top of page

Frisco revises proclamation guidelines | Dallas Voice

By David Taffet taffet@dallasvoice.com | Senior Staff Writer | Dallas Voice


A scene from Pride Frisco festival 2023


The mayor of Frisco has released new guidelines on who can receive a city proclamation, and those guidelines exclude Pride Frisco, organizers of the annual Pride event told Dallas Voice this week.


When it comes to proclamations from the city of Frisco now, individuals may receive recognition upon retirement with at least 30 years of service, for celebrating an anniversary of at least 50 years or in recognition of an extraordinary act of service to the community. (That third one, of course, puts the mayor in the awkward position of deciding whose service is extraordinary and whose isn’t.)


Next on the list are “charitable fundraising campaigns, arts, athletic and cultural celebrations.” Pride Frisco, with its wide array of booths displaying the variety of things the LGBTQ community offers, would certainly qualify under cultural celebrations, right,


“Special public events taking place in the city of Frisco with a defined event date,” is next on the list. Again, Pride Frisco — which takes place in Toyota Stadium in Frisco from 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 6 — qualifies.


Finally on the list comes “other extraordinary events, activities, individuals or achievements as determined by the mayor.”


Proclamations are issued in person by the mayor at city council meetings and are limited to two per meeting. They’re scheduled on a first come, first served basis.


Jon and Justin Culpepper, who created and run Pride Frisco, believe that’s the biggest sticking point. Issuing a proclamation is one thing, but publicly acknowledging and congratulating the LGBTQ community at a city council meeting would lose councilmembers votes in this conservative suburb.


However, according to the mayor’s letter, he has the option to “determine whether a proclamation will be issued at a city council meeting or at another time or location or in another manner.”


(There’s no indication what other manner that would be, but in the city of Dallas, proclamations are signed by the mayor and emailed and printed for pick up.

The Dallas County Commissioners Court presents proclamations at the beginning of its weekly meeting. In the case of Dallas Voice’s recent 40th anniversary, a county proclamation was delivered and presented by Commissioner Theresa Daniel at the Voice’s anniversary celebration on May 11 at The Round-Up Saloon.)


But the next point in the Frisco mayor’s letter is where Pride Frisco gets denied: “Requests that are considered redundant will be declined, and a copy of the original proclamation may be provided as an alternative.”


And these rules are retroactive. The Culpeppers wondered about the legality of issuing what in effect is a new city ordinance retroactively.


The first Pride event staged in Frisco was at a local church. The event attracted so many people, organizers moved it to Toyota Stadium last year. Two years ago, the city issued a vague proclamation acknowledging June as Pride month. No mention was made of the Pride event held in the city that year. And no mention of Pride Frisco, which the Culpeppers describe as a social service organization, was included.


As an example of the organization’s contributions to the city, Jon Culpepper pointed to the mental health forum Pride Frisco presented earlier this month for mental health awareness month. The well-attended event featured speakers covering a range of topics.


“All of our presenters were experts in their field, but presented with extreme vulnerability,” said Justin Culpepper. “They talked about their own experiences. They were not just objective but also personal serving our community.”


Comments they received from attendees indicated it was a meaningful event. “I’m a therapist and learned a lot today,” one participant wrote to the organizers.


But that Pride Frisco event wasn’t worthy of a proclamation, although city staff did offer to reprint the proclamation from two years ago.


Jon Culpepper said he sometimes fears for his own safety in this more conservative northern suburb of Dallas, but he is especially fearful for the safety of Frisco’s LGBTQ youth. Last week, the church held an alternative prom for LGBTQ youth and allies that was well attended. Demonstrators picketed the church and held a banner that read “We want God” and blared curses at the teens attending through megaphones. If police were present, they kept their distance.


Meanwhile, in its bid to FIFA to bring some 2026 World Cup games to Toyota Stadium, Frisco included links to the Pride Frisco website. That’s because FIFA has strict non-discrimination guidelines, and when it was convenient to use Pride Frisco, the city was happy to have them in town.


But issue a proclamation, that costs the city nothing, to honor the organization and the event? No thank you.


Pride Frisco is torn on that one. On the one hand, they’re happy to be part of the fabric of the community. They’re delighted Frisco was chosen as a venue for World Cup games. On the other hand, they see the cynicism in using their organization’s website to prove diversity that the city is otherwise trying to hide.


2 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page