Miami Beach Pride is Canceled – Now What?

Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

By: Laura Antunez / Staff Writer

Different Florida International University students from all walks of life share their stories being part of the LGBTQA community in lieu of the cancellation of Miami-Beach pride.

Isabelle Sobera is a lesbian female and her pronouns are she/her. She is a Public Relations and Communications major and a freshman. She recently turned 18 and wanted to commemorate her entrance into adulthood by attending her first-ever Pride parade at Miami Beach. 

“This would’ve been my first time going to Pride so really bummed it’s not happening anymore,” said Sobera. “I definitely wanted to attend Pride this year and I was going to go through FIU and then possibly go again with some friends.”

In the past, Sobera was not able to attend due to transportation issues or lack of approval from her parents. Sobera was excited to go not only to celebrate a coming of age but to feel more connected to the LGBTQA community as well.

Photo of Isabelle Sobera, Courtesy of Sobera.

“My high school didn’t really have a lot of LGBT kids around so it was really easy to feel isolated,” she said. “I feel like going to Pride and being in an environment where I’m surrounded by people like me would really make me feel normal for a bit.”

Sobera began her LGBTQA journey in the eighth grade when she realized simultaneously that “being gay was a thing you can do” and that she had a crush on a classmate that was also female.

“I just naturally assumed that the order of things was as a woman I would get a husband, we would get married, and then my best friend and her husband would move in and we would all raise our kids together,” she said.

“What’s funny is that my uncle is gay, but I had no idea. When he brought his partners over he would refer to them as his partners so I thought he meant business partners,” she said.

Sobera came out to her parents in that same eighth-grade year and according to her they were accepting about it because they’re young and liberal. 

Despite the social distancing, Sobera stays connected to her community with FIU LGBTQA group chats. 

“There are a lot of virtual things. I’m involved in a lot of LGBT clubs, so I’m in a bunch of group chats and it’s nice to meet up with my friends over video chat,” she said. “It does get a little isolating sometimes, I miss seeing my friends in person. I’m a big extrovert.”

Krystal Luciano is a queer lesbian, her pronouns are she/her and they/ them. She is 25-year-olds and a Junior English/Creative Writing major.

She has been to Pride for the last four years, and since her first Pride, Luciano has enriched her knowledge of LGBTQ history. 

Krystal Luciano at Pride at Washington DC 2017, photo courtesy of Luciano

“I really do see it as a large protest, a day where the trans/lesbian/queer pioneers rebelled and risk their lives to pave the way for a safer future although now it is celebrated as a giant party,” she said. “I never forget how lucky I am to have a space where I can unapologetically be myself.”

Luciano is disappointed that Pride is canceled this year because it is her favorite event out of the year. She credits her partner whom she FaceTimes often with, as helping her still feel connected to the community. She also recognizes there are different ways to express queer pride.

“I’m taking this time to internalize all the queerness I have to really allow myself a deeper understanding of my sexuality and gender,” she said.

Being a queer Latina woman growing up in the suburbs of Miami, Luciano said she felt disconnected from her peers both socially and culturally. 

“[It wasn’t until] I got to college and learned about the riot grrrl scene from the 90s that I realized there were other outlets for gender expression,” she said. “That same year I fell for a girl, had my first queer relationship, and started attending Pride religiously. It’s where I find hundreds of brown girls like me waving their rainbow flags proudly.”

Emily Silverio-Williams is an 18-year-old freshman digital arts major. She identifies as female and bisexual and her pronouns are she/her/hers. She was raised in Orlando and has known about the LGBTQ community since she was young. 

“Two of my uncles are gay and growing up I knew two close family friends that were trans women,” she said.

She also said that at her high school there were other LGBTQ students, however, it was still difficult for her to come to terms with her sexuality. 

“[I didn’t realize] how much that thinking that I had to be with a man-shaped my identity, but I think as I got older and had access to resources that I could read about and come to terms with my own sexuality I was able to identify as bisexual,” she said. “I think even that is swamped by a lot of confusion.”

Emily Silverio-Williams at Gay Pride 2018 in New York City, photo courtesy of Emily Silverio-Williams.

Silverio-Williams mentioned that part of her journey had been accepting that sometimes you had to compartmentalize parts of yourself since not everyone has a clear idea of what bisexuality means.

“[It was] realizing I have to come out to different people at different times and what my identity is to me if I’m not outwardly declaring that I’m bisexual everywhere,” she said.

Coming to FIU was a nice change for her, she said. It gave her the space to figure out how to present herself to the world. She began volunteering for the LGBTQA initiative and was eventually hired as a student assistant, allowing her to interact more with the community. 

“It was exciting to make my identity the forefront of who I was rather than people understanding who I was as a kid and then who I am now,” she said.

Silverio-Williams had attended Gay Pride 2018 in New York City but has never attended a Pride event in Florida. She said going to Pride is like a celebration of her and other’s identities, and a way to feel connected to others in the community.

Despite this year’s cancellations, she remains hopeful.  

“Getting to see LGBTQ students come out [on social media] and chip in their two cents and seeing other people talk about their personal experiences still makes me feel a part of the community,” she said.

Be the first to comment on "Miami Beach Pride is Canceled – Now What?"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.