A pop ballad about girls liking girls provided entertainment while friends and families colored in supportive messages to the LGBTQ community with chalk near Harvest House on Saturday morning.

PRIDENTON celebrated LGBTQ pride this week with events ranging from yoga, a film screening and a night out on the Square. Saturday’s festivities started off with a morning of sidewalk chalking on East Hickory Street, where people were encouraged to create a “Pride Path” of drawings and positive messages.

“We got feedback last year that [this event] was the most fun,” said Enedelia Sauceda, treasurer of PRIDENTON, a committee that organizes Pride Month events in Denton. “Last year we had a big turnout. We had a lot of families.”

PRIDENTON volunteer Brandi McDuff said sidewalk chalking is more fun for kids and more family-friendly, in that it allows kids to be creative.

Pride flags and messages of love made a path from Harvest House down the block to Gyro 360 Mediterranean and around the corner on Oakland Street. The messages on the sidewalk lead people to Harvest House, where PRIDENTON would be hosting a dance party Saturday evening.

Karen Bravo

Artist Karen Bravo draws on the sidewalk along East Hickory Street during the PRIDENTON Pride Path event on Saturday morning.

Adults and kids alike used chalk down to the nub drawing different pride flags and pop culture characters like Nintendo’s Kirby and My Little Pony’s Rainbow Dash, a blue pegasus with a rainbow-colored mane.

Kamyon Conner, another PRIDENTON steering committee member, said the organization tries to be inclusive of queer and transgender people of color who are often ignored. Her message on the sidewalk simply declared the existence of “black queer femmes,” which is how she identifies herself.

“Ours are the voices that are often silenced,” Conner said. “It’s not easy [being black and queer]. We have less autonomy over our bodies. People don’t respect our space.”

Black women who are transgender are those in the LGBTQ community most often targeted by violence. A majority of the 28 transgender people killed in the U.S. in 2018 were black women. Four black trans woman have been slain in Dallas this year, with the latest victim, Chynal Lindsey, found in early June.

Some of the messages on Denton’s sidewalks included “You are loved,” someone’s declaration of love for their two moms, and “Big Pride in Lil D.”

Along with the classic gay pride flag, Rae Inmon drew the transgender pride flag with blue, pink and white chalk in horizontal stripes. Someone else drew the bisexual pride flag — pink, purple and blue horizontal stripes.

Several parents who brought their kids say it’s important to teach children about pride and LGBTQ history.

“It’s important for parents to support kids,” Carolyn Harrod said. “I don’t understand parents who disown their kids [for being gay].”

Harrod is a parent to a gay 10-year-old daughter and said her family has always been allies. Harrod’s daughter and a friend sat on the sidewalk with her writing out supportive messages.

Another parent, Lindsey Fields, has a third grader, Molly, who recently became more vocal about using they/them pronouns for themself.

The first time they came out was during a class activity. Kids were told to move to the left or right side of the room depending on their answers to questions. When the question of “boys and girls” came up, Molly stood in the middle.

“As a parent, it’s about creating a safe space and not only celebrating who my kids are, but also the Denton community, who loves them and who they love,” Fields said.

While Molly eventually grew tired of drawing in the heat, younger sister Maryian continued on beside their mother.

Denton resident Shayna Hirmon said pride is important to show younger kids that there are more people like them.

“[Pride is] especially [about] showing kids in the state of Texas that even if they’re gay or trans or whatever under the queer pride flag, that if it’s not safe for them to come out where they are right now, that there is a place for them and there are people that unconditionally love them,” Hirmon said.

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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