Miami Beach Pride Parade

Miami Beach Pride Parade

Miami Beach Pride Parade

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By: Ian Maloney

For the past 11 years, the beginning of April has seen Miami Beach’s LGBTQ community come together to show their pride. Miami Beach Pride started as a neighborhood event and a relatively “small” crowd of 15,000 people has grown into an international event drawing over 150,000 people to a week-long celebration jam-packed full of events, culminating in a two-day festival on the sands of Lummus Park and a parade up Ocean Drive.

The 2019 Miami Beach Pride Parade will take place on Sunday, April 7 with more than 3,000 participants and 90 entries. An estimated 100,000 viewers will be on hand to watch as the parade passes through Miami Beach’s famed Ocean Drive. Things will step off on 5th Street with crowds lining the entire length of Ocean Drive on both sides of the street.

This year, Miami Beach Pride will honor Miami Beach Police Department Detective Juan F. Sanchez as the Advocate Grand Marshal. Detective Sanchez served as a member of the Miami Beach Police Department since November 1987. In 2010 Sanchez, an openly gay police officer, was appointed by then Chief of Police Noriega to serve as the Department’s Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Liaison, a position he held until his retirement. In his position, Sanchez served as a key advisor to the current Chief of Police, Dan Oates, and his staff on LGBTQ needs.

"I've been involved with Miami Beach Pride from year one, and its been incredible to see what it's grown into. The first year I was involved, I started by providing security for the event and never once did I think I would be a marshall for the parade. It's very humbling and a huge honor," said Sanchez.

Joining Detective Sanchez as Grand Marshals will be Judy and Dennis Shepard who will serve as 2019’s Ally Grand Marshals. The Shepards are the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 because of his sexuality. The Shepards have spent the past two decades since their son’s murder working to provide a safe place for LGBTQ youth, and educate parents and allies on how to stand up for the LGBTQ community. Judy and Dennis were also instrumental in helping pioneer the first federal legislation against hate crimes, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“We are incredibly honored to have Judy and Dennis Shepard be our Miami Beach Pride Ally Marshals this year, and to honor them for their unwavering support and tireless work in the LGBTQ community,” said Bruce Horwich, Chairman of Miami Beach Pride. “Their dedication to increasing safety, visibility, and inclusiveness for the LGBTQ community has affected positive change and improved the lives of many LGBTQ youth.”

One of the most amazing things about the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade is the fact that so many different people are able to come together to make such an amazing showing for the LGBT community. It is by far the most colorful, happy and uplifting events to take place on Ocean Drive.

Following the parade at approximately 2 p.m. on the Celebrity Stage will be the Opening Ceremonies with Grand Marshals, celebrity performers and VIPs, City leaders and special guests. Stick around following the Opening Ceremonies for the second day of the Miami Beach Pride Festival with more food, more cocktails and more energy from two stages of international DJs, global and local performers, drag queens, and more, all culminating with an A-list headline performer and fireworks!

No one does Pride like Miami Beach and everyone is invited to come out to show your support for the LGBTQ community. Wear your rainbow colors or your skimpiest beachwear, or just come as you are. You’ll have the time of your life.

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