OK, so maybe he did not. Maybe this was the wrong headline to post, but give me some leeway.
On a cloudy afternoon in July, in the summer of 2019, let history record that a lot of gay men were getting very wet on the Fort Lauderdale beach. And none of them were wearing very many clothes.
What they were doing was having a very big pool party with plastic swans and Corona beer, generously poured by the Alibi Bar, one of their sponsors. Except the pool was the Atlantic Ocean, and the party was held on the very gay Sebastian Street Beach in Fort Lauderdale.
The Flock Fest Float-a-Thon has flourished favorably. Even Richard Gray was there, though I am not sure if he was preparing for his mini marathon the next day, or representing the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Terry Di Carlo and his husband Bill Huelsman went from being Queens of the NY Stonewall Parade one week ago to just being queens on the Fort Lauderdale Beach the next; from wearing sequins in a march to tank tops on the ocean.
Mayor Dean Trantalis was there too, but I am sure just to show off a new bathing suit probably given to him by an Israeli ambassador in Tel Aviv in exchange for a good room at the W. Don’t know, Dean is like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and does not return our calls anymore. It’s OK; Kamala Harris is going to win anyway.
California Kitchens was there as well, giving out pizza and chocolate chip cookies, a weird match I guess I will have to have the SFGN food reviewer, Ric Karlin, cover in a separate issue.
This Flock Fest event of men in plastic tubes riding swans and flamingoes was engineered by one Steve Crawford, and is becoming more popular than the latest 2 for 1 at Hunters. Oh wait, I think Mark Seymour was there too, fresh from yet another victory in a dancing competition in Palm Springs. It’s just pretty hard to tap dance on the sand.
One of the beneficiaries of this past weekend’s events was United Dog Rescue, a nonprofit on Commercial Boulevard in Oakland Park offering canines a home. Adopt. Adopt. Adopt.
United Dog Rescue was at Flock Fest offering up cute T-shirts reading, “This t-shirt saves lives.” A couple of guys I saw shirtless should have bought some immediately, if not sooner. No, I kid you. This is our life, for good or bad, wet or dry.
While it is true that the crowd was older, and looked a little like the guys who go to Happy Hour at Tropics Grille, the event was fun and festive. I mean, what’s better than a barbecue or a beach party with your friends, putting politics and the world aside?
After all, this was the July 4 weekend. Even in overcast weather, it was a time to celebrate our country, our community, and our lives. While there was of course the mandatory gay VIP section, which you could pay for, it’s still on a public beach. The event is FREE, and let’s face it, sometimes, girls AND boys just want to have fun — at any age.
Still, there is a story here. There was a time on the Fort Lauderdale beach when gay men and women were not allowed to enjoy themselves. Not too many years ago, police were patrolling the beach, but not to protect you.
Yes, there was a time when you could actually get arrested for just verbally propositioning another man, charged with “offering for a lewd act.”
There was a time on Fort Lauderdale beach when the only section safe for gay men was within the perimeter of the Marlin Beach Hotel.
There was a time when Pride Fort Lauderdale could not have a parade on the beach bigger than any other. Our community has grown. Now we prosecute the gay bashers, not the gay men or women. It’s about time. Justice is on our side.
But even though the world changes, bad things still happen to good people. Coming home from the Miami Beach Pride festival a year ago, two gay men were allegedly attacked and beaten up by four accused gay bashers. The suspects were found and arrested.
The accused criminals are being prosecuted by the Dade County State Attorney’s office. The case is next set for September, and we report on the prosecution in this week’s paper on page 2. Please read the story.
The truth is no, Donald Trump did not masturbate at Flock Fest, and I did not write this editorial just to celebrate this fun new beach party called Flock Fest.
The truth is I wrote the catchy headline and this editorial to ask you to take a moment and appreciate the importance of an independent gay press in your community.
I doubt if the Miami Herald or the Sun Sentinel sent its staff to cover Flock Fest. From Stonewall exhibits to HIV counseling programs, the LGBT community does a lot the straight press will never cover. It can barely do its own.
SFGN shines a light on our community. Sometimes, it illuminates. Unfortunately, other times, it burns. Sometimes we rave about a restaurant. Other times, we rant. Either way, SFGN is here for you, providing a forum and platform for you that no one else does.
The LGBT community is blessed with a cross section of generous nonprofits working for a greater good. SAVE in Miami- Dade, since 1993, has been one of the good ones. It stands for Safeguarding American Values for Everyone.
This year, at SAVE’s annual dinner, its executive director slipped up big time. With the case against the four accused gay bashers still pending in the criminal courts, he introduced the defendants to the partying and inattentive crowd as a group of “wrongfully accused” boys. It wasn’t his call to make. That’s what a jury is for.
While the mainstream press ignored the story because it went over the head, it was SFGN, your gay press, which brought it to light. And that’s how you know Terry Di Carlo showed up at Flock Fest in a tank top, too. No one else would have. We are there for you, wet and wild, or high and dry.