AUSTIN (KXAN) — One Pride event this weekend in Austin plans to increase security after other Texas Pride events have reported “far-right protesters” in attendance.
The Pease Park Pride Picnic on Sunday will have doubled event security and prohibit video recordings without a permit, according to organizers. Event staff were also informed of the group and warned to not engage with them.
Camila Restrepo, the Pease Park Conservancy community engagement coordinator, said the event organizers received notices that a group of far-right protestors dressed as allies have attended other Pride events and posed as investigative reporters to “spin negative commentary against the LGBTQ community.”
Restrepo said ensuring safety is something that Pride event organizers will need to focus on more going forward.
“It is a family event. So we want to make sure—first and foremost—children and families are safe…our marginalized communities are safe, and just everyone is safe,” Restrepo said.
Specifically, this group was reported at the Rainbow on the Creek event in early June. After attendees reported feeling bullied, security removed the protesters from the Pride event. Vendors and sponsors received “unpleasant email and social media posts” following the event, according to Restrepo.
The free event will begin at noon and end at 4 p.m. at the Kingsbury Commons in Pease Park. The Pease Park Conservancy, Future Front Texas and Equality Texas are hosting the event.
The Pride picnic will include a drag queen storytime with children’s books that have been banned or challenged in a partnership with the Austin Public Library and Book People. Drag queen storytimes have been the subject of controversy, and a Texas representative proposed legislation earlier this month to ban minors from attending drag performances.
“We’ve ensured our drag queen is safe and is being escorted in and out of the park. We have alternative spaces that we can shift to, should any of these groups show up and start to attack or create some kind of loud scene,” Restrepo said.