In the latest installment of our occasional conversations with Fort Worth newsmakers, Tyler Long, founder and president of Trinity Pride of Greater Fort Worth, spoke with arts and culture editor Marcheta Fornoff about what to expect at this year’s event.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. To hear more, please listen to the audio file attached to this article.
Long: Hi, I am Tyler Long. I am the founder and president of Trinity Pride of Greater Fort Worth. We’ve been operating since our first festival in 2019 and we are thrilled to be returning to the festival this summer for Pride Month on June 25, the last Saturday in June.
We’re hoping to see everybody there and see our queer community in full force and in full beauty.
Fornoff: Tell me what people can expect when they attend Trinity Pride.
Long: For me, my favorite parts about pride are the attitudes and the outfits. I love that when people come to pride, everybody’s pretty much in a good mood and they’re just ready to celebrate and see each other. And usually there’s a lot of rainbows and sparkles.
This year there’s going to be great food. We have some fantastic food trucks from the community that are going to be there. We have some fantastic local music from some queer artists that are going to be on stage. And yeah, (it’s really) just an opportunity to see our queer community in force.
We don’t have a ton of spaces where we get to see the breadth of our community. So in Fort Worth, it’s always really special to be able to see a large group of queer people and see that even if we’re moving through the city in these smaller spaces, we can see kind of what our community looks like as a whole. It’ll be hot, but it’ll be so much fun. We’re focused on making it inclusive, making it a Fort Worth event. It’s on the green in the Near Southside. So bring your blanket (and) lay (it) down, that’s your home base. And then everybody just kind of mixes and mingles, see people they haven’t seen in a while, meet new people, learn about different gay things happening in town.
Fornoff: Tell me about how many people you anticipate will be there.
Long: (Laughs) Oh, that is the question, isn’t it?
Fornoff: It’s maybe a little hard to guess given everything that’s changed over the past couple of years.
Long: Well, we built off the first festival (in 2019), but we didn’t get to go right back to (another) festival.
That first year, on the green, we had about 1,000 people and that was off of no name recognition and being brand new to the community.
But it did show us that there was that desire from the community to be able to come together like that. And then through COVID-19 the last two years, we didn’t really get to have it.
I think I’d be really happy and excited if we had about 2,500-3,000 people. What I’ve heard from other people in the community who have already had events this spring is that they’ve all been surprised by their numbers. Everybody’s just eager to come out and be together.
And I think our queer community specifically with what we’re dealing with in our country, I think we’re really eager to see each other. Especially in Fort Worth, (where) we don’t have a ton of spaces, but we have some fantastic spaces. But a month where we get to focus our energy on seeing our community and celebrating together and loving on each other, I think we’re going to have a really, really good turnout.
Fornoff: You’ve talked a little bit about food and music, but I know you have some other resources that Trinity Pride is working on.
Long: We’re working on a couple of things. We’re working on our calendar for Pride Month, and then we are working on a resource page for our website. And both of those are kind of born out of the queer support that already exists in our city. (There are) businesses that are active in supporting our queer community, health care resources that are actively looking to care for our community. But what we have is a struggle to communicate. We don’t have really a centering force for queer people to go connect with those spaces or find out about them. So that’s really what Trinity Pride is trying to do outside of Pride Month. We’re trying to be that centering force that if we can get our flag up high enough in the city and if people can find us, then we can connect them.
We’re very grassroots. We went from a board of about seven people to five committees and a total of about 25 people, and they’re all volunteer based, all community folks who want to help our queer community thrive.
Our directory committee has been working really hard to gather those resources because we need spaces and resources where our identity isn’t a qualifier that changes those services. We need gender-affirming care, we need identity-affirming care. That exists in Fort Worth. It’s just harder to find.
If you need a dentist, if you need a PCP, if you need STD testing, if you need counseling, we want to make it easy for both those businesses to thrive off helping our community in an authentic way, but also for our queer Fort Worth folks to find that support in Fort Worth. They don’t have to move to get that support or travel four hours to get that support.
If you go…
Date: June 25
Time: 3:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Where: Magnolia Green Park
Trinity Pride is going to have a year-round presence now.
Fornoff: Do you want to give a quick FAQ or tips if you go, what to bring, who can come?
Long: We want everybody to come. If you are queer and in Fort Worth, we want you to feel welcome and supported and seen in our event. And if you are supportive of that, we want you there. Allies are a huge part of our success in Fort Worth.
We have so many businesses and as we evolve and queer acceptance leads more and more into the mainstream, we have so many businesses that are really authentically providing safe, supportive spaces for queer folks, and that’s awesome. We can’t survive simply off of our gay bars. We have fabulous gay bars in Fort Worth, but we need more spaces. We need the coffee shops, we need (places for) lunches. We need bookstores. We need all that stuff.
Getting ready for the festival, we want everybody to come, everybody that’s supportive.
Take a car service, walk or take the Trinity Metro, (or use) the Zip Zones. There’s a parking lot by Magnolia Green, but with the numbers we’re anticipating the easiest way is to kind of take a car (service or transit) in and out.
Bring your bag for the day. Bring a blanket, bring some sunscreen, bring some sunglasses, and bring an outfit — something sparkly, something shiny, something gay or bring something on your shirt that says something gay. Like I said, part of the joy of the event is seeing what cool gay T-shirts people have or who, you know, dyed their hair that day or who has an outfit that reflects their identity. That’s one of the best parts.
Fornoff: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Long: Absolutely. Thank you.
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.