The Actual Meaning Behind Miami Beach Pride Parade

I don’t think I have ever seen more rainbows in one place in my life. This year’s Miami Beach Pride Parade marked its 11th anniversary and it definitely had its fair share of go-go dancers, extravagant floats and of course GLITTER! Back in 2009 when it showcased its first parade, there were only approximately 15,000 people in attendance. Flash forward to 2019 and over 100,000 people participated in the weekend’s festivities. As an ally and friend to the LGBTQA+ – in which I learned stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual – community, I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to volunteer with FIU in the Pride Parade this year, in which I advocated for “Panther Pride” and universal love. (I am the one mid-conversation in the middle!)

 6 people, people smiling, outdoor

Image: Lgbtqa Initiatives at Florida International University

I find that a lot of us consider Gay Pride Parade as this happy-go-lucky event with few strings attached and don’t get me wrong a large part of it is. Everyone is free to be and is celebrated for being their genuine and unapologetic selves. Yes, this event is filled with joy and laughter from Drag Shows to drinks to dancing, but in the midst of the excitement we often forget how far the LGBT community has come, as well as what is even being celebrated!

 3 people, people standing, sky and outdoor

Image: Lgbtqa Initiatives at Florida International University

Throughout this immersive experience I learned that we often overlook the discrimination and hatred people within the LGBT community face each and every day. I learned that this celebration sparked from the New York Stonewall Riots in June of 1969; where Police officers raided gay bars for operating without a Liquor Authority License. The reality of the matter is people within the LGBT community were not allowed to be granted licenses and therefore obtained them illegally. After the arrest of 13 people that night, the 6 days that followed were filled with chants like, "Fag power", "We're the pink panthers!" and fits of rage from both parties. With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the stonewall riots, immense progress has been made to advance the efforts of LGBT people, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage in June of 2015.

One cannot forget to acknowledge that while Miami Beach Gay Pride represents a celebratory event with family and allies alike, it also acts as a protest to the ongoing issues the LGBT community is dealing with. So, if you ever decide to participate in an event like this, enter with an open heart and be cognizant of the historical background of what is being celebrated.