Miami Beach Flies Gay Pride Flag

by Juan Gomez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday November 14, 2008

A gay pride flag now flies proudly in Miami Beach. The rainbow blows in the wind just inches from the American flag. It's part of Miami Beach's new push to lure back a community that helped shape the city.

And while the mayor is a proud supporter of the GLBLT community, not everyone in the area shares her views.

"I don't have a problem with the flag being up but I don't think Miami Beach City Hall, whether they are for or against it, should put it up," said Laura Sanchez a Miami resident.

But overwhelmingly the people who talked to EDGE were in favor of it.

"I am very happy that the flag is up. The gay community is a big part of Miami Beach and the flag represents their presence here," said a bystander at City Hall.

"I think it is a bold move and sends a message about the strong gay and lesbian population in Miami Beach," said Ft. Lauderdale resident Bill Sydnor who recently married his partner in San Francisco, "It hurts when government changes an amendment that bans gay marriage."

"I don't think anyone should be upset over City Hall putting up the flag. They probably do it in San Francisco so why not here," said Ken Zalcman a Miami Beach resident.

"I don't have a problem with it. If one of my kids told me their gay I wouldn't love them any less," said a Miami Beach Convention Center parking attendant, "I think people have the right to live their lives the way they choose."

The city has steadily lost both GLBT residents and tourists to Broward County cities such as Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale.

She hopes that allowing businesses to display the rainbow flag will begin to turn the tide back toward the Beach.

That's made Miami Beach spring into action. The city's first gay pride vent will be held in Miami Beach on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

"It is hard to believe a city as diverse and as inclusive of the GLBT community has not had an official Miami Beach Gay Pride in the past," Bower said earlier this year. "I am very proud to be a part of such a historical event in our community and will make every effort to ensure that Miami Beach Gay Pride 2009 will be a success."