Protesters peacefully faced off on opposite sides of the street Saturday afternoon outside the Texas Latinx Pride Fest event at Reverchon Park in Dallas.
The event was billed as open to all ages:
“Our festival will feature live performances from talented Latinx artists, delicious food from local vendors, and a variety of vendors selling unique products and services. We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, and identities to come together and celebrate our shared community.”
TX Latino Pride put on the event. It promoted it on Instagram, noting that drag performer and artist Crystal Methyd would be featured.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a law banning “sexually oriented performances” from being held in the presence of minors that was set to go into effect on September 1 has been put on pause by a federal judge.
Local activist group Protect TX Kids (PTK) said it was going to hold a protest against Texas Latinx Pride Fest earlier in the week, posting about it on social media.
The Dallas Express attended the event. Attendees and vendors in the park expressed confusion over why people would want to protest the festival, which was characterized as a “party” dedicated to acceptance, love, and inclusivity.
Matthew Dominguez, content marketing specialist for the Dallas Voice, told The Dallas Express that he believes such events are important for the community, noting he was Hispanic and gay himself.
“I think that events like this really show that we are still here. We are still people. And we still want to have fun and be treated just like everyone else,” said Dominguez.
Other attendees who declined to provide their names said they were just there to enjoy themselves and that the drag shows at the event would be of no harm to any children present.
“Why would anyone bother? It’s a party,” said one attendee. “It’s someone enjoying their own space, being proud of who they are, where they’ve come from. What would be the sense of protesting?”
Not long after the festival began, members of PTK arrived and began protesting on a nearby street, holding handmade signs, crosses, and a flag associated with the New Columbia Movement. They opposed the notion that children should be allowed to attend drag shows.
Counterprotesters assembled on the opposite side of the street and began shouting back, decrying their opponents as Nazis and bigots.
At one point, prayers in Latin could be heard at the same time as chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, these Nazis have got to go” and “Say gay, say gay, we are here to stay.”
One counterprotester held a sign that read, “The only good Nazi is a dead one.”
The Dallas Express attempted to speak to the counterprotesters, but requests for comment were quickly rebuffed.
Cesar Franco, a protester who turned out alongside PTK, told The Dallas Express that he was praying for the people attending the festival, claiming that including children in an event like this was “wrong.”
“We are very concerned because exposing drag culture to children is something that is totally unacceptable,” said Franco.
He said he supported the new law banning children from “sexually oriented shows.”
“The law should safeguard the innocence of children. I think that’s wonderful,” said Franco.