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All About Naples Pride | LGBTQ History and Events

Naples Pride Overview
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Since its first Pride festival in 2017 at Cambier Park, Naples Pride has become one of the most anticipated events in the area. What was once the humble Pride with Purpose Festival is now a volunteer-run organization, complete with a center for resources, healthcare, events, and education.

If you’re visiting Naples and want to celebrate Pride, here is everything you need to know about its history and upcoming events.

What Is Naples Pride?

Naples Pride is a volunteer-based nonprofit that aims to provide a safe space for LGBTQ community members and inspire change. Its members have worked hard to pass local ordinances that protect individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The organization hosts educational workshops, outreach efforts, legal talks, and a Pride parade throughout the year.

History Of Naples Pride

Naples Pride began in 2017, with its parade drawing in nearly 5,000 people. The main event featured music, speeches, and appearances by LGBT-led groups and individuals. Most importantly, it spawned the Naples LGBTQ Emergency Fund, which has since helped hundreds of at-risk and in-need members of the community and inspired the creation of the Naples Pride Center.

The Pride organization now draws in entertainers, musicians, speakers, vendors, artists, and exhibitors from across Florida and the world.

Naples Pride Events

Once a relatively simple celebration, Naples Pride is now a multi-day event attracting thousands of attendees and global talent. If you find yourself in Naples during Pride Week, here are a few events you should add to your itinerary.

Naples Pride

The Annual Naples Pride Fest kicks off at the beginning of June in Cambier Park, home of the original parade. For an afternoon, attendees can enjoy live music and performances, shop at gay-owned boutique stores, and get a taste of Florida’s most mouthwatering dishes.

The funds raised from Naples Pride benefit the Naples Pride Center, helping its health and wellness, suicide prevention, and youth-senior programs.

Kick-Off For Naples Pride

If you want to get your blood pumping before the Naples Pride Parade, take part in the Kick-Off for Naples Pride. At this show bar, guests can shop at locally gay-owned stores, take advantage of drink specials, and participate in raffles. The Kick-Off’s biggest event happens later in the evening – a drag show featuring local and national entertainers! 

Pride After Party

After the Pride Parade is the Pride After Party, which takes place at the Bambusa Bar and Grill at the Empire Plaza. Enjoy entertaining acts by the Bambusa Babes and DJ Kooshie. Don’t forget to bring your Pride cup from the parade to get discounts on your drinks!

Naples Pride Tea Dance

Your LGBTQ-centric Florida holiday is not complete without spending some time under the sun. Get your poolside fix by attending the Naples Pride Tea Dance at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Downtown. Enjoy bottomless drinks at the tiki bar and be entertained by the country’s best drag queens.

Brunch With Pride

If you like the idea of indulging in delicious food while watching a drag show, hit up Brunch with Pride at Bistro 821. Bistro 821’s brunch menu is irresistible – enjoy a juicy lobster omelet, white chocolate and blueberry-stuffed French toast, or steak and eggs, plus a cocktail if you’re feeling boozy.

Pride At The Zoo

Hosting its first Pride Day is the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, home to a diverse selection of wildlife from black bears to Malayan tigers to American alligators. Spend a day at themed exhibits and enrichment activities, and learn about the Naples Zoo Conservation Program.

The Naples Pride Center

Launched mid-pandemic, the Naples Pride Center has since become a supportive space for the LGBTQ community. It’s equipped with staff and resources to help visitors any time they need it. 

Health Clinic

The Naples Pride Health Clinic is a drop-in establishment. It partners with the Independent Medical Group (IMG) to provide:

  • STD prevention, testing, and treatment
  • Hepatitis B and C screening and treatment
  • HIV screening and treatment
  • PrEP treatment

All of the Health Clinic’s services are free – just provide identification and insurance information.

Programs

Naples Pride collaborates with local organizations, governments, churches, and businesses to fund multiple areas of support for the LGBTQ community. These programs include the following.

  • Emergency funding: LGBTQ community members who need immediate access to housing, transportation, medical help, food, or employment can tap into the Naples Pride Center’s emergency funds.
  • LGBTQ Youth Report: This annual report surveys over 12,000 LGBTQ teens on their social experiences in the classroom.
  • Counseling: LGBTQ community members can consult with therapists when in need of coping skills development, family integration, parental support, and hotline access.
  • Employment: Get employed at LGBTQ-friendly businesses and agencies.
  • Housing: Find potential housing options with the local government, Youth Haven, the Women’s Shelter, and local Naples hotels for temporary refuge.
  • National School Climate Survey: This annual survey asks LGBTQ youth about their experiences with orientation and identity-based discrimination, as well as biased language. It also studies how accessible support resources are in specific Naples schools.

Library

Avid readers can get access to the Naples Pride Center’s Goodreads profile for LGBTQ-based fiction and non-fiction. Visit the Center’s physical library to check out its available reading list and participate in a monthly book club.

Local Resources

The Naples Pride Center partners up with dozens of local and national organizations to provide help and support to LGBTQ community members. If you find yourself in need of assistance while in Naples, you can get access to the following NGOs:

  • GLSEN: For over three decades, GLSEN has worked to ensure safe spaces in educational settings for LGBTQ youth.
  • Legal Aid Service of Collier County: This non-profit law firm provides free legal services to LGBTQ members needing representation.
  • SW Florida Psychotherapy: Consult with certified transgender care therapists on the board with GET (Gender-Equality-Trust) to discuss psychological issues and potential solutions.
  • Grace Place: LGBTQ community members living in poverty can get access to education through Grace Place.
  • St. Matthews: This NGO provides free housing, food, and comfort for struggling LGBTQ individuals and families.
  • Project HELP Rape Recovery and Victim Services Center: Get help through a 24/7 crisis hotline, crime victim advocacy, and sexual assault and crisis intervention services.

The Bottom Line

Since its humble beginnings in 2017, Naples Pride has become more than just a parade. As a volunteer-led group, it aims to provide LGBTQ community members with a safe place for open discussion and a helping hand. Its Center has also become a safe haven for LGBTQ people from all walks of life.

Do you want to learn more about Pride events in Florida? Explore our Complete Guide to Florida Pride on OutCoast!


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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