An Act Of Hate and Homophobia in Brownsville

Words by Abigail Vela

On Saturday, June 17th, the newly-painted rainbow sidewalk on 10th and Adams in Downtown Brownsville was vandalized. This act of hatred and homophobia caused waves of pain, anger, and frustration among the LGBTQIA+ community in the RGV. However, many others showed their support for this insidious act online on Facebook. 


It’s unfortunate that our LGBTQIA+ community in the RGV (and beyond) continues to experience homophobia, transphobia, and hate from the bigots and the ignorant.

The rainbow crosswalk was painted in support of Pride Month in Brownsville by the LGBTQ Taskforce, created by the City Commission on December 9th, 2019. This year on May 23rd, 2023, Cameron County officially recognized June as Pride Month during a city commission meeting. While the recognition may be cause for celebration, Fish Navarro, Chair of the LGBTQ Taskforce, explains that “the hate is just growing and growing, and growing.”

To reiterate, last month’s 88th Texas Legislative Session included the passing of anti-Drag laws, restrictions on college sports for trans athletes, and limits on discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. And we’ve seen the direct impacts of this outstanding show of hostility here in Brownsville.

Former Brownsville Mayor, Trey Mendez, wrote in an underhanded Facebook post, “Hate? Vandalism? Or Freedom of Speech?” 

Freedom of speech? Seriously Mendez? Screenshot Trey Mendez Facebook.

Brownsville City Commissioner Roy De Los Santos addressed in a Facebook post, “Friends, Family, following the elections this year, the kickoff of another Pride month, and the advent of the City’s first rainbow colored crosswalks, those filled with hate are agitated and will continue to lash out.”

The investigation remains ongoing, and it will take over $3,600 to repaint the sidewalk. Businesses and community members have offered to paint the sidewalk to cover the cost. The police are not acting to arrest the perpetrator in comparison to other alleged graffiti incidents (Space X mural). No footage has yet been released from the two cameras on that intersection.

Tweet from Queen Beatrix expressing their frustration in the lack of urgency regarding the vandalism of the rainbow sidewalk in Brownsville.
Tweet by Queen Beatrix.

It’s disappointing and disheartening to continue to see this act of hate on display throughout the RGV. However, our LGBTQIA+ community continues to stand strong, full of PRIDE. This ignorant act of hate won’t dissuade the LGBTQIA+ community from celebrating who they are.

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