A family affair
Gay day at Minute Maid: Astros become the first big three Houston pro team to openly court the LGBT community
Disney, like many other corporations, holds gay-friendly family days at its theme parks, providing a care-free time to see Mickey Mouse. Well now, it's gay day (or actually night) at Minute Maid Park with Saturday's Pride in the Park.
It's the first major big three sporting event (covering the giants of Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA) in Houston that will specifically celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transexual (LGBT) community and their families. (The Dynamo and Houston Comets have had LGBT nights).
The Houston Astros' sales team discovered a website from The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau that celebrates and promotes the city as a gay destination. The team then approached the profiled members on the website and Trevor Eade and Edward Sanchez ultimately decided to take the lead and co-chair the event.
"The community has gotten so excited about this," Eade says.
Coming two weeks after the Houston Gay Pride Parade, 400 official Pride in the Park tickets — split up over five different seating sections — have already been bought for the 6:05 p.m. game with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Whether fans will be out rooting for Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols or Astros mainstay Lance Berkman, they'll be earning funds for seven local charities: Pride Houston, Bunnies on the Bayou, Legacy Community Health Services, Bayou City Performing Arts, PFLAG Houston, Out & Equal Houston and Bering Omega. But as Edward Sanchez explains, it's mostly just about celebrating the same Americana of "baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie" as anyone else.
"It really helps demonstrate that Houston is becoming accepting and really understands that prejudice is a thing of the past," Eade says.
The most obvious proof of this is Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly-gay elected mayor of a major metropolitan city. Fittingly, Parker will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Before then, the Gay Men's Chorus of Houston, Bayou City Women's Chorus, and the Pride Idol winner Brittini Anne Jackson will sing the national anthem.
Saturday will be officially recognized as Pride in the Park Day by the City of Houston. There will also be an official Pride in the Park after-party at Meteor (drinks will be half off).
This may not be the only major Pride sports event this year. Other local professional sports organizations have contacted Eade and Sanchez about having their own gay days. Nothing is confirmed yet, but Eade tells CultureMap that there will be one more major event before the end of the year.
Thus far, the Astros' Pride Day hasn't received any public opposition, according to the co-chairs. Eade says that he was asked by a friend how he would react if someone argues that Pride in the Park isn't family friendly.
"There will be LGBT families bringing their children there," Eade says. "Doesn't this constitute as a family?"
With original bedazzled jerseys and T-shirt celebrating Pride in the Park, everyone will be sure to see the diversity of Houston in the mother-mother, father-father families that are just as plain as ... well, apple pie.
You must use the code "pride" to purchase tickets online. This is the only way a portion of your ticket purchase be donated to the seven LGBT charities. You have until noon Saturday to buy tickets this way.