Badpuppy Gay Today

Tuesday, 27 October 1997

MIAMI'S GAY LATINO COMMUNITY TURNS OUT FOR PRIDE

In Downtown's Bayfront Park They Comprise Half Miami's Pride March
"Homophobia Equals Dictatorship" Say Members of Gay Cuban Group

By Jack Nichols

 

Jesse Monteagudo, a prominent South Florida gay activist and widely-respected journalist was quoted in Monday's Miami Herald as pleased with the impressive turnout of Latinos in Miami's Gay Pride parade.

Monteagudo, who is also a contributor to Badpuppy's GayToday, noted that the estimated 1,000 Dade County marchers were fewer in number than generally march in nearby Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale.)

Nevertheless, Monteagudo, a Cuban-American, "was favorably impressed by the turnout, especially Latinos, and that's good," he said.

"We're a major part of Dade County, and its good to see we're represented."

The parade wound through downtown from Brickell Avenue and Southeast 6th Street to Bayfront Park. According the Herald, "Hispanics comprised about half of the parade participants."

Yellow signs reading "Homophobia=dictatura" (Homophobia Equals Dictatorship) were carried by members and friends of CUBA, or Cubans United for a Better Ambiente (Gay Life).

Cuban émigrés told reporters how, before leaving Castro's island nation, they'd endured –as homosexuals—persecution by officialdom. Americans recalled how it was Fidel Castro's work camp internment of known gay males in 1965 that gave rise to the first picketing demonstration (April 17) by an avowedly lesbian and gay organization, The Mattachine Society of Washington.

"ORGULLOSO DE SER GAY CUBANO" ("Proud to Be Gay and Cuban") said a sign carrier who wondered aloud if things were really better in Miami than in Cuba.

The Sunday march was alive with concern about the Metro commission which had voted earlier this year to allow often virulent anti-gay prejudices free access to gay and lesbian citizens, a political statement that places the Magic City itself in a questionable light that has remained constant since the early 1950s.

A damning but detailed account of Miami's longtime mistreatment of persons who embrace same-sex affection appears in professor James T. Sears' new history book, LONELY HUNTERS: An Oral History of Lesbian and Gay Southern Life.

In Miami Beach candidate Bob Kunst is running against a rich cast of mayoral contenders. Kunst recently caused an appreciative uproar accounting for the scarcity of police on the Beach by saying they'd all gone to Flamingo Park, having formed a puritanical brigade, a veritable orgasm-prevention squad offering police popular genitally-based jobs as undercover agents.

The Miami Herald likened both pioneers Bob Kunst and Jack Campbell to the parade's bookends. Each man rode in autos at opposite extremities of the parade. Kunst and Campbell had been prominent in the 1977 battle against Gospel-singing Orange Juice ad lady-turned rapid anti-gay-basher, Ms. Anita Bryant.

© 1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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