Spring in Southern Florida makes the state Gayer Than Ever. Say It!


Image from uniteandbeproud.com

Remember How Pride Began

There is still a lot to celebrate and even more to take action against. Remember, the original Pride Parade was a year after the June 1969 Stonewall Riots. In November 1969, the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) voted during its meeting in Philadelphia to ask our community to return to New York City the next year on the anniversary of the riots to hold the first Pride Parade. They gathered in June 1970 in New York City (Christopher Street Liberation Day March), Chicago, and Los Angeles to celebrate who they were and to fight against what was being done to our community and its members. Sounds familiar? Even more so today? If the bigotry repeats itself in history, we must as well repeat our response and our fight.

Let the 2024 Prides Begin

Spring of 2024 has been so gay in Florida already. Yes, I said Florida and I said gay and I’ll say it again. Gay. Gay. Gay. Some of our readers have written to me to say they’ll never come to Florida and do gay things here with how politics are going. Honey, don’t worry. We’re doing a lot of gay stuff without you and it’s probably gayer than ever and I’m not just talking about running into the gay porn stars and the drag queen royalty at grocery stores and beaches. You bet we will continue to do gay stuff even if you don’t come, because we’re here, we’re queer, and our governor has only two more years. And with your “I can’t do Florida right now” attitude, congrats for identifying yourself as someone we would not have seen in 1970 NYC either, a fair-weather gay. 


Let’s take a look around the southern part of Florida (the best and more liberal part) and see what has been going on that’s keeping the tip of the state full of rainbows and unicorns. Pride season starts early in Florida so here are some of the Prides coming up and a couple that have already passed, but we can always plan for next year.

Image from tampapride.org

Tampa Pride

Tampa Pride has been a rollercoaster of an event with a great history, suffering a ban between 2005 and 2015, and now is back. There’s some great adversity here in Florida. We’ve had our little ronnie desantis run ins with people like him for decades. Tampa is a great example of how we can be successful against bigotry and homophobia.

For a great visual ride through the queer history of Florida and mainly Tampa, head over to the Unite and Be Proud page for a very educational scroll. 


Then, head over to Tampa Pride‘s home page to plan your trip down here for next year.  You’ll see their info is still from this year as heck, it hasn’t even been a week. 

The annual Tampa Pride Diversity Parade will be on March 23, 2024 in historic Ybor City, also known as the GaYBOR District. This has become a historical and annual spring event when Florida weather is most enjoyable!

Someone set up a camera and recorded the whole thing, so if you want to watch the Tampa Pride Parade, here you go!


I’m more of a people watcher so I liked the pictures shared on the Official Tampa Pride’s Facebook page

Where to Stay for Tampa Pride

I just had some friends tell me they stay at the same place every year when they go to Tampa Pride. I responded, “I stayed there, too!” Located right in the heart of Ybor City, Hotel Haya has a commanding hold on the luxury and location categories in Ybor City. Hands down, I would stay there again as I mentioned in my post To Ybor or Not to Ybor, That is the City. The courtyard pool, the restaurant’s creative menu, and don’t forget to craft your own old fashioned from endless combinations.

Hotel Haya offered epic food, great location, and luxury.

Image from thepalmbeaches.com

Palm Beach Pride

When you hear Palm Beach, you may think of the cities of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, and that is where Trump lives. But Palm Beach Pride is for all of Palm Beach County and takes place in the lovely little and very gay city of Lake Worth, which is just south of the previously mentioned PB cities. It also where the only active gay bar in Palm Beach County is located, The Mad Hatter.

The Palm Beaches have a great pride history and even have a Gay Polo tournament every year (There’s a Gay Polo League? Kings And Queens Showed up for a Great Cause). They they have a great Pride celebration, too.

Palm Beach Pride is a two-day festival that celebrates the LGBTQ community, equality and respect in a family friendly environment. The festival runs from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm and is located in Bryant Park in Downtown Lake Worth Beach.

