UM students celebrate diversity and individuality at Miami Beach Pride
Already a social hub for the queer community, Miami Beach takes the time once a year to grow bigger, bigger, and even weird. Meanwhile, friends and supporters from all walks of life are encouraged to come together to celebrate their identity.
Usually held in early April, this year’s Miami Beach Pride has been pushed back by the ongoing pandemic. However, if there’s one thing a virus can’t stop, it’s the pride that filled many UM students in attendance this past weekend.
Held over a full week of September 10-19 with the awe-inspiring parade taking place on the final day, Miami Beach Pride was filled with celebrity performances and DJ sets, drawing in visitors from all over the world. This year’s headliners included Spanish music legend Paulina Rubio and former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Latrice Royale.
Christian Weiman, a senior psychology student who identifies as a gay / queer man, spoke about his experience at his first Miami Beach Pride.
“The best part about Pride is the sense of community you get from being there,” Weiman explained. “It gives me comfort knowing that I can be dressed and act the way I want to without the risk of someone attacking me or laughing at me for being.”
He mentioned his disappointment with this year’s headliners, hoping to see someone taller in the future.
“I would love to see a bigger headliner like Kim Petras or Christina Aguilera,” Weiman said.
Dr Joseph, a current JD student at UM School of Law who identifies as a bisexual male, pointed out how uplifting the event was after being indoors for so long during the pandemic.
“The turnout was excellent, for sure,” explained Joseph. “I’m just happy because it was my first Pride event. I missed last year due to COVID so I’m glad we got to celebrate this year. I really liked the scenes with music and queer artists taking their time. Latrice Royale was great.
Joseph mentioned that an important opportunity was lost without the inclusion of gay-owned businesses.
“We definitely need more support for queer businesses,” said Joseph. “A lot of big companies showed up, which is good, we’ll take the sponsorship coin, but I know for a fact that Miami has a lot of LGBTQIA + owned businesses that could have had their moment.”
Blaise Ciarrocchi, a senior business student and Spanish student who identifies as a gay man, repeated the same sentiment as Weiman regarding the uplifting emotion surrounding the event.
“This is my first pride in Miami, but I got to witness the pride in New York over the summer,” Ciarrocchi said. “It’s so nice to just be around people like me and not feel threatened in any way. I love getting involved in the LGBTQIA + community and it was a great opportunity to learn more about all the groups in Miami and South Florida to get involved with. I was so excited to see the University of Miami participate in the parade, especially with Sebastian. “
Although the event is open to everyone, Ciarrocchi wished there were more Miami allies in attendance.
“I would really like to see more allies get involved,” he said. “I think there’s a stigma that it’s only for people in the community, but I wish my straight friends would show a little more support. Maybe the school could help spread the word.
Lauren Yelner, a broadcast journalism major who participated as an ally to the community, explained why she chose to attend.
“I went to support some friends,” she said. “I also went to New York Pride. My favorite part of Pride was the energy all around, the happiness and inclusiveness pouring out from everyone. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to each other and this is something you don’t see everywhere for sure.
She explained that the diversity of the event was what made it so special.
“I think the best part about Pride was the variety of events they had, from the parade with all the different people and groups to vendors and artists, and then to art and installations,” Yelner said. “There was something for everyone and everyone was welcome. ”