Rainbow on the Green: Celebrating LGBT Pride at Discovery Green

June 16, 2014
by Ashley Roberts
Just as President Obama recently declared June as LGBT Pride Month, Discovery Green proudly presents an LGBT celebration for all of Houston. As our fourth annual Pride event, Rainbow on the Green, is fast approaching, we spoke with Discovery Green President Barry Mandel about Rainbow and its importance to the City of Houston and to the LGBT community.  

Q: For those who don’t know, could you tell us a little about Rainbow on the Green?

A: Rainbow on the Green is a city-wide celebration of GLBT Pride.  In June of 1970, the very first Pride Parade—Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day— occurred in New York City. This parade marked the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots—the uprising between New York City youth and police officers that lasted nearly a week, following a raid of Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. This riot helped bring the GLBT civil rights movement into the national spotlight by eventually moving millions to celebrate gay pride with special parades and events each year. Discovery Green has become part of the mission of continuing the celebration of gay rights and gay pride within our Rainbow on the Green event, an outdoor celebration of song, dance and general revelry.  

Q: What does Rainbow on the Green mean to you?  

A: Rainbow on the Green means a great deal to me.  It’s like inviting your friends and family to your home for a celebration! I love Discovery Green because the park is so much more than just a public green space, and to be able to host my community and family here is a huge honor.    

Q: How did the idea of Rainbow on the Green come about?  

A: Before Rainbow, I felt like the Pride events were missing something—something that was not Montrose-centric that offered options to men, women, adults, children, families—all of those that make up the GLBT community and those who love and support us. Thus, Rainbow on the Green was created.  

Q: What special activities can Rainbow goers expect to enjoy?  

A: Rainbow goers should expect great music, great dancing and great entertainment—all in a one-of-a-kind venue, under the stars with the city skyline as the backdrop.  The environment doesn’t get any better!  

Q: What is the importance of celebrating members of the LGBT community at Discovery Green?  

A: This year holds special significance with the recent passing of the City Council’s Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).  The ordinance, which bans all forms of discrimination including sexual orientation and gender identity,  has proven to be a huge step forward for the City of Houston—just another aspect that helps us stand out from other great cities.  During the first year of Rainbow on the Green, the announcement came in the middle of our concert that the state of New York had passed same-sex marriage and soon the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned.  Both of these milestones were huge advancements for the GLBT community, but the passing of HERO hits much closer to home and this year, we will have something extra special to celebrate at Rainbow on the Green!  

This year’s Rainbow on the Green features artists Blake Lewis, Michelle Chamuel and Derrick Barry as Britney Spears. Visit www.discoverygreen.com/rainbow for more information about this event.