The Third Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade took place this past Saturday and for each of the past three years the parade has begged the question - why did it take so long to start?
Even much smaller Florida cities like St. Petersburg have been celebrating Pride for nine years. It's like comediennes Mimi Rodriguez and Sandra Valls said at their show Lezberados, part of the Pride celebration last Friday, "Why has it only been going three years? It's because Miami has pride every day. Miami is super gay."
That's true, but we still need a day set aside to celebrate as evidenced by the tens of thousands people who showed up on Saturday, some wearing rainbow and pink triangle paraphernalia and some in their regular threads.
The highlight of the parade every year so far has been the Legacy Couples. Cherry classic cars drive down Ocean Drive carrying LGBT couples who have been together for longer than 20 years. "It's why I come out," says Angela Suarez. "It is so beautiful to see that. It kind of negates the BS that people say."
Of course, the parade also featured floats with thumping beats and hot bods, along with local businesses and LGBT youth groups marching from 5th Street to 15th Street.
"I love seeing the Pridelines Youth Services kids marching. I would have never been able to do that when I was a gay teen. It takes a lot of courage even in today's society," shared Melissa Torres. "I would have gotten beaten up if I had even tried that when I was in high school," laughs Richard Fuentes. "I laugh now, but my ass woulda been grass."
After the 90-minute parade, revelers could still show off their pride and support at the Pride Festival at Lummus Park where dozens of booths were set up with merchants, LGBT organizations, LGBT media, and local businesses conducting giveaways.
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"What I find beautiful, wonderful, and heartwarming, is that Pride isn't a bunch of leather daddies and assless chaps. There are straight kids here with their gay parents and gay kids with their straight parents. That is amazing," added Fuentes.
Highlights from Pride: