Pride month is beginning to unfold at a point of political tension around LGBTQ issues
This past weekend, the theme parks in the Orlando area held their annual Gay Days events. The events took place despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis passing several laws here in Florida that many complain are anti-LGBT. These laws raised questions about whether Gay Days would happen or if the events would be moved to another state.
Gay Days is an annual event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and attracts thousands of attendees from all over the world. This multi-day event typically takes place in early June and includes a variety of activities, parties, and gatherings in and around the Orlando area.
The origins of Gay Days can be traced back to 1991, when a small group of LGBTQ+ individuals decided to visit Walt Disney World together, wearing red shirts as a way to identify and connect with each other. Over the years, the event has grown significantly and now encompasses a wide range of activities that go beyond the theme parks.
One of the highlights of Gay Days is the "Gay Days at the Magic Kingdom" event. Participants traditionally wear red shirts to the park on a designated day, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. While this event is not officially organized or endorsed by Disney, the park has been supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and welcomes all visitors.
Gay Days in Orlando includes other theme park visits, pool parties, dance parties, live entertainment, drag shows, and a variety of social gatherings at local bars, restaurants, and hotels. It provides an opportunity for LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies to come together, celebrate their identities, and enjoy a fun-filled vacation in a welcoming and accepting environment.
Gay Days Orlando is not limited to just one specific group or demographic. People of all ages, backgrounds, and orientations are welcome to participate. It promotes inclusivity, diversity, and unity and aims to create a sense of community among LGBTQ+ individuals and their supporters.
Throughout the event, various organizations, businesses, and LGBTQ+ community groups collaborate to provide a range of activities and support services. These can include informational booths, health and wellness resources, LGBTQ-focused performances, and opportunities to connect with local advocacy groups.
Gay Days is not just about partying and entertainment. It also serves as a platform for raising awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, promoting equality, and advocating for the rights and well-being of the community. Many attendees use this event as an opportunity to connect with others, share their stories, and support causes that are important to them.
There are many more events going on this month. Key West will be holding its pride festival from June 7th through June 11th. Naples will hold Naples Pride on June 10th, along with Sarasota, Fernandina Beach, and Bay Pride in Panama City, all on the 10th as well. More events will be happening through the rest of the month. For a long but not exhaustive list of Pride events, see this list.
Meanwhile, as these events are happening, the Republican Party, the party that holds the supermajority here in Florida, along with our Governor, have all passed several laws inhibiting the rights of LGBTQ people. DeSantis has limited trans treatments, halted drag shows, and banned pronoun use here in the state.
In response, some cities have canceled their Pride events. Some have done so in protest, and some consider having Pride events in Florida to be a safety risk that might draw unhinged attackers.
Fortunately, there were no major problems at Gay Days here in Orlando, but the tension in the air from the media drumming up fear, dread, and hate is palpable.
What do you think? Do you think Florida cities should continue with their Pride events and other LGBTQ-related gatherings?
Thank you for reading.