As “Pride Month” heats up, the South Texas Equality Project (STEP) and the City of Brownsville’s LGBTQ task force is taking up a controversial proposal to make the city a “safe space” for “LGBT kids.”

Opponents say the move is part of an overall strategy to sexualize children.

These organizations host events like “LGBTQ Day of Silence,” presented by Brownsville City Commissioner Roy De los Santos, to “bring attention to the ways their schools and communities can be more inclusive.”

STEP is a coalition of Rio Grande Valley “LGBTQIA+” organizations that work to highlight sexuality and “gender diversity” through events like drag shows and “educational forums.”

STEP members—which include city officials and teachers—work closely with the City of Brownsville’s LGBTQ task force.

Founding members of the task force include Joe Colon-Uvalles, a local drag queen who goes by the stage name “Kween Beatrix.”

Colon-Uvalles worked with Brownsville City Commissioner Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa to create the region’s first Pride Month celebrations and continued his activism by creating the Brownsville LGBTQ task force.

Another founding member is Nolan “Fish” Navarro, a non-binary former Balenciaga model who founded a South Texas modeling agency that hires “gender non-conforming” models.

Balenciaga recently faced boycotts over their controversial ad campaign featuring children in bondage outfits and court documents referencing child porn.

The City of Brownsville has consistently supported Navarro’s endeavors, even helping him fund “gender diverse” fashion shows.

STEP’s “Amor es Amor” drag show, which was advertised as an “LGBT youth” fundraiser, featured crossdressing men dancing provocatively and performing suggestive acts in front of children.

A local journalist known as RGVTRUTH filmed STEP’s drag event and captured footage of children giving money to the dancing performers. The video reached many on Twitter and prompted STEP to issue a statement about the footage:

We are frustrated we have to write this but we feel that it is important to address some of the misinformation and fabricated lies being spread online and to city and school boards … our goal was to create an all ages, inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ+ community, to promote visibility, and provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about and connect to local resources.

A Rio Grande Valley grassroots organization called “Citizens Against Sexualization of Children” (CASC), which formed in response to STEP’s events, condemned the LGBT group.

CASC told Texas Scorecard, “STEP has made it clear their mission is to sexualize children with drag shows and other events. Their core beliefs are that children must be exposed to sexual content. That has no place in city government and that is simply unacceptable.”

Brownsville’s next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 20.

CASC is encouraging citizens to sign up for public comment before 4 p.m. at the city manager’s office.

Valerie Muñoz

Valerie Muñoz is a native South Texan and student at Texas A&M University, where she studies journalism. She is passionate about delivering clear and comprehensive news to Texans.