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Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ Community Hosts City's First Pride Parade Along The Beach

Fort Lauderdale residents Nico and Junior Acosta have been a couple for 22 years -- they have also witnessed an evolving and more LGBTQ-accepting Fort Lauderdale grow over their years together.

It’s a beautiful thing, they said along the Fort Lauderdale Beach during the last day of Pride Fort Lauderdale,  an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community.   

While the 4-day Pride-themed “Carnaval” honored the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots pivotal to the gay rights movement, it also included the city’s first-ever LGBTQ pride parade along the beach. 

“People are still opening up to LGBT rights,” Junior Acosta said when asked why it’s taken so long for Fort Lauderdale to actually host this parade on State Road A1A.  

Nico Acosta talked about a growing LGBTQ community in Fort Lauderdale.

“We attract a lot of that community, and so being out here on A1A shows that we’re standing strong, and we’re standing together,” he said.

Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN
Junior and Nico Acosta near the Pride Fort Lauderdale festival along the Fort Lauderdale Beach on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Right after the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Nico and Junior joined 100 other chosen couples in a historic mass marriage celebration at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel.

“All denominations were there, marrying us together at the same time. Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Protestant, it was really beautiful.”

Festival speakers included Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, an eyewitness to the pivotal Stonewall Riots in 1969, and choreographer Todrick Hall, who also judges “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Sunday's celebration was marred with reports of two people stabbed during a dispute. Authorities are still investigating the incident.