Mar 31, 2023 - Politics

"Defiant celebration": Miami Beach Pride kicks off amid GOP bills

Participants on a float are seen during the Miami Beach Pride Parade on Ocean Drive on Sept. 19, 2021. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Miami Beach Pride is back for its 15th year and organizers are excited to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with more than two weeks of events, culminating in the big parade on Ocean Drive later this month.

Yes, but: The annual celebration feels heavier this year as Florida lawmakers "seek to legislate us out of existence," Bruce Horwich, Miami Beach Pride chairman, tells Axios.

Why it matters: As Miami's most popular Pride celebration kicks off, LGBTQ advocates say Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature are attacking their community, Politico reports.

What they're saying: "It's impossible to ignore the realities of what is happening around us and the implications for our community are deeply concerning," Horwich wrote in an email.

  • "Now more than ever before, our programming is more important as a source beyond our celebratory festivities," he said.

Zoom in: This month's slate of events includes a panel discussion on transgender rights, an Easter family picnic and the Miss Miami Beach Pride Pageant honoring a local drag performer.

  • And it all kicks off tonight with the raising of the Pride flag at Miami Beach City Hall and a memorial event on Lincoln Road to "light up the sky in Pride colors" for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub and Club Q shootings.

What's ahead: On Saturday, organizers are throwing a pool party at the Clevelander from noon-6pm ($20).

  • Next week's events also include a rooftop movie night and a queer art showcase. Check out the full lineup of events online.

Details: The headlining event — the free, two-day Pride Festival — will take over Lummus Park on April 15 and 16, coinciding with the Pride Parade.

  • There's going to be drinks, several stages with live music and a drone show.
  • Performers include Todrick Hall, Gale and DJ Dan Slater (among many more). Tribute artists will honor the music of Celia Cruz, Selena and Jennifer Lopez.
  • The Pride Parade, scheduled for noon on April 16, will bring together thousands to march in solidarity along Ocean Drive. "Mean Girls" actor Jonathan Bennet and husband Jaymes Vaughan will serve as this year's celebrity grand marshals.
  • Expect floats, cheerleaders, drag performers and maybe a celebrity sighting. (Actress Gabrielle Union and Heat legend Dwyane Wade attended in 2019 with their family.)

The bottom line: "We hope that the community can come together in a defiant celebration," Horwich said.


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