During Pride month, many people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community or as allies of the LGBTQIA+ community come together to celebrate their ability to be who they are.
Coming out as part of the LGBTQIA+ community continues to be an extremely hard thing to do. The difficulty arises because many do not know if those they care about or the public in general will accept them.
“Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community in a society that views heterosexuality as the norm is not an easy experience,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School junior Martha Guerra said. “When I finally realized that I was not straight, I was terrified of what other people were going to think. I got really lucky in that my friends and parents were really accepting, but it was still a nerve-wracking experience.”
In 2021, 5.6% of Americans self-reported identifying as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is a significant increase from 2017, when 4.7% of people identified as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I think since [it’s] becoming so much more accepted nowadays, people are being able to discover what they truly feel comfortable with and who they truly love and that’s why people are coming out more,” Palmetto Alliance Club President Sophia Tomczak said.
In South Florida, many Pride events are held to celebrate acceptance and unite communities. Each event fits people’s specific interests. On Oct. 2, Miami Party 4U organized a Gay Pride Miami Boat party; on Oct. 6, Xtreme Action Park will host Pride Skate Nights and on Nov. 20, a 2021 Pride Fort Lauderdale Festival will occur. These are only a few of the many Pride events happening this year.
“I’m glad that Pride events are able to happen again, that people in the LGBTQIA+ community can come together again and unite,” Palmetto junior Gabriela Abreu said. “Pride events are a place where members of the community can freely express themselves around other like-minded individuals; they are free from the judgement of their peers and can just be themselves and meet new people.”
One of the longest-running Pride events in Miami made a comeback this September. Miami Beach Pride has been occurring for the last eight years. The event, which is usually held in April, had to be postponed until the middle of September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommencement of Pride events results in a great opportunity for those who support the community and those who identify as part of the community to come together and celebrate being who they are.