South Florida’s large gay community is celebrating the fifth annual Miami Beach Gay Pride festival at what might be a pivot point in history.
The military has ended its ban on gays openly serving. A majority of U.S. senators (as well as a majority of Americans) have expressed support for same-sex marriage. And in June, the Supreme Court could provide the capstone, a ruling that the federal government must recognize those unions.
“We will look back on 2013 as the year equality for the LGBT community became real,” said Gary Burton, a Grammy-winning vibraphonist from Fort Lauderdale. “I used to wonder if I would live long enough to see this milestone, but here it is!”
This confluence of change has energized gays and their friends, relatives and supporters. Organizers say they expect 80,000 (20,000 more than last year) to attend the festival, which began Monday when a rainbow flag was raised over Miami Beach City Hall.
We asked lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and their allies why they’re proud. Within two days we heard from more than 100 people by email, Facebook and the Public Insight Network (PIN). Here’s a sampling of responses: