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Going to My Border Town's First Ever Pride Parade

Growing up queer in a Mexican American community rooted in faith wasn't easy. But seeing that community celebrate my identity this weekend was a monumental experience.
Attendees at Eagle Pass Pride. All photos by the author

Since moving to New York City almost eight years ago, I've returned to my hometown of Eagle Pass, Texas, roughly 20 times. But this past weekend was the most important yet.

Each visit, I feel, has gotten gayer and more fabulous than the last, because I just don't give a fuck what people (read: nosey neighbors) think about my queerness anymore. And that's because I have the love and support of my family. That attitude, of course, came only after years of self-discovery and acceptance, made possible after moving from the sheltered Mexican American community where I grew up to one of the world's most LGBTQ-friendly cities.


My little border town boasts a modest population of around 25,000 folks, more than 96 percent of whom are Hispanic or Latino. Many are die-hard Catholics who stick to deep Mexican American traditions rooted in machismo and strict gender roles. You can only imagine what it was like to grow up queer there. But, to my surprise, times have changed—this weekend, me and about 50 others participated in the inaugural Eagle Pass Pride Parade, to some unexpected but welcome fanfare.

The event was long overdue for those of us in the community who have struggled with our sexuality.

Attendees march in this weekend's Eagle Pass Pride Parade.

The parade itself was called "Love Without Borders" because of our unique setting along the Rio Grande. The border fence served as a backdrop to the proceedings. It was a true milestone for my hometown, and may well have been for all of South Texas, given how conservative much of the region is.