of corporate-sponsored greed, let us remember that the first Pride was a riot against an unfair and unjust system.

Demonstrators from the 2023 Houston Pride Parade on Saturday, the 24th of June 2023. (Annie Mulligan for Houston Landing)

Whether you decide to attend one, both, or none of these events is ultimately inconsequential. Consider instead how you show up for yourself, your family and friends, and your community every other month of the year. Are you standing up against inequity by lending your voice to progress by registering to vote? Are you combating misinformation by opening yourself to viewpoints that differ from your own? Are you freeing yourself from the shackles of societal expectations by living authentically and leading by example? These may seem tall, superfluous orders when all you wanted was to be told which parade to attend, but you always have a choice regardless of whether the options before you are desirable.


  1. ^ Welch, Monique and Danya Pérez. “Houston will have two Pride parades. City officials say there should be one”. Houston Landing. 19 April 2024.
  2. ^ History.com editors. “Pride Month”. History.com. 21 May 2024.
  3. ^ Montrose Center
  4. ^ Tony’s Place
  5. ^ Pérez, Danya. “Pride Houston awarded $1.2 million in court ruling against former president”. Houston Landing. 8 January 2024.
  6. ^ Zuvanich, Adam. “Houston’s annual pride celebration scaling back this year, with parade planned but no festival”. Houston Public Media. 30 January 2023.
  7. ^ Zuvanich, Adam. “Houston’s feuding Pride ortganizations planning two separate events for June 2024.” Houston Public Media. 23 October 2023.
  8. ^ Zuvanich, Adam. “New Pride organization in Houston tweaks name in response to trademark infringement lawsuit”. Houston Public Media. 9 November 2023.

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