June 15, 2022 658 PM
MARFA — Pride Marfa, a free three-day celebration of West Texas’ queer community, is taking place at venues across Marfa this weekend, with a variety of shows and performances open to the public.
The inaugural event is being organized by Christopher Gonzales and Paul Chavarria, a couple now based in El Paso who previously resided full-time in Marfa, in addition to a number of local residents. Gonzales and Chavarria said the idea to do a larger, community-wide Pride celebration was born out of informal drag events the duo hosted in 2018 and 2019 while working at the local restaurant Cochineal, which grew in popularity and quality over time.
“Let’s just continue to do what we have been doing, but on a little bit bigger scale,” said Chavarria.
“We just want to celebrate what should be celebrated,” added Gonzales.
Pride celebrations honoring LGBTQ communities will take place across the state and country this June, and for Marfa’s first-ever official Pride celebration, organizers said they wanted to ensure there were a variety of events for people to attend, regardless of age or work schedule. They are also hoping to attract people from around the tri-county region, they said, as Pride celebrations to this scale are not occurring in Alpine or Fort Davis.
“All these big major Texas cities have their own version of pride,” said Chavarria. “For as many queer and trans folks that live here, it’s like we need to bring [everyone] all together.”
The weekend’s lineup of events includes a welcome party at Planet Marfa, family-friendly block party at the courthouse with local vendors, and Sunday drag brunch at El Cosmico, all featuring a number of DJs, drag, dance, and pop music performers. The Pride Marfa team had the opportunity to organize their dream lineup of performers, and in addition to showcasing local talent, are bringing in performers from Central as well as East Texas.
Many of the performers have close ties to Gonzales and Chavarria, who will also be performing over the weekend, Gonzales as drag queen Sauvignon Blanca and Chavarria as DJ Gaying Mantis. Austin-based popstar P1nkstar, El Paso-based drag performer and DJ Puta Kahlo and Marfa’s own Xavier Mcfarlin, performing under the DJ name Ex-Wife Material, are also among the artists performing.
“It’s so nice that all of these performers are so proudly themselves,” said Chavarria.
Pride Marfa secured a number of sponsors in order to put the event on and raised over $15,000. Funds raised are being allocated to pay and lodge performers, with all organizers volunteering their time and efforts.
Gonzales said so far, support for the event has been entirely positive, with Presidio County Commissioners approving the use of the courthouse lawn and Marfa’s City Council the closure of Highland Avenue for the Saturday block party.
“It’s encouraging. It makes me hopeful that at least it’s being recognized. Even if some people don’t agree with what we’re doing, at least they’re willing to let other people be exposed to it,” said Gonzales.
“It’s so nice to be able to represent [the state],” added Chavarria. “Especially in this part of Texas, which is totally underlooked a lot of the times, especially in regards to Pride and it being queer.”
For more information, visit pridemarfa.org or follow @pridemarfa on Instagram