Katy Pride reflects on changing city as 1st birthday approaches

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Thursday, June 6, 2024
Katy Pride prepares for second-ever LGBTQ+ celebration this fall
Organizers at Katy Pride said it expects the city's LGBTQ+ celebration to grow as it marks its second year of love and inclusion.

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- From the abundant rice fields of days past to a burgeoning city today, Katy is changing.

"There's life outside the loop," resident Amanda Rose said. "Katy is one of the top places in the nation for people to move to, and with that comes a really diverse community."

Rose, who co-founded the city's first-ever Pride celebration, said some might be surprised by how many of Katy's 340,000 neighbors identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

"Historically, Katy has been known to be more conservative," Rose said. "I think that is changing a little bit."

Katy Pride was born as a response to exclusionary decisions by Katy ISD's school board.

In 2021, Katy ISD voted to block students from accessing LGBTQ+ inclusive resources, and passed a controversial gender identity policy last year, requiring schools to notify parents about students who may identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

Rose, who worked with and advocates for K-12 students, said something needed to be done to help LGBTQ+ youth feel seen and heard.

What started with just zero dollars and four volunteers has swelled into an annual event, with more than 2,000 people showing up last October to celebrate inclusion and love.

They recalled approaching one parent at last year's Katy Pride, who seemed elated, even overwhelmed, watching a child who once struggled for acceptance connecting with others, exchanging numbers with new friends, and having fun.

"They said, 'I have never seen my child as happy as they are today in this community,'" Rose said, tearfully. "That solidifies for me why we do what we do."

The event went off without any disruptions, a hopeful sign of changing times for LGBTQ+ people seeking to live boldly and authentically just west of Houston.

"I believe Katy is a great place to live," Rose said. "We want them to come back, because that invests in our community, not just in people, but in money, in taxes and growth."

Celebrating Katy Pride's First Birthday

Now, as Katy Pride approaches its first birthday celebration on June 20, its founders are doubling down to ensure everyone is celebrated in the city they call home.

Unlike how Montrose once served Houston's gay community, Rose said Katy's LGBTQ+ community isn't centralized in a single corner of the city.

Since the first Katy Pride, the organization has hosted dozens at bimonthly social gatherings and events highlighting different segments of the community.

"We're not just going to have Pride one month or one day out of the year," Rose said. "There's so much more because we have Pride year around."

Rose said the response has been overwhelming, as Katy Pride creates space for residents to meet others and to discover places where LGBTQ+ people feel safe and welcome.

"We have lots of allies that are in Katy," Rose said. "Whether it's their child, whether it's a family member, a sibling, a co-worker."

At its June 20 birthday celebration, Katy Pride invites supporters for an evening of food and fun at Park Place at the Boardwalk, featuring DJs, dancing and drag performers. Click here to RSVP for free tickets.

Four months later, Katy Pride will mark its second annual celebration on Saturday, Oct. 19.

The open and affirming First Christian Church Katy will host the Pride celebration for the second year in a row, with family-friendly activities, live entertainment, drag performers, a pumpkin patch and vendors throughout its campus.

If you would like to get involved as a sponsor or a vendor, visit Katy Pride's website.

First Christian Church Katy is located at 22101 Morton Ranch Road.

ABC13 is proud to be Katy Pride's official media partner.