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Celebrating Pride in Mesquite: A Journey Through LGBTQ+ Milestones

Written by Visit Mesquite June 5, 2024

A Look Back at LGBTQ+ milestones in Mesquite

2018 World Gay Rodeo Finals held in Mesquite

In October 2018, Mesquite proudly hosted the World Gay Rodeo Finals at the Mesquite Arena. This event was more than just a competition; it was a vibrant celebration of inclusivity in the rodeo world. Participants from the International Gay Rodeo Association showcased their skills in rough stock events, roping events, speed events, and the famous camp events. The camp events, including steer decorating, wild drag races, and goat dressing, offered a fun and welcoming space for newcomers and seasoned contestants alike, reinforcing that everyone is welcome in the rodeo community.

Mesquite Local Alyssa Edwards on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Mesquite’s own Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson, better known as Alyssa Edwards, has become an international icon. Before his rise to fame, Johnson was an acclaimed dance instructor and performer in the drag pageant scene. His big break came in 2012 on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where his candid personality and outrageous performances made him a fan favorite. He later returned to for RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars Season 2, finishing as the fourth runner-up. Today, Alyssa Edwards continues to entertain fans worldwide while running his award-winning Beyond Belief Dance Company in neighboring Garland, which is also featured in the Netflix docuseries “Dancing Queen.”

First Pride Celebration in Mesquite

On June 21, 2019, Mesquite made history with its fest-ever Pride recognition at the Mesquite City Hall. The event, coordinated by local activists Sarah Key, a WMHS valedictorian, Susie Hess, and Rev. Geoffrey Moore, saw a gathering of city, county, and state officials along with community members, filling City Hall with rainbow and transgender flags. The celebration marked a significant step towards inclusivity and acceptance in Mesquite, with proclamations provided by Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel, State Representatives Rhetta Bowers and Victoria Neave, recognizing Pride in Mesquite and celebration of the nondiscrimination policy enacted by the City Council.

celebrating pride in 2024

Mesquite Pride Festival at Paschall Park

Mark your calendars for June 15, 2024, as Mesquite hosts its 2nd annual Pride Festival at Paschall Park from 10am to 2pm. First held in 2023, this family-friendly event celebrates the local LGBTQ+ community with food trucks, live performances, games, and vendors. Attendees are encouraged to wear their best Pride gear for a chance to win exciting prizes. The festival is free to attend and promises a day full of joy and celebration.

Mesquite Elks Lodge Drag Shows

The Mesquite Elks Lodge No. 2404 is a steadfast supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, frequently hosting drag shows to raise funds for local charities. On July 20, 2024, don’t miss the Dazzling Divas Dinner & Drag Show, featuring local drag queens. In the past, drag shows at the Mesquite Elks Lodge have featured local and national queens, including RuPaul’s Drag Race veteran Mystique Summers. Proceeds from this event will benefit local students with back-to-school supplies. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Please not: this event is for ages 18+.

Join Mesquite in recognizing Pride Month with events that honor the rich LGBTQ+ contributions to the local community. From rodeos to drag shows, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and show their support. Happy Pride from the Rodeo Capital of Texas!