With the Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival coming up and the recent, but not entirely new, challenges facing our community, Hotspots Magazine decided to ask locals what Pride means to them (Photo by Alexander Grey).
Here’s what they had to say.
“As a resident in the State of Florida, Pride is a resilient celebration of LGBTQ+ rights and community in a place that has its own horrific challenges. It is a bold statement of defiance and perseverance, honoring the progress made while recognizing the work that remains. Pride is a testament to the strength and unity of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, navigating a diverse landscape of cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. It is a vibrant showcase of love, resilience, and a call for continued advocacy to ensure equality and acceptance for all.”
The Pride Center at Equality Park
“Pride for me is about living authentically every day, speaking up for those who haven’t found their voice, and creating safe spaces for our community to be themselves.”
Aqua Girl, Girls In Wonderland, Pandora Events
“Pride to me means the ability to celebrate your diversity and not be viewed as a minority, but as part of the community as a whole. Unfortunately, we are at a point of time in Florida where this is being questioned, so the celebration and recognition of Pride continues to be important as we continue the progress that we have made over the past several decades.”
Managing Partner/Broker South Florida
“Pride is crucial in marginalized, and underrepresented communities: Gay pride, Trans Pride, bear pride, and all LGBTQ+ need a safe place to be visible and unapologetically authentically themselves and openly embrace their identities. It empowers them to assert their existence, challenge stereotypes, and defy societal expectations, thereby promoting acceptance and understanding.”
Sunserve, Director of Transgender Services, Women’s Services and LGBTQ+ training
“Attending PRIDE festivals is a very moving experience for me. To be surrounded by my family and being me is a freeing experience. I love that feeling of comradery, unity, safety and happiness. I almost feel like I am walking on air and my emotions are full of joy. I always feel inspired to do bigger and better things for our community after I am energized from attending a PRIDE.”
Senior Vice President, Inclusion & Accessibility
“Pride means recognizing that the Rainbow Flag represents every community, as the LGBTQIA+ community exists in every community. Pride is a time when we acknowledge those whose shoulders we stand on and welcome new groups to our ever-growing community. We may have started with 1 or 2 letters of the alphabet, and now find ourselves using 7 letters, but it won’t be long before all 26 letters find their way comfortably under the rainbow flag and that we have gone from allies to friends and from friends to family. Pride reminds us to be welcoming and offer the support needed by anyone who has ever felt marginalized. Because we do all this, Pride is a natural expression of who we are as LGBTQIA+ people.”
Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library
“Pride means everything to me. Pride is a declaration of who I am authentically. Pride is being a strong ally to our trans and gender diverse family and youth. Pride is taking interest in and caring for our elders. Pride is continuing to provide life giving services to our community despite the incessant attacks from the Governor and other so called leaders. Pride is resilience and ensuring the newer generations can also be as resilient and ultimately thrive despite the negativity that surrounds us. Pride is life.”
“After suppressing my true self for most of my adult life, Pride now shines deep within my soul, and when I was finally able to come out fully, it felt like a geyser of emotions bursting into the universe.”
President and CEO
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
“Pride to me, shows the sheer enormity of our community. When you see 60,000 individuals of all shapes sizes, all age groups and our Allies you can’t help but wonder what we could do if we all United on something important to defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Ironically, Broward County has two prides, and one is named Stonewall. This year pride has a different meaning and more significance. It shouldn’t be about all fun. Instead it is about a call to action. It’s a unique time in history where our community is under direct attack. All the letters representing the LGBTQI+ community and our Allies are under Siege by our state. We have an opportunity for a call to action that should not and cannot be ignored. It is important this year that we show up without fear. That we bring along our friends and neighbors in a non-violent way. That pride is a rallying directly pointed at the governor’s office and his super majority in Tallahassee. It’s not just drag that is under attack. It’s human rights. It’s women’s rights, it’s Gay and Lesbian rights. Pride is about our chosen family; it’s about celebrating one’s authentic self. It’s about celebrating, and it includes awareness. It’s a call to action to say to the rest of the state you should not fear. If you fear, they win.”
And co-owner of Bona Italian
Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival takes place on June 17 in Wilton Manors. The street festival starts at 3 p.m. and the parade starts at 7 p.m. The event ends at 11 p.m. Visit https://www.stonewallpride.lgbt/ for further information.