TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Supporters of pride month gathered in downtown Tyler Sunday for a festival after some made their opinions heard against this type of event in the Rose City.
For the first pride event in downtown Tyler, the turnout was larger than expected for organizers. About 1,000 people showed up to the festival on Sunday.
“The community has truly come together for this,” Pride Festival organizer Raynie Castaneda said.
While festival-goers were celebrating pride, others were caught in deep conversations discussing whether homosexuality was right or wrong.
“I know some people will think of it as hate speech, but you know what, the one that we follow, Christ Jesus, they considered him speaking hate,” Evangelist protester Philip said.
“Protesters are the last thing on our mind right now,” parade attendee Nadia Allmon said. “The first thing right now is just spreading love. Our love will be louder than any protestors hate.”
Despite disagreement from both sides, festival-goers say they remained proud and peaceful. Many pride supporters even marched through downtown Tyler.
A Facebook comment started the whole event.
“Somebody was moving here and they asked if we had any drag shows or LGBTQ events and they were met with just 400 comments,” Pride Festival organizer Raynie Castaneda said
In response to the comments, some for and some against the East Texas LGBTQ+ community, Castaneda decided to act.
“I posted this event in that very same group and it popped off, it is what it is now,” Castaneda said.
Protestors stood on the sidelines, feeling it was important to represent their faith and their community.
“That is part of what we are commanded to do is to go into all of the world and share the gospel of Christ,” Phillip said.
Two very different groups with very different beliefs able to debate on sensitive topics peacefully, on a meaningful day for both.
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