Pride Houston’s President shares her plans for the future of Pride celebrations in the city
For more than 40 years, Pride Houston has served the Houston LGBTQ+ community with the objective to support, promote and educate; a purpose new President Thasia Madison hopes to expand and execute in her position. A longtime volunteer and former outreach director and secretary of the organization, Thasia is no stranger to the LGBTQ+ scene having also worked with Lesbians of Color, Inc. and other Houston groups.
We sat down with her to discuss her goals for Houston Pride and how to transition the annual Pride celebration from being just an annual month of festivities, to a year-round event with the launch of Pride 360.
What made you originally want a bigger role with Pride Houston?
I got involved with Pride Houston through a group I was already with: Lesbians of Color, Inc. I had been volunteering with the organization for about three years, and wanted to do more to service the community in a larger role.
What has been the most rewarding part of working with the Houston LGBTQ+ community and Pride Houston?
I'm especially proud of the Pride 360 program we are launching that will make Pride more of a year-round celebration with events and outreach initiatives that will greatly impact the community. By doing this through our scholarship programs, community engagement initiatives, conferences and special events for marginalized communities, we hope to become more of an advocacy organization than an event organization.
Also, Pride University, a program educating adults about the LGBTQ+ community. Most importantly though, just the outreach and community engagement is my favorite aspect and I look to incorporate more of it in the upcoming year.
What personal connection do you have (or favorite memory) from a Pride celebration in Houston?
The greatest moment would be the “Feel My Pride” event, an outreach brunch that led up to Pride 2019. It was a partnership between Houston Pride, Impulse Houston and The T.R.U.T.H. Project focused on mental health, and healing through the arts and education. Even though I work in IT, I have also been a part of the Houston arts scene and see the benefit of dance, poetry, music, etc.
Where do you see the future of Pride Houston going?
Unfortunately we had to postpone Pride this year but are looking forward to our block party event in October. However, we look to have sustainable growth for the parade festivities. The last had about 800,000 participants and each year we want that number to increase.
Moving forward we want to hire event planners and people that deal with these types of events, rather than having them overseen by our board members. We want the Board to get back to governing because we feel like they are too far in the weeds throwing events, they don’t have the time to do what the bylaws set out for them to do, which is to create policy decisions.
Additionally, we are striving to make the Pride Houston staff more inclusive and diverse, therefore, representing communities we serve like the trans and nonbinary communities.
What is one thing you want visitors to know about the Houston LGBTQ+ community?
Houston is consistently considered one of the most diverse cities in the nation. When you come to Houston, you are visiting the whole world whether it be through food, art, neighborhoods and anything else you can think of. It’s a one-stop vacation.
If you would like to get involved in Pride Houston and see how you can help, visit their website.