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Tampa Pride Remembers LGTBQ Milestones At This Year’s Festival

Gay pride flag
Gay pride flag

Pride, determination, and unity are the key messages of the fifth annual Tampa Pride festival and parade, organizers say.

Tampa Pride President Carrie West said organizers also want to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ advocates in the 50 years since the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

The riotous response to a police raid at Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, is a notable event in the gay rights movement.

West said that marriage rights for same-sex couples is one of the milestones worth commemorating since then. But he also believes there is more work to be done in countries where it remains unsafe to be openly a member of the LGBTQ community.

“We’re not looking for special rights in any of the  countries or any of the states here in America, we’re looking for equal and same rights,” West said. “And, that’s something that’s being recognized, slowly.”

In it’s fifth year, West said the festival itself is a milestone. Hillsborough County commissioners lifted a ban on LGBTQ pride events in 2013.

Following a threat last year, West said security measures have increased, including law enforcement officers from city and county departments, street blockades and drones monitoring the festival.

A spokeswoman for the city said Friday the city looked “forward to another exciting day with friends and family” in reference to the festival. The city and the county are listed as community partners on the Tampa Pride website.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn tweeted photos this week receiving two LGBTQ WAVE awards. The awards recognize people for activism, service, entertainment and other categories. Buckhorn received second and third place awards for “favorite local politician,” and “greatest ally to the local community,” respectively.

“Our community is stronger when we stand together and celebrate diversity,” he wrote in the tweet.

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