This article was published on September 29th, 2016
The global pride movement has done so much to push forward the social advancement of LGBT rights. For those living in the LBGT community, pushing for legal acceptance is only part of the battle; social equality is the ultimate goal because with it comes equality rights. Pride is about being visible, unashamed and showing the world who we are, that we are fierce, proud, and not going anywhere.
Dallas Pride was no exception with a phenomenal turnout and an incredible array of truly inspirational people. It was an amazing event, which highlighted and gave credit to many members of the local LGBT community who are working hard all year round on behalf of those within it. One of those people is Todd Maria, who was recognized as one of the Grand Marshal’s at the 2016 Dallas Pride.
Todd is one of the four founding members of the Lost Souls Rugby club, an all-inclusive rugby club founded on the ideal that rugby is a shared interest that brings people together regardless of background. The team was set up to be inclusive to anyone who wanted to join, and to give back to the community.
The Lost Souls Rugby team is well known for having a hugely positive effect for the local LGBT community. Not only by smashing many stereotypes associated with being LGBT but also by promoting a positive image that we are not just LGBT but valuable members of the greater community. It also creates a safe and inclusive space for absolutely anyone to come and be part of a team. Maria’s ideal is one that creates a safety net and support network for those who, previously, may not have been lucky enough to have one.
“During this time of celebration, we come together recognizing solidarity through pride. Our mission now must be to reach out to those that may not have that safety net,” said Todd Maria.
Being part of a team is incredible for an individual, especially one who feels he or she doesn’t fit into the classic social mould. A team not only promotes an environment for individual confidence to blossom, but it creates a situation in which groups can develop, learn and grow together with the support and assistance of each other.
“Isn’t what teams do? They help one another on and off the field, learning as they go,” said Todd Maria. “I have watched and been inspired by those who take a stand as beacons of truth; lighting the way for other to follow. We need to focus that light on love, not hate; and on acceptance, not judgement. It is this light that illuminates the best part of all of us!”
Inclusivity and community support are the two key focus points for the club and they have gone from strength to strength growing into a respected and well thought of club that greatly and continuously benefits the local community through a variety of actions including an annual school supply drive, hosting Thanksgiving lunch, children’s toy drive, and helping to keep the Dallas Food Pantry shelves stocked.
It’s easy to see why the Dallas Tavern Guild chose to recognize Todd Maria for his dedication of building a strong, safe, and inclusive environment for the Dallas LGBT community.
While Pride may be over in Dallas for another year, the LGBT community continues to thrive and if Pride has taught us anything it is that Dallas really is topping the list for LGBT travellers. Visit Dallas can help you plan your trip and remember, everything is bigger in Texas.