LAFAYETTE, La. — Some Lafayette City Council members have declared June 2021 as Pride Month in Lafayette.
Council members Glenn Lazard, Pat Lewis, Nanette Cook, and Liz Hebert signed the proclamation, which was announced at Tuesday night's council meeting.
Right before the proclamation was announced, there was some push-back from council member Andy Naquin as to who in the city government can or cannot make proclamations.
“It seems like we’ve kind of thrown the rules out the window,” said Naquin. "I’m wondering, is that across the board for everything? Can we go from three minutes to five minutes? Rules don’t seem to apply to the council... It’s like we have a set of rules for thee, but not for me.”
He referred to a city ordinance saying that only the mayor president can proclaim and recognize months or ceremonies for groups or individuals.
Council member Pat Lewis, who initially backed the pride proposal with council member Glenn Lazard, had another perspective.
“If I want to acknowledge someone, why can't I? Why I cannot acknowledge someone? If any one of us council members want to acknowledge someone, why you cannot? Why does someone else have to acknowledge them?” said Lewis.
During Tuesday's meeting, he made it clear he wanted to recognize and acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community – even if Mayor-President Guillory wasn’t behind it as well.
“We want to recognize someone that’s taxpayers, human beings, and we have a problem with that, that's kind of disappointing,” Lewis said.
The proclamation was announced minutes after, and the certificate was received by PFLAG leadership.
Council member Lazard has agreed to coauthor a resolution with Naquin in hopes of clearing up the confusion that caused tension at the meeting, or they might revisit the ordinance that says only Mayor-President Guillory can do these tasks and possibly revise it.
Meanwhile, in Downtown Lafayette, some businesses are getting ready to throw a pride event in a few weeks.
Wendy Dorfman with Sugar Wolf Outdoor Exchange is organizing an event alongside at least a dozen other businesses in the area.
“We need to do something, and we should have something visible and welcoming and a good environment for everybody,” said Dorfman.
Proclamation or not, their store is always a welcoming space for everyone, she says. They are selling Pride merch all month long.
“There's a national day for everything whether it's important or not,” Dorfman said. “This is important. Again, community, safe space, and people coming together rather than being more divisive.”
Down the street at Beausoleil Books, they have curated a set of books dealing with queer culture.
“So regardless of the proclamation, or what the government or the mayor decides to do, we’re still going to create a safe space for those people and welcome them in to be who they are and that might safe a life,” said the store’s general manager Alexis Lemoine.
Part of Beausoleil Books' contribution to the event on June 26 is a drag show. The cover for the show is $10, which will be used to pay the drag queens; what's left will be donated.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory has said in the past that putting forth a proclamation like this is not the role of government.
The proclamation declares June 2021 as Pride Month, but Lewis said it's something council members might move forward with year by year. It's not a proclamation of the Lafayette City Council; rather, it's a proclamation of four Lafayette City Council members. Started by Lewis and Lazard, council members Nanette Cook and Liz Hebert soon signed on as well.
PFLAG Lafayette shared a post shortly after the announcement:
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