Loud waves crashed ashore and a strong wind blew in off the Atlantic Ocean as dark storm clouds threatened overhead.
But, the weather held off and the party went on as Pride Fort Lauderdale returned to the beach.
Dancing In the Street
The parade stepped off shortly after 11 a.m. on Nov. 20 and marched right down A1A (renamed gAy1A for Pride Week). More than 50 organizations were represented, including law enforcement from South Florida departments, high school and college marching bands, and elected officials from across the area.
The parade stage was set up at Las Olas and was the platform for Happening Out Television Network’s broadcast, with Al Ferguson, Fay What?!, Kitty Meow, and Tony Lima hosting.
“It feels incredible,” Fay What?! told SFGN. “There are tons of people here, but the big thing is the families. I see people here with their kids and their dogs and I am beyond happy. And we haven’t even started, we just had the parade.”
Crowd favorites included The Pub float and local cheer squads Cheer Fort Lauderdale and Cheer Miami.
After the parade people packed the Pride area at the south end of the beach, across from the Bahia Mar hotel. This year, Pride Fort Lauderdale made it a goal to be more inclusive than ever. That meant having an Afro Pride, Trans Pride, Bear Pride, and Lesbian Pride.
Afro Pride, as an organization in South Florida, formed earlier this year and is already becoming an important and visible part of the community.
“We had our first Afro Pride in October,” Afro Pride’s Donald Gunder said. “Now we’re here at Fort Lauderdale on our stage now. We’re excited, it’s our first time.”
The Imperial Sun Court of All Florida was on hand to spread a little fabulousness and a lot of awareness.
“We’re here to show our support for the community,” Queen Mother Barbie LaChoy said. “We’re focused on the community and let people know what the Court can do.”
In the Trans Pride tent, there were dozens of pictures of people who have been murdered simply for being trans.
“We think of them as our fallen angels. This year we’ve counted almost 60,” said Morgan Mayfaire.
Transinclusive Group’s Tatiana Williams says having the space at Pride feels good.
“I feel it’s very important they took the opportunity to carve out a particular section just for the trans community, because often we can get lost in Pride events. This puts us in a place where people really can see what’s going on in our community.”
“This is the first time that Pride Fort Lauderdale has actually put up a lesbian stage,” Fay What?! said. “It’s a big, big thing.”
Many believe this is the most inclusive Pride event they’ve ever attended.
“I definitely by far I’d say yes,” Gunder said.
The party continues Sunday, with the inimitable Jennifer Holliday scheduled to perform.