To celebrate its 40th year of LGBTQ awareness, Pride Fort Lauderdale (formerly South Florida Pride) is taking its annual festival from the cozy confines of Holiday Park to Fort Lauderdale Beach. This weekend's Pride Fort Lauderdale — scheduled to be centrally located at 1100 Seabreeze Blvd., also the site of the Tortuga Music Festival — will be an expanded version of the free celebration of the LGBTQ community, supporters, and friends.
This year's event is shaping up to be the biggest yet. But it also comes on the heels of actions by the Trump administration that LGBTQ advocates say discriminate against trans children.
The Pride celebration will be the first since November's hotly contested presidential election and since Donald Trump and the famously anti-LGBTQ Vice President Mike Pence took office. Given the president's recent actions, Sunday's event feels especially well timed. Yesterday, Trump issued a reversal of Obama-era guidelines that directed public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice.
Miik Martorell, president of Pride Fort Lauderdale, recently spoke to South Florida Gay News about what this celebration means for the LGBTQ community in regards to the new commander in chief.
"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,'" Martorell told SFGN. “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.”
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This year, the Pride Fort Lauderdale weekend will be headlined by America’s Got Talent phenom Brian Justin Crum; Grammy-nominated country music singer Ty Herndon; and Jazz Jennings, a local transgender teen and star of the hit TLC reality series I Am Jazz. Proceeds from the festival will fund scholarships for LGBT youth and grants to local organizations that help support those who identify with the LGBTQ community.
In addition to featuring main-stage acts, Pride will also offer continuous music by DJs AJ Reddy, Wendy Hunt, and Joe Gauthreaux. From noon to 8 p.m., attendees will be treated to local entertainers, national exhibitors, a food court, a family area, a sporting area, the History of Pride educational area, the Senior Chill Zone, the Sober Zone, and a VIP area.
Pride Fort Lauderdale
Noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, February 26, on Fort Lauderdale Beach, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Visit pridefortlauderdale.org. Admission is free.