Two major LGBT organizations are hosting big events on the same night and it’s leaving a sour taste in some people’s mouths.
Saturday, Oct. 22, finds the National LGBTQ Task Force and Pride Fort Lauderdale holding major events. This is forcing members of the LGBT communities and allies to choose which group they want to support.
It’s not the first time LGBT organizations in South Florida have conflicted with each other either.
How Did This Happen?
Events of this size and grandeur don’t happen overnight. They require months of planning, and one of the first goals is to find a date on the calendar and a venue. The two events above are physically distancing themselves from each other, with one in Miami Beach and the other in Pompano Beach.
Jeff Oliverio is the Chair of this year’s Task Force Gala Committee and said the distance helps but the situation is still not optimal. He added some folks up north wouldn’t travel down to Miami Beach anyhow.
“No matter how much [people] want to support us, they won’t go to Miami Beach for an event. It’s unfortunate that both are on the same night, but we have a great value. I think there’s room for both but unfortunately both on the same night.”
Task Force has been holding their annual gala this weekend for several years in a row and is a fixture on the pre-Halloween social scene. They chose their date in January and officially announced it in March.
Pride picked their date later and many of the big weekends of the early season/holiday season were already taken. Pride President Kevin Clevenger believes that very different crowds attend these two distinct events, telling SFGN, “They have different caliber of crowds.”
He notes that the next weekend is Halloween and would put them in competition with the bars on Wilton Drive. They also note that SAVE’s Halloween MasQUEERade Ball is the next weekend. It’s worth pointing out that SAVE’s event is on a Friday and in Downtown Miami.
Task Force is one of the greatest advocates in the country for LGBT rights. Hotspots Magazine Happening Out Television is a premier sponsor of both events. Lead anchor Al Ferguson said the overlap could be disastrous for the community.
“I'm disappointed that this date conflict is a reflection of what is really going on in the LGBTQ community as a whole. Are we even paying attention? We face a gigantic threat from outside our community in Governor DeSantis and the radical right. The Task Force Gala is the single largest focus of our fight in South Florida before the election over this tremendous threat. But we have to decide if we will divert this attention on this one day to the social aspects of our community vs. uniting in participation, marketing and voice of support for our lives. We shouldn't have to make that choice. With Nov. 8 mid-terms and our fundamental rights at stake, one has to take priority over another.”
Double Booking… Again
This isn’t the first time Pride Fort Lauderdale has shared the spotlight with another event. Last year they held Pride the same weekend as the SMART Ride. While Pride is a party on the beach, and the ride is a two-day bike ride from Miami to Key West it still forced sponsors to choose.
SFGN has learned that one sponsor asked ride organizers why they were overlapping, and learned that SMART Ride picks its weekend years in advance. They still chose to represent at Pride despite being a pharmaceutical company that would have found an interested audience among SMART Ride participants.
Ferguson said these types of conflicts need to stop.
“Our community must do better to unite and stand for each other. The LGBTQ community can not be just about you. Hotspots Magazine Happening Out Television Network are premiere sponsors of both The Task Force and Pride Fort Lauderdale. We are proud of our dramatic marketing and manpower support of both organizations. We should never have to make a choice of one LGBTQ non-profit over another because they are both on the same day. We want to support both.”