For more than two decades, Palm Beach Pride has served as Palm Beach County’s largest gay & lesbian visibility event. Palm Beach Pride also includes the Pride Parade (11 am on March 24 in Downtown Lake Worth), a large Youth village, and elements for senior members of the community.


There was some rain last weekend that made the event fully pushed to Sunday, but fun was still had by all. For pics from a photo booth at the festivities, you can scroll through this JuJu Booth Palm Beach Pride gallery.

A statement from Compass Community Center, one of the best LGBTQ+ Organizations in the state, had wonderful positive thoughts about this year’s pride

In the end, the 2024 Palm Beach Pride was nothing short of a triumph because of all of you! As we reflect on the weekend’s events, we’re filled with gratitude for the resilience and dedication of all involved. And as we bid farewell, we eagerly anticipate the promise of next year’s gathering, knowing that it will be even more extraordinary.

Where to Stay for Palm Beach Pride

Image provided by The Ben

Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, they’re all just a hop, skip, and a jump or a Brightline train ride from Fort Lauderdale. But if we’re looking to celebrate Pride and stay the night, our lodging selection would have to be The Ben in West Palm Beach. We’ve actually stayed there twice in the past couple of years (The Ben West Palm Is Our Hotel of Choice When Visiting WPB). You’re going to get the luxury of the ritzy places in Palm Beach, but at The Ben, you’ll be a little less hit on the wallet, a better base to explore the area from, and a Sunday Brunch to die for. 

What’s Next?

That was just last week and we’re getting ready for another burst of rainbows and unicorns in the Sunshine State very soon. Pride will continue to be celebrated in Florida no matter who is wearing high heels in Tallahassee. So plan your upcoming months of travel and celebrate with us. There’s not much time to relax as the next Pride celebration is just in a couple of weeks, at the beginning of April.

Image from miamibeachpride.com

Miami Beach Pride Week : April 2 – April 14


Miami Beach Pride homepage is growing and growing with information as the dates get closer. The Schedule of Events is filling up which now includes, Miss Miami Beach Pageant, Pride Flag Raising, Pride Lights the Night, In the WYLD (Women’s event), Family Picnic, Pride Movie Night, Queer Art Showcase, MDGLCC Spotlight Mega-Mixer, Social Justice Health & Wellness Evening, VIP Beach Affair, 2 Days of Pride Festival, and The Miami Beach Pride Parade. We also know who the Grand Marshals are

Ahead of Miami Beach Pride‘s 2024 programming which officially kicks off on April 2, we are thrilled to announce a powerhouse duo of Grand Marshals in Lisa Rinna and June Diane Raphael! Both accomplished actresses, strong business women and staunch supporters of the LGBT+ community, they join Miami Beach Pride in celebration and support! Allyship is an important component in affecting change and Miami Beach Pride could not be more thrilled to welcome two outspoken voices from some of your favorite hit shows!  

Where to Stay for Miami Beach Pride

Image from pelicanhotel.com
There may be no better spot than the Pelican Hotel right on Ocean Avenue in South Beach. I had lunch at a bistro table on Ocean Avenue and watch the whole parade pass me by, less than 15 feet away from my cocktail and shade (Travel Thursday: Paradise, Pelicans, Pride & Protests). The Pride Festival was just across the street from the hotel right on the beach so location for EVERYTHING was perfect.

Image from stpetepride.org

St Pete Pride : May 26 – June 23


Florida’s largest LGBTQIA+ Pride is in St Pete. Some believe this celebration gained much of its momentum from the years that Tampa Pride was banned and just kept on rolling. Yes, it’s larger than the youthful 16-year old Miami Beach Pride and Fort Lauderdale’s Stonewall Pride. 

They know what they are doing when they say “Save the Date” for the St Pete Pride Celebration is a month long.


All the information is over at St Pete Pride’s homepage so start your planning. 

