When people think of LGBTQ living in Florida, they often think of cities like Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. Areas like Fort Myers and Cape Coral don’t have a large LGBTQ community or a reputation for being very accepting. But times are changing, and Cape Coral is beginning to have more to offer to the gay community. The Cape Coral Pride event is a sign of changing times and a move towards acceptance in a place that’s not known for inclusivity.
The History of Cape Coral Pride
While some Pride celebrations have been going on for over a decade, Cape Coral is still new to the party. The first local Pride took place in 2019 and was hosted by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Association (SCHEA) and PRIDE Cape Coral Inc. Although it wasn’t one of the largest Pride events in Florida, the celebration certainly had plenty of support and excitement.
In 2020, the pandemic prevented the parade from taking place. However, organizers didn’t give up, and there were still a few events. Then, Cape Coral was home to another Pride event in 2021. The event featured performances by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, as well as an appearance from a former The Voice contestant.
The event began with the goal of educating people about the LGBTQ+ community and celebrating diversity. Because Cape Coral is the second largest city in Florida in size, the city was long overdue for its own Pride celebration. The 2022 celebration certainly did justice to the initial mission, as it featured several incredible performances and a lively parade.
Cape Coral Pride Events
Every Pride event is different, and this Pride stands out from the rest. As a smaller Pride festival, attendees get a very intimate experience. You can hang out in the VIP tent and talk to performers, or get prime curb seating for the parade. In previous years, the event has featured a parade, a tutu drag race, a drag brunch, and live performances.
Multiple vendors have come out for the two-day Pride festival, with some vendors selling Pride merchandise and others offering services. In the past, local establishments like Nice Guys Pizza have shown their support. Even when Pride couldn’t happen in 2021, there was still a drag bingo brunch at Nice Guys Pizza and a Pride comedy show at BackStreets Sports Bar.
In March 2022, about 5,000 people showed up to participate in the Pride festivities. The 2022 pride celebration also featured thousands of attendees, and organizers were impressed by the turnout. Celebrations continue throughout the year in Cape Coral, especially in June. Visit the Cape Coral Pride website or Facebook page for updates.
Accomplishing a Meaningful Mission
When you live in a conservative place, acceptance is hard to come by. It’s events like Cape Coral Pride that remind everyone that they are loved and welcome, no matter who they love or marry. At the 2022 event, it was clear that this message is spreading rapidly. One of the event’s volunteers, Sandy Hovis, explained that she was volunteering because her grandson was rejected by many people when he came out at the age of 18. She fully supports him and was excited to be helping out at the event. Overall, Cape Coral Pride is a beacon of light for individuals of all ages in Southwest Florida.
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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.