Starting June 7, Colton Trout and Shannan Peterson’s colorful Pride dreams will become a reality with Kemah’s first-ever Pride Week.
The two Bay Area residents and entrepreneurs began working several weeks ago to create spaces where community members of all walks of life could celebrate Pride Month. Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the June 1969 Stonewall riots, which were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community in Manhattan in response to a police raid.
Trout and Peterson wanted to provide locals with a safe, fun alternative to traveling to Galveston or Houston for Pride festivities, especially since COVID-19 restrictions may continue to hamper plans in larger cities, they said.
“We kind of came together and were like, ‘nobody’s doing anything around here,’” Trout, owner of Paradise Tropical Wines, said. “We are just adding to Pride with our own Paradise twist.”
All events are free to enter, with the exception of a Pride in Paradise drag show the evening of June 11. Many, although not all, events are open to all ages.
The duo put together this year’s celebration in a matter of weeks, but hope to use it as a starting point for Pride events in future years. These events are meant to boost local businesses while providing expressive outlets for the area’s queer youth and helping them feel validated, Trout and Peterson said.
“I saw a need for bringing Pride to suburbia,” Peterson said.
Several events are geared largely towards families, so residents of all ages can find something to enjoy throughout the week. However, Trout and Peterson also want the events to honor the origins of Pride and allow for authentic celebration.
Pride Month festivities today can vary widely, and some can involve demonstrations that center around sexuality or involve sexualized features. Pride in a suburban area like Kemah can and often does look different than Pride celebrations in big cities, Peterson said.
She, Trout and the numerous local businesses sponsoring the events hope Pride Kemah will provide the best of both worlds for the local LGBTQ+ community and allies.
“A lot of people want that to still be incorporated into Pride,” Trout said of the celebrations of sexuality, “and I think we’re doing it in a way that respects the community. Pride is for everyone to celebrate the progress being made.”
A full list of events, links to buy drag show tickets, links to sponsorship and volunteer opportunities and an online shop with Pride Kemah merchandise can be found here.