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.
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.
Celebrating all the #LGBTQ South Florida love at @PrideFortLaud - @WLRN reports Pride Fort Lauderdale wraps up “Carnaval” - these last 4 days included the first-ever gay pride parade in city history along Fort Lauderdale Beach on Saturday #pride #Pridefortlauderdale pic.twitter.com/bJJzRCLJul
— Lily Oppenheimer (@LilyOppenheimer) February 24, 2019