Pride Fort Lauderdale: Party for the fight for rights

Pride Fort Lauderdale

When singer Anita Bryant campaigned to repeal a Miami-Dade County law that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the 1970s, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual community organized a protest march and picnic.

The gathering evolved into an annual music, cultural and educational event in Fort Lauderdale, the 37th of which will take place Saturday and Sunday at War Memorial Auditorium and Holiday Park.

"We've been at this for a number of years, and the reason we still do this thing is because we still don't have our rights," says Marc Hansen, 51, co-chair of Pride South Florida, the nonprofit organizing the event. "One of the main ones is marriage."

Besides featuring about 150 vendors, pop singers Sheena Easton, Lisa Lisa and Tiffany, and comedian Judy Tenuta, the event also will offer health exams for diseases such as hypertension and HIV.

Hollywood Doggie Beach Pictures

Hansen wants Pride Fort Lauderdale to be as educational as it is entertaining.

"People outside the gay community can come and see we are not evil. We are not gonna kidnap your soul and turn you gay," Hansen says. "We want everybody in the community to come safely and enjoy it."

The events will begin noon Saturday and Sunday at 800 NE Eighth St. Admission is $15-$25. VIP tickets cost $100 and include entrance for two days and an open bar. Go to, @babicorb or 954-356-4710