Pride After Trump: Pride Fort Lauderdale organizers hope to send 'strong signal'

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As the first “Pride” since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January, Miik Martorell sees Pride Fort Lauderdale as the first opportunity for the local LGBT community to speak out.

This is the first time to send a signal out and say ‘We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. We’re not afraid. We’re not going to crawl into a corner,” said Martorell, president of Pride Fort Lauderdale. “It’s very tricky because, as a nonprofit, we have to walk a fine line. Obviously, we’re celebrating the freedoms we have. You don’t have to be a democrat or republican or independent to say we deserve the same rights as everyone else.”

Candidate Trump was described by some as the most pro-LGBT Republican nominee in history. That perception was bolstered by Trump mostly ignoring LGBT issues and Trump holding up a Rainbow Flag at a Colorado rally in October.

On Jan. 31, the Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization, applauded President Trump’s decision to leave in place former President Barack Obama’s executive order providing LGBT workplace protections regarding federal contractors. “Donald Trump campaigned promising to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBT community, and now President Trump is delivering on that commitment,” said Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo in a statement.

But most others remain unconvinced.

The Human Rights Campaign [HRC] has criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not continuing the Obama Administration’s fight to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their new gender. “Transgender students are entitled to the full protection of the United States Constitution and our federal nondiscrimination laws. It is heartbreaking and wrong that the agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws [the Justice Department] would instead work to subvert them for political interests. President Trump must immediately reverse course and direct the DOJ to uphold guidance protecting transgender students,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement.

Like Martorell, Dawn Holloway, director of Pride’s volunteer committee, also views this first “Pride” under Trump as a chance to make a statement. “Nothing should stop us from celebrating who we are. I’m proud to say that we’re doing the first Pride under his administration. I think it’s awesome and it’s not going to stop any of us from being who we are. The way [Miik] put it is exactly the way we [on the board] all feel.”

Robert Boo, CEO of The Pride Center, said the LGBT community needs reminders to come together, even on issues that don’t look like they directly impact LGBT individuals. “When immigrants are threatened, there’s LGBT people most likely within that group,” Boo said. “We as a community need to come together. I think sometimes we become complacent. We need to embrace our diversity and bring people together for a lot of causes. We need to watch and be wary and never take our eyes off the ball.”

Pride Fort Lauderdale takes place noon to 8 p.m. Feb. 26 on the Fort Lauderdale beach, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd. Visit PrideFortLauderdale.org for more info. 


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