Where to Stay for St Pete Pride

Mari Jean gallery images

It’s such a hard thing to leave such a fun and perfect gay offering. That’s what comes to mind when I have to check out of the Mari Jean Hotel in St Pete. You’ll find me gushing more in Instinct’s post New Hotel in St Pete Magnifies the Gayness of The Sunshine City. From the first contact you make with anyone at the Mari Jean, may it be on the phone or via email, you are treated like they are excited for your arrival. I know that sounds odd, but it’s absolutely palpable and I love it. You’re treated like a king (or a queen). The first time I was there, I was ingesting all the building had to offer as the Mari Jean is located in what I would call a gay complex like no other in the Unit States as it also houses:

  • COCKtail Night Club – voted best in St Pete,
  • The Wet Spot – massive pool and day club with an epic deck and full service bar,
  • The SAINT – an award winning speak-easy that is a cannot miss cozy culinary experience.

There’s live entertainment all over the complex 7 nights a week with 2 for 1 happy hours all week too. When you stay there, you’re in the heart of gaydom that is St Pete. And if you want your pulse to race a little more, there is a Hide Leather Night twice a month at COCKtail (1st and 3rd Fridays every month). 


During my second stay in the heart of St Pete at the Mari Jean Hotel, I branched further out from the complex and fell in love with St Pete even more. Seriously, it is an impressive little town. Could I say it’s like if Ogunquit, Maine and Provincetown, Massachusetts had a baby and sent it off to Florida. With art, shops, restaurants, outdoor living, and gay gay gay everywhere, it felt like this could become a future home. 

St Pete has the feel of a town you could explore and explore some more. It has, some of the best beaches in the world, some of the top museums, and was voted one of the top destinations in the US. Due to the city’s constant sunshine, glimmering coastlines and outdoor events, Trip Advisor ranked St. Pete as the second “Best of the Best Destination” in the United States in 2024.

The sun almost always shines on St. Petersburg, the “Sunshine City” that enjoys an average of 361 days of clear skies per year. Combine that with 244 miles of glimmering coastline along Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Ciega Bay and the intra coastal waterways and you have one hot beach destination. Catch the sun, surf and sand at Ft. De Soto Park, or take a hike up the 75-mile Pinellas Trail. Enjoy a Tampa Bay Rays game during baseball season or escape to the shady oasis of the Sunken Gardens. – Trip Advisor 

Getting back to the Mari Jean, they’ve recently announced that they will host and produce a Winter Pride in February of 2025. Keep checking back to their site for more information. I already know the Mari Jean and its sister businesses are great any time of the year (I visited in August 2023 and February 2024) so I might have to make my reservation soon for both Summer Pride 2024 and Winter Pride 2025 in St Pete. See you there?

Image from cocktailstpete.com

Yes Virginia, We Still Need Pride

So yes, Pride is alive and well in Florida. Gay people are still living in Florida and we are celebrating and fighting. Not all of us are leaving as we know how politics fluctuates and if we leave, who will fight?

Prides are a time for celebration of life, of how great it is, of what we have, but it is also a time for us to realize we still have a fight to fight as bigotry and hatred ebbs and flows through our government and the little men that run it. 

What will you do for Pride this year? 


1 thought on “Spring in Southern Florida makes the state Gayer Than Ever. Say It!”

  1. In the 70s, we swore off of OJ to stick it to Anita and Florida. Nobody wrung their hands about the poor orange workers, and we won.

    In the 80s, many of us called for boycott and divestment from Apartheid-era South Africa. The ANC, far from discouraging this tactic (although SA Gov’t made lots of crocodile tears about how a boycott would just hurt blacks), encouraged it. This battle, too, was won.

    Now, our community can’t even do that anymore. Instead of boycotting tourism to Florida and sending a message that any attack on our rights carries a hefty financial penalty for any state government that wants to tangle with us next, we’ve instead thrown up our hands and given up.

    Think of all the tourism money we could’ve withheld with a proper boycott. Think of the message it would’ve sent the fat cats in Tallahassee. Think how many states might’ve thought twice, knowing it could happen to them. Think of how fewer queerphobic laws would’ve passed.

    We’ll never know now, though. Because we sabotaged it before it could even happen.

    God help us in November, because we can barely help OURSELVES.


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