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Miami Heat hosts free LGBTQ party

.@MiamiHEAT throw free dance party for LGBTQ fans

The Miami Heat will host a free and open-to-the-public party for South Florida's LGBTQ community.

"HEAT Loud and Proud" starts at 8 p.m. on the Xfinity East Plaza at the AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami on Saturday, Oct. 22. Organizers says Miami's NBA franchise is throwing the dance event as part of its commitment to the region's diversity.

"Our hope is that this celebration becomes an annual event under the umbrella of community outreach," explains Lorrie-Ann Diaz, senior director of the Heat Group Business Communications, via email. "We're also planning on hosting a Pride night during the Heat season."

The lineup of DJ's include Tracy Young, Citizen Jane, A.J. Reddy, Alyson Calagna and R. Silva. There will be appearances by Miami Heat players Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson as well as NBA Cares Ambassador Jason Collins. The Heat Dancers and DJ Irie will also be there. NBC 6 reporter and "6 in the Mix" host Roxanne Vargas will emcee.

Guests must be 18 years of age or older. Admission is free, but attendees must RSVP at Heat.com/LoudAndProud.

The Miami Heat was affected by the June 12 shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where the NBA Summer League was held. Heat players and coaches visited with police, doctors, nurses and first responders. One of the Heat's former employees, a woman who worked in their guest services department, is a survivor of that violence.

"Some of my colleagues and I had lunch with her several weeks ago and I'm happy to report she is improving every day although her recovery will be lengthy and, no doubt, difficult," Diaz adds. "We've assured her that we're in it alongside her for the long haul."

Sometime during the evening, the Heat will present a check to Pridelines, Miami's LGBTQ Community Center.

Previously the Heat has: been a sponsor of Aqua Girl (a week of parties and fundraisers supporting the lesbian, bisexual and transgender community); joined the Florida Competitive Workforce Coalition (an organization that fights for LGBTQ employment rights in Florida) and made donations to LGBTQ organizations (such as SAVE and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce).

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