Given everything that’s happened since last year — the massacre at Pulse, the election of Donald Trump, the non-repeal of HB2, the federal rollback of transgender rights — Pride celebrations are shaping up to be very different this year.
From crowd size to political posturing, expect a more lively, feisty and downright defiant Pride than in years past.
Across the nation Sunday, rallies in nearly 90 cities including Washington, D.C. are expected to draw a grand total far surpassing the crowds that attended the president’s inauguration. Capital Pride alone estimates more than 200,000 people will flood D.C. this weekend.
West Palm Beach holds its event just 5 miles from Trump’s Mar-a-lago beach and golf resort and weekend White House, and Fort Lauderdale is gearing up to send the president and LGBTQ rights opponents a message.
It’s really important that as a community we come together and make sure that our voices are heard,” Miik Martorell of Aventura, an organizer of the Fort Lauderdale gathering, told the Sun Sentinel. “This was a nasty election. And there’s a lot of unhappiness all the way around. People truthfully feel like no one cares about them.”
The message Rand Hoch, founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, wants to send the Republican-controlled Congress is the need for a law that would ban antigay discrimination in housing, jobs and public employment.
Mark Foley, the openly gay former Republican member of Congress from Palm Beach County, told the paper he doesn’t see hostility from Trump, a longtime friend, toward the LGBTQ community.
While saying this weekend’s rallies can be valuable in bringing increased attention to LGBTQ Issues, Foley recommended against a “poke in the eye rather than trying to create the opening for real conversation and understanding.”
Rep. Ted Deutch, the Florida congressman and a vice chairman of the congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, joined minority leader Nancy Pelosi at a Pride event and vowed to join marchers in Washington, while remembering the victims of Pulse.
— Anthony Man (@browardpolitics) May 26, 2017
I’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with my LGBT brothers and sisters on the National Mall to remember the 49 lives lost one year ago & demand full equality.