North Texas Daily

Local advocates hold 2nd Trans Pride Fest

Local advocates hold 2nd Trans Pride Fest

Local advocates hold 2nd Trans Pride Fest
November 17
12:00 2022

Despite the bitter cold and grey overcast that settled over Denton last Friday, it was all warm welcomes and bright lights at Trans Pride Fest 2, which was hosted at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.

With 20 musical artists and table after table of vendors, the second iteration of the festival brought queer artists from across DFW to celebrate LGBTQ culture in a night all for them.

“What I think is so exciting to me about this event is the fact that it’s the LGBTQ trans community doing something for ourselves — promoting the good, our voices [and] our passions,” said Richard “Wolfgang” Wolf, local artist and first performer of the night. “Here in Texas, it’s so hard. There’s a lot of people pushing against us, and it’s so easy to counterprotest and try to defend things all the time. I’m tired of playing defense every day. This is a chance to just do something, on our own, for ourselves.”

The event was organized by local advocacy group Don’t Mess With Trans Texans. The group organized the first event in April at the university after several protests were held concerning transgender rights and safety in Denton. Whereas the original festival was held in protest, Trans Pride Fest 2 set out with a different goal.

Emily and Violet are DMWTT founders and Trans Fest 2 organizers. The pair requested to be referred to by their first name to avoid harassment.

“Hosting the festival again is about persistence,” Emily said. “The first iteration was a response to the transphobia we were seeing in Denton and around Texas earlier this year. We want future iterations to be less responses and more statements that our community’s voice is growing and can’t be stopped.”

Running from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., bands played on the venue’s outdoor and indoor stages. Heavy metal clashed with hyperpop as audiences danced, sang and moshed to 15-minute sets.

The festival was some of the artists’ opportunity for their first real public appearance. Hyperpop artist and performer Salvia Hunden, known more popularly as their stage name “Salv the Dog,” performed for their second time. It was also their first time in public wearing a dress, a decision she made because of what the festival meant to her.

“I figured if there’s going to be one environment where I could [wear a dress] it would probably be here,” Hunden said. “If I’m being invited to perform in this space, it would be a disservice to pretend to be something I’m not. I wanted to be as loud and as full as possible so that anyone else would be compelled to do the same.”

Local artist and vendor Kay Poyer, who sold prints at her “K333” table, came not just to showcase her art, but to also meet more people within the LGBTQ community.

Band Jake’s Holiday perform songs from their EP “Great Wave” at the Trans Pride Fest 2 on Nov. 11, 2022. Photo by Lauren Campbell.

“I’m not a UNT student, so making friends — particularly other trans friends […] — in the music scene and the arts scene around here is a little bit more difficult,” Poyer said. “I’ve just never done anything like this before, so even though I don’t have much, it’s a big step for me as an artist.”

The festival surpassed the organizers’ expectations. It sold out of all presale tickets and sold more at the door. Some Denton residents said they were drawn in by the loud music and comforting atmosphere the event provided. Others went in hopes of finding LGBTQ resources in the heart of the community.

“I am currently kind of trying to pursue maybe transitioning, so I was hoping to maybe get some resources here while I’m at it and have a good time overall,” ecology sophomore Aidan Mckinnis said.

Guests noted a welcoming spirit in the space throughout the night.

“I like the music, the energy,” Texas Women’s University freshman Dinvela Adams said. “The people here are interconnected and it’s very fun to be here.”

All proceeds from the festival went toward local advocacy groups who tabled at the event, such as Denton Left, Letters for Friends and Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club. With a much larger presence at the festival than expected, organizers are hoping to continue the pride fest indefinitely and have already announced a third event for April 2023.

“It shows that at the end of the day the Denton community values trans people and wants the best for them, no matter what other people may say,” Violet said. “No matter what the opposition may be, there’s always that force […] of support.”

Featured Image: River Elliott performs with Ballista at the Trans Pride Fest 2 at Rubber Gloves on Nov. 11, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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