Despite new Florida LGBTQ+ laws, Orlando to ‘Come Out with Pride’ bigger than ever this weekend
Amid a year of anti-trans protests and anti-drag laws, the largest single-day event in Orlando was scheduled to celebrate with Pride this weekend.
Orlando’s annual Come Out with Pride parade will hit the streets of Lake Eola this Saturday, and Board Member Tatiana Quiroga said they are expecting their biggest turnout yet.
Quiroga said everything about planning for this year was different. With public pressure and sentiments against the LGBTQ+ community running high, organizers focused on keeping faithful to two main priorities: making sure families can still be a part of the celebration, while keeping in solidarity with the drag community.
According to Quiroga, making this parade happen was more important than ever before.
"We really felt that out of all the years, and especially the trials and tribulations that our community has faced, especially our trans siblings, making sure we hosted Pride was absolutely critical."Tatiana Quiroga
Quiroga said organizers are happy to see tickets and merchandise selling out. As many Pride events across the state have had to either cancel or change age requirements, Quiroga said she expects people to travel in for their only chance to show up and represent themselves in ways they really can’t in other spaces.
“This out of any year had to be the year that we come together, create that opportunity for members of our community and our allies to come and celebrate as their authentic selves, be who they are, bring who they love, and really have this opportunity to come together as a community,” she said.
Quiroga, who is a mother raising a family with her wife, said families are part of the fabric of the LGBTQ+ movement, and that she wants parents to know they and their children are safe and welcome to join in on the celebrations.
"Just an opportunity for the youth to be able to see that they’re part of a larger community and to find a sense of belonging, which is so important,” Quiroga said. “But also for parents to see that it’s going to be okay, that their kiddos are part of something so much bigger.”
As far as security for the event, Orlando Police Department said in an email statement that the city is a “diverse, welcoming, multicultural community” committed to the equality of its residents.
“We will continue to celebrate our diversity while putting equity and inclusion at the forefront,” the email statement said. “The Orlando Police Department is looking forward to joining our community at this Saturday’s Come Out with Pride Parade.”
The event is slated to begin at noon Saturday and will go on until 10 p.m.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.