Sunday, March 11, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST March 11, 2007

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The Sun-Sentinel,0,6395389,print.story?coll=sfla-news-broward

Event celebrating `self, acceptance' draws crowds

Thirtieth Pridefest continues today in Holiday Park
By Elizabeth Baier
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 11, 2007

Fort Lauderdale - Marlies Butler showed her pride by holding hands withgirlfriend Tanisha Daley as they strolled past a tent promoting "The GayParade Power Drink."

LeAnna Bradley, a transgendered woman, showed her pride by telling festivalparticipants about her personal transformation and the importance of heradvocacy work for the gay community.

Duncan Tavares displayed his pride by viewing sections of the AIDS MemorialQuilt with partner Mark Voight, as they remembered people who have died fromthe disease.

They were among the thousands who converged Saturday afternoon on HolidayPark for the 30th annual Pridefest. The festival, which celebrates thediversity of South Florida's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendercommunity, continues today from noon to 8 p.m.

"It's a celebration of community, of self, of acceptance," said Voight, 55,of Oakland Park.

The festival drew the usual revelers: partiers decked out in rainbow-coloredbeads, men and women wearing swim trunks and bikinis, a drag queen carefullymeasuring each step taken in boots with 4-inch heels.

The day was postcard-perfect: A cloudless sky, the spicy aroma of jerkchicken wafting through the air, and Outkast's rap hit The Way You Movethumping in the background. Attendees scooped up freebies such as key chainsand shot glasses from the festival's corporate sponsors, as well asinformational pamphlets from groups like the Dolphin Democrats, Campaign toEnds AIDS and the Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

"We're here to support the rainbow family, all of the gay people," saidButler, 27, of Hollywood. The rainbow reference was to what has become themost recognizable symbol of gay and lesbian pride -- the multihued,six-striped banner that San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker first fashionedin 1978 from hand-dyed fabric.

Along with the fun, there was a seriousness of purpose for many participantswho have watched as gay issues -- including the controversy over whether tolegalize gay marriage and adoptions -- have again come front and center inlocal, state and national politics.

Dick Rogers is vice president of the local chapter of American Veterans forEqual Rights, a national gay veterans organization. He spent the day workingat the group's booth, trying to persuade other gay veterans to join. Thetiming is crucial, he said, since Congress is preparing to consider a billthat would repeal the U.S. military's ban on gay men and lesbians openlyserving in the armed forces.

"Our main objective is to end `Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" Rogers said. "Wefeel like we're making some headway ... but we have to keep signing peopleup."

While Pridefest embraces a medley of commercial, fraternal, social, andreligious groups, the festival traces its origins to gay-rights advocacy. Itstarted in Miami-Dade County in 1977 as a protest against beauty queen andorange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant's successful drive that same year torepeal a local ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexualpreference, said Mike Cruz, Pridefest co-chair. Over the years, it evolvedin both Miami-Dade and Broward counties into a "celebration of how much wehave accomplished," he said.

"We still have a lot to be done, for example the marriage amendment in thestate of Florida, but we've come a long way, too," Cruz said.

Elizabeth Baier can be reached at or 954-356-4637.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7134696,print.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Moore's legacy hard to predict

Lauderdale's longest-serving black official fighting public, private battles
By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

March 11, 2007

Fort Lauderdale - City Commissioner Carlton Moore said he starts every dayby reading Scripture, and praying.

Without God, he said, "there's no way I could get through the day of beingtoo black for some and too white for others."

Some say he's a passionate politician helping people who had no voice ingovernment. Some say he's in a selfish pursuit of prosperity and acclaim.

To the chagrin of some, and the glee of others, he hasn't given up. But hewonders, will the legacy of Fort Lauderdale's longest-serving African-American city commissioner discourage other black candidates fromrunning?

In a lengthy interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Moore spokeabout how his experiences of the past two decades, and especially the pastfour months, cemented his long-held belief that "this is a city and countythat's very racially biased."


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