The Austin Independent School District encouraged their staff, students, and families to attend the city’s annual Pride Parade. Here’s the full story.
Students Encouraged to Wear Rainbow Colors
In Austin, Texas, the Austin Independent School District (ISD) encouraged students to attend a pride parade.
They recommended students and families wear “pride costumes and rainbow colors.”
Inclusive Environment for All
On their website, Austin ISD posted about the parade saying, “Staff, students, and their families are invited to represent Austin ISD in the annual Austin Pride Parade.”
Proud of LGBTQ+
The website went on to say, “We are proud to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families and to highlight our commitment to creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all!”
Free Shuttle Service
To further encourage attendance, Austin ISD provided free shuttles to any staff, students, and families that attended the pride parade.
There were also “Austin ISD Pride” t-shirts available for those who chose to attend.
Younger Students Need an Adult
The school district said that elementary and middle school students needed to be accompanied by an adult to attend, but did not specify if that adult had to be the child’s parent or guardian.
Drag Queen Story Time
The parade did not have an age limit to attend and allowed children under the age of six to enter for free.
“Drag Queen Story Time” was also advertised as being part of the Austin Pride Festival.
Keep Austin Queer’d
The official Austin pride website promoted the theme of the parade as “KEEP AUSTIN QUEER’D” and proclaimed it is in defiance of those who are concerned about LGBTQ ideology’s impact on children across the county.
The LGBT Community Stands Their Ground
“From attacks on our drag community to the fight for trans rights…sometimes it feels that our community is getting pushed from all sides,” the website wrote.
The pride parade is an opportunity for the LGBT community to stand their ground.
The pride parade’s official website encouraged attendees to “come decked out in your most fabulous pride attire.”
In footage from a previous year’s pride parade in Austin, one float carried a drag queen and mostly unclothed men in bondage gear.
Entertainment at the Event
One of the performers in the lineup goes by the name of Cupcake. Cupcake’s social media description describes them as “Austin’s Original Drag Artist/Host/Hooker. Always baked, with a creamy center.”
Cupcake also performed with Lady Grackle who is described as having the “dirtiest mouth of the south.”
The Community Is Upset
The Texas Family Project is a group who aims to protect and advocate for family units.
When they found out about the school district encouraging students to attend the pride parade, they fired off several questions in a tweet: “What about this gives students an academic advantage? What does this have to do with literacy? How many tax dollars are going to this while families in Austin struggle to get by?”
Sexualization of Kids Doesn’t Belong in Schools
In a subsequent tweet, the group said, “The sexualization of kids shouldn’t be tolerated ANYWHERE, especially not in our schools.”
The tweets got many reactions from people opposed to children being encouraged to attend this event.
Upset About Shuttles Paid for With Tax Dollars
One user commented, “What in the actual heck is going on here with our children and our tax dollars? You shouldn’t be discussing sexuality at all to children, much less transporting them to some alphabet event with tax dollars.”
Senate Bill 12
The pride parade took place just a few weeks before Senate Bill 12 went into effect banning “sexually oriented performances” in front of children.
Blocking Senate Bill 12
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed a lawsuit against the Texas attorney general attempting to block Senate Bill 12. The group said the bill violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution and “threatens the livelihood and free expression of many Texans, including drag performers.”
Pride Week in Austin ISD
Austin ISD is known for their support of LGBT causes. The district’s “Gay-Straight Alliance” promoted a variety of events for the students during “Pride Week.” Resources and guides were made available for campus coordinators to hold discussions around “Police Free Schools” and “Let’s Talk Genders and Sexualities.”
Austin ISD Is a Safe Community
For Austin ISD, “Pride Week” is a time to highlight their commitment to creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all.
Libraries Not Checked
The school district also refused official inquiries from Texas lawmakers into its school libraries to account for books that might include sexually explicit or racially charged content.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Xavier Lorenzo. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.