Did Florida gain a new gay space?
During Pride month this year, some inhabitants of Pompano Beach, Florida took to the shoreline in order to honor the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings on June 28, 1969. We all need to celebrate that historical day. But this group didn’t just party on the beach. Instead, they decided to rename a spot of the beautiful Florida coast after Stonewall.
According to South Florida Gay News, this wonderful gathering of men, which has its own Facebook group, unofficially proclaimed the section Stonewall Beach. Despite there being no guarantee that this proclamation will become official or gain traction, the original group members remain hopeful.
“We no longer have to hide in the shadows or make up secret names for places to meet in public. This beach area is to honor the people who risked it all for us. The name Stonewall will always be synonymous with the gay movement. Stonewall Beach will be a place for all to come and celebrate our differences whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or straight.” – event organizer Anthony Kulp
But according to Kulp, the group didn’t decide on the spot and renaming just to honor the Stonewall Riots. Instead, he says that many feel the other gay beaches are becoming too populated. And as beaches become more popular, gay or straight, they lose more and more parking opportunities, like what is occurring at Sebastian Beach in Fort Lauderdale, the most popular gay beach in Broward County.
“A lot of gay people have moved up here to Pompano,” said local realtor Kulp. “If you arrive at 11 a.m. [in Fort Lauderdale], no parking.” And the city has just increased parking rates for the beach area. The only way you can get a discount at the parking that is close to the gay beach is if you have residency in Fort Lauderdale, not Wilton Manors or Oakland Park where much of the gay population of Greater Fort Lauderdale lives. Tax money apparently from Oakland Park and Wilton Manors does go to Fort Lauderdale, too, but that does not give residents a break on the parking fees like it does FTL residents.
With all these challenges in mind, Kulp and company decided to claim a new space for LGTBQ beachgoers. As for why he chose the specific spot in Pompano Beach, Kulp says it’s because the area is close to parking, showers, bathrooms, and restaurants. Sounds like a good pick!
“I wanted to pick a spot close to everything,” he said. “We don’t need to hide at the end of the beach.”
But again, will the spot stick? How will residents feel about having this piece of shoreline claimed for LGTBQ visitors? We’ll see how things turn out in time.
And we should all look at this as a good thing. We’re franchising! When one gay beach gets too full, we’ll glady just make another.
For more of the top beaches in Greater Fort Lauderdale, where you’ll most likely run into many friends of Dorothy, head over to sunny.org/beaches-and-beyond/beaches/
As you continue your journey south, you’ll come across Pompano Beach, a wonderland for diving enthusiasts. It’s home to 18 shipwrecks, each as interesting and mysterious as the next. Pompano Beach is also known for its sport fishing, so charting a boat to head out into the open waters is another fun option.
The lifeguarded beach features a kid’s playground, volleyball court, and interactive water fountain. If you want to take a break from the beach, check out Beach House Pompano, a stylish two-story restaurant and bar that has stadium-seating banquettes and serves fresh seafood.