As tensions rise amid the “Pride month” push from LGBT activists, one small Texas town exemplifies the ongoing cultural tension between so-called “inclusivity” and traditional family values.
On Thursday, the City of Taylor––located outside of Austin with a population of less than 20,000––will issue a proclamation announcing its commitment to “supporting visibility, dignity, and equality for LGBTQ people in our diverse community” for Taylor’s second annual “LGBTQ ‘Pride Day.’”
Ahead of Taylor’s proclamation, City Mayor Brandt Rydell said, “Y’all indeed means ALL. Taylor is a vibrant, diverse, friendly, and growing community. All are welcome and embraced here.”
Rydell also highlighted a recent piece by PBS, which claimed “In Texas, LGBTQ rights are under attack everywhere from the halls of the Capitol to the streets of small towns.”
PBS maligned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent approval of a law protecting children from child gender mutilation procedures, which PBS referred to as “gender-affirming care,” a catch-all term that includes everything from grooming children into believing they are “transgender” to providing sterilizing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors and allowing mutilative procedures to be performed on children that remove girls’ healthy breasts, create an open wound (which must be dilated regularly to maintain its shape) to mimic a vagina or remove flesh from other parts of the body to create a fake penis.
The publicly-funded broadcasting organization also recently came under fire in Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a measure funding the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, the state network of public broadcasting service affiliates, due to their LGBT programming.
As parents, activists, and lawmakers pushed back against the sexualization of children and achieved victories—including protecting children from gender mutilation, inappropriate performances, and pornographic books in public schools—this past 88th Legislative Session, LGBT advocacy organizations like Taylor Pride say they are “coming off of one of the harshest legislative seasons the LGBTQ+ community has experienced here in Texas.”
For Taylor, the local struggle between family values and “inclusivity” began with a Christmas parade.
The city refused to sponsor the community’s annual Christmas Parade of Lights put on by a local ministerial alliance this past year after the event organizers limited participation to “entries … consistent with traditional biblical and family values.”
Instead, the city sponsored a separate parade in which “all are welcome to participate,” including Taylor Pride, which featured two drag queens jiving to dance music on one of the floats—right in front of the Saint Mary’s Catholic School float full of children in the 2021 parade. When the Taylor Pride submitted its application for the parade, nothing about drag queens was mentioned, and the volunteers processing applications were unfamiliar with the group.
After a number of attendees and parents objected to the Taylor Pride float, the Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance (TAMA), a local association of churches that has organized the parade for the past few years, revised the application form with the aforementioned qualification.
Jeff Ripple, the pastor of Christ Fellowship Church and a member of TAMA previously told Texas Scorecard, “I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but as a Christian organization … we could not in good conscience allow what we believe is contrary to what the Bible teaches… Because we believe the Bible is true, we believe the most loving thing we can do is stand up for the truth.”
Now, Ripple says the city’s proclamation is only the latest example of Taylor’s elected leadership throwing city funding behind liberal agenda items:
“This is the problem I have with the current leadership in Taylor. It is their choice to affirm the lifestyle and agenda of the LGBTQ+ community through official proclamations, attending and speaking at various Pride events, and most recently passing a restrictive event policy to eliminate the Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance sponsorship of the Traditional Christmas Parade of Lights that will now become an “all-inclusive” Holiday Parade complete with dancing drag queens. This is typical of woke politics gone off the rails and a perfect example of why elections matter, and none more than local elections.”
“Small town city councils and city governments are being infiltrated and co-opted by big city activists and they are driving agendas that many in rural communities thought only happened in big liberal cities,” said Ripple. “It is no longer streets, water, and sewers that drive the agendas of city councils in rural Texas, especially in Taylor.”
Ripple said the constitutional right to gather is one thing but, “It is quite another to throw the name and finances of the city behind such events that oppose the long-held traditional values of a community like Taylor… It is out with the old and in with the new, not by the choice of the people, but by the choice of the bureaucrats and liberal politicians with their own agendas.”
Ripple highlighted the most recent May election, where an at-large city council seat was maintained by the only conservative candidate on the city council, “He was the only vote against the restrictive event ordinance and the only council member who has refused to personally join and approve these controversial events, such as adolescent boys in drag performing for adults in the local beer joint.”
“We are looking forward to seeing how future elections will go as more of this is brought to light by the sad actions of our city council and city staff,” said Ripple.
The Taylor City Council meeting will be held Thursday, where the mayor is expected to sign the proposed proclamation for Taylor’s “LGBTQ ‘Pride Day.’”