Texas town holds separate Christmas parades for Christian, LGBT groups after men in drag controversy
Group says Taylor Pride seeks to promote LGBT lifestyle as 'biblically accepted'
A city in Central Texas held separate Christmas parades this year after an LGBT group featured a man dressed in drag at last year's parade unbeknownst to the Christian group that once organized the annual festive event.
The city of Taylor, a “progressive, growing city” of roughly 15,000 residents about 30 miles northeast of Austin, decided to host its own separate parade last week following controversy over a decision by the Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance (TAMA) to ban the LGBT group Taylor Pride from its Christmas Parade of Lights following last year's display that offended some families.
Last month, TAMA — an organization of churches that holds to "traditional biblical and family values" — issued a statement saying it would no longer allow Taylor Pride to participate after the group “made it into the parade due to an unfortunate oversight” last year.
According to TAMA, Taylor Pride seeks to promote the LGBT lifestyle as “biblically accepted” and included two men “inappropriately” dressed as women in last year’s parade.
Taylor Pride “should never have been allowed to participate and put their promotion on display to families who had no warning about what was coming,” the statement added.
While acknowledging that TAMA has never held any “Christian or religious theme requirements” for parade participants — a policy which it said “remains completely unchanged” — the group said it took additional steps this year to “ensure that no participant under [TAMA] explicitly contradicts, with their entry, what our entire organization is built on, the Word of God.”
The group also called out what it suggested was a changing definition of “family friendly” in an apparent nod to a video of last year’s parade, which included two men dressed as women, one of whom was seen singing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and wearing large prosthetic breasts with both adults and children in tow.
“Up until very recently, the idea of gaudy and overtly sexualized transvestites being put on public display during a parade which celebrates the biblical event of Jesus Christ being born into this world to save sinners like all of us would understandably have been unthinkable,” the statement added.
Images of the 2022 Very Merry Holiday Celebration posted to the city’s Facebook page showed adults and children marching with Taylor Pride with rainbow flags in hand.
Taylor Pride President Denise Rogers told NBC affiliate KXAN the group chose their theme in direct response to the rule changes made for this year’s parade.
“On the applications, one of the requirements was traditional family values, and this is what [traditional] families look like,” Rodgers was quoted as saying.
In response to the controversy, the Taylor City Council held a meeting last Thursday to discuss a proposed update to the guidelines concerning event co-sponsorship requests for the city’s Christmas parade, Fox News' Austin affiliate reported.
Under what’s known Agenda Item No. 13, groups that seek co-sponsorship from the city for the Christmas parade and other special events must meet a list of criteria, including “programming, administrative practices and board membership that does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity” and other characteristics.
While the city council heard public comments on the topic, they did not vote at last Thursday’s meeting, according to a local ABC affiliate.
In a post on the TAMA Facebook page, Caleb Ripple, an elder at Christ Fellowship Church, which is pastored by TAMA member Jeff Ripple, said while the policy change could exclude the church from some events, it could also “create new opportunities for outreach and participation.”
Ripple wrote, “Regardless of this change, the current city council members have already made it abundantly clear they are unwilling to work with TAMA on future Christmas parades (for now). Nothing they or anyone else can do will stop TAMA from standing up for truth and ministering in and to this community.
“We will press on toward the goal and never compromise on the holy Word of God and our command to love as Christ loved.”
Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com.