The rainbow flag, symbol of LGBT pride, flying in Miami Beach.

Miami has one of the largest and most prominent LGBTQ communities in the United States. Miami has had a gay nightlife scene as early as the 1930s. Miami has a current status as a gay mecca that attracts more than 1 million LGBT visitors a year. The Miami area as a whole has been gay-friendly for decades and is one of the few places where the LGBTQ community has its own chamber of commerce, the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC). As of 2005, Miami was home to an estimated 15,277 self-identifying gay and bisexual individuals. The Miami metropolitan area had an estimated 183,346 self-identifying LGBT residents.[1]


Miami Beach Police targeting claims

In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) began looking into instances of Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) targeting gay men for harassment.[2] In February 2010, the ACLU announced that it will sue the City of Miami Beach for an ongoing targeting and arrests of gay men in public.[3] According to the ACLU, Miami Beach police have a history of arresting gay men for simply looking "too gay".[4]

The incidents between gay men and MBPD resulted in negative publicity for the city.[5] At the meeting with the local gay leaders, Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega claimed that the incidents were isolated, and promised increased diversity training for police officers. He also announced that a captain, who is a lesbian, would soon be reassigned to Internal Affairs to handle complaints about cops accused of harassing gays. Some members of the committee were skeptical of Noriega's assertion that the recent case wasn't indicative of a larger problem in the MBPD, and provided examples of other cases.[6]

Demographics and economy

Population and concentration

As of 2006, the Williams Institute estimates that Miami has 15,777 LGBT individuals within city boundaries and 183,346 in the Greater Miami area.[1]

There are an estimated 5,131 married same-sex couples in Miami as of 2015, according to a 2018 study of joint tax filings by the Tax Policy Center. This number represents 0.92% of all marriages.[7]

Geographic entity GLB population Density of GLB individuals per square mile Percentage of GLB individuals in population
Miami 15,277 424.5 5.5 (2005)
Miami metropolitan area 183,346 164.3 4.5

Gay villages

Main article: Gay village

Miami Beach

Dancers during Miami Beach Pride 2012

After decades of economic and social decline, an influx of gays and lesbians moving to South Beach in the late-1980s to mid-1990s led to Miami Beach's revitalization. The newcomers purchased and restored dilapidated Art Deco hotels and clubs, started numerous businesses, and built political power in city and county government.[8] Miami Beach is currently considered by many to be a Gay Mecca because of how LGBTQ friendly the city is and how many events the city offers for the community.[9] Miami Beach is home to numerous gay bars and gay-specific events, and five service and resource organizations.

Strife in the 2000s

As South Beach became more popular as a national and international tourist destination, there have been occasional clashes between cultures and disputes about whether South Beach is as "gay-friendly" as it once was.[10] Some instances of Miami Beach Police brutality against gay men[11] have been at odds with Miami Beach's longstanding image as a welcoming place for gay people.[12]

Modern history

The passage of progressive civil rights laws,[8] election of outspokenly pro-gay Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, and the introduction of Miami Beach's Gay Pride Celebration, have reinvigorated the local LGBT community in recent years, which some argued had experienced a decline in the late 2000s.[13]

In 2008, the new Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower created a Gay Business Development Ad Hoc Committee, with a mission to bring recommendations to the Mayor and City Commission on initiatives to be implemented and supported by the city regarding a variety of issues to ensure the welfare and future of the Miami Beach LGBT community.

In January 2010, Miami Beach passed a revised Human Rights Ordinance that strengthens enforcement of already existing human rights laws and adds protections for transgender people,[14] making Miami Beach's human rights laws some of the most progressive in the state.[8] Both residents of, and visitors to, Miami Beach have been able to register as domestic partners since 2004;[15] in 2008 this benefit was extended to all of Miami-Dade County.[16]

In 2010, the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, with support from the City of Miami Beach, opened an LGBT Visitor Center[17] at Miami Beach's Old City Hall.

In 2014, Miami Beach scored higher this year than any other U.S. municipality for LGBT inclusiveness, according to a 2014 report released by HRC, the nation's largest LGBT-rights group.[18]

Sizzle Miami was a major black gay pride event held in the Miami area between 2002 and 2022 every Memorial Day Weekend. Although the event catered primarily to black gay men, it was inclusive of everyone.[19]

Miami Beach is home to some of the country's largest fundraisers that benefit both local and national LGBT nonprofits. As of 2018, some of the largest LGBT events in Miami Beach are:


Miami has a strong historical connection to numerous ethnic communities from various regions throughout the world who call Miami home. Through activism and the arts, the LGBTQ community in Miami has a long track record of leading restoration and revitalization efforts in several of Miami's historic communities. As a city in Miami-Dade County, Miami is able to benefit from a county-wide Human Rights Ordinance that promotes fairness and equal opportunity in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and financing practices, family leave and domestic violence leave. Discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability, marital status, familial status, veteran status, source of income, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is illegal.[20] The City of Miami also has a ban in place against so-called Conversion Therapy.[21]

Little Havana

The Miami neighborhood of "Little Havana" is the spiritual and cultural core of Miami's Hispanic community,[dubious ] and is home to many Cuban Americans, as well as Americans immigrