For years, Miik Martorell has been one of South Florida’s most popular local DJs. On any given weekend, he could be found in the booths of the most popular dance clubs, some long gone, some current fixtures in the gay nightlife scene.
He’s equally passionate about the local LGBT community and its history. As president of Pride Fort Lauderdale, he took the reins of a challenged organization and devoted thousands of hours to rebuilding the annual event that celebrated 40 years on Fort Lauderdale Beach in February. It’s not unusual for his board members to receive emails in the middle of the night. As the event approached, 20 hour days became commonplace.
“This is so important,” he explained. “Forty years ago, Pride got its start as a protest of the repeal of a gay rights ordinance in Dade County. Today, we are looking at a presidential administration that threatens to roll back many of our hard-fought advances.”
To prepare for the celebration, held on the beach for the first time, Martorell and his board members organized a Pride Tour of nearly two dozen festivals across the country last year. They traveled—at their own expense—to volunteer at the festivals and, most importantly, watch and learn and bring the best practices back to Fort Lauderdale.
“We met some of the most amazing people,” Martorell said. “The highlight was being there with them as they saw the results of their hard work. Now, it’s our turn.”
Judging from the record turnout, there were a lot of smiles on Fort Lauderdale Beach on Feb. 26.