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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

How Rainbow Night became SMTX Pride

San+Marcos+community+members+at+the+first+SMTX+Pride+in+2014.

San Marcos community members at the first SMTX Pride in 2014.

Live music, bright outfits and community festivities will take over San Marcos this weekend as locals and residents prepare to celebrate the eighth annual SMTX Pride on Sept. 9 and 10.
Before there was SMTX Pride, there was Rainbow Night, an LGBTQ+ friendly event that consisted of a small group of San Marcos LGBTQ+ members who got together at local bars.
Rainbow Night’s origin story began when Sylvia Sandoval, along with a couple of her family members and friends, was kicked out of a bar for being a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She realized a safe space for LGBTQ+ members did not exist in San Marcos and so she set out on a mission to give people a place to celebrate who they were without judgment or being kicked out.
Rainbow Night consisted of Sandoval and her friends going bar to bar to celebrate pride by wearing rainbows and hosting drag shows. Their first Rainbow Night was at Gold Crown Billiards, a bar that has since been shut down. Although they always got the bar’s permission to host Rainbow Night, she said they got kicked out a few times, followed to their cars and were shunned by others in the bar.
“We got boycotted and we got kicked out of a few bars. It wasn’t an easy task, so when Stonewall finally surfaced, I figured that the journey was over. We finally got what we needed. We needed something that there was for the community and I figured that was it that,” Sandoval said. “Then I was asked to start to do a march which was the next step, so we started the march for Pride.”
The first SMTX Pride took place in front of the Hays County Courthouse in September 2014. Sandoval said there were only some small booths followed by a simple parade at the event. She figured her friends would be the only ones to show up, but to her surprise, she was overjoyed with the turnout.
“I turned around from the courthouse grounds and down toward the railroad tracks off of MLK [Drive] and I was moved to see the sea of people in rainbow colors coming up the hill. It was the most amazing moment of my life and it was worth every sacrifice every moment I’ve taken to continue to make this possible,” Sandoval said.
Photographer Rita Allee attended the inaugural SMTX Pride and photographed some special moments at the event. Allee grew up in San Marcos and said the event was unlike any other parade or festival in San Marcos she had been to.
“The vibe and atmosphere was just very — I don’t know how to explain it — seemed more exhilarating. Everyone seemed happy to be there, everyone. It was just an exciting feeling and seeing all these different people coming together to celebrate something that didn’t use to be talked about was amazing,” Allee said.
Allee met Sandoval at SMTX Pride and admires all of the hard work she dedicates to the LGBTQ+ community.
“Well, I’m so glad I met her. She’s one of my favorite people in the world. She’s an awesome person, and she really deserves everything good that comes to her. She’s devoted so much of her time and life to this. [It’s] just an amazing thing she’s doing,” Allee said.
This year’s SMTX Pride will be the first that resembles the first one from 2014 being that it will be in front of the Hays County Courthouse and will have events that span more than one day.
“To be back at the courthouse and in front of The Marc is going to be monumental for me as well,” Sandoval said. “I couldn’t be more grateful. This is a big deal to me.”
SMTX Pride is proud to team up with the San Marcos Farmers Market and Art Squared Arts Market to bring local vendors and community members to one spot to celebrate Pride.
The event kicks off on Sept. 9 with a youth trans-exclusive pageant followed by dance tunes by DJ Kira at Roughhouse Brewing from 5 to 8 p.m. Sandoval wanted to include a day just for children to be able to celebrate SMTX Pride.
For all community members, SMTX Pride put together an all-day event with an anti-bully march, speeches and drag show all accompanied by good music, food and vendors all ending at the after party at the Roughhouse Brewery starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 10.
Brianna St. James will be one of the 10 drag performers performing on the steps of the Hays County Courthouse. She has been doing drag since 2009 and was a part of SMTX Pride when it was Rainbow Days.
“We were in places that didn’t accept the gay community within straight bars, but we did it and we conquered,” James said.
James was named the Grand Marshal of the parade, the first drag queen to hold the position. She said that she is blessed to be able to not only celebrate Pride but to be able to celebrate it in the San Marcos community where she was born and raised.
“It was like it was a blessing because we have had four grand marshal’s and they’re all guys this is the first time it’s gonna be a drag queen grand marshal,” James said.
Through SMTX Pride, Sandoval, Allee and James hope to bring together members of the San Marcos community.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a lot of people, not just not just our LGBTQ+ community but it’s going to be our allies and I’m hoping I’m creating more allies,” Sandoval said. “I’m hoping that this turns into a once-a-year community event. I just want peace and love on Earth and this is the way to do it.”
For more information on SMTX Pride visit its Facebook @SMTX.PRIDE.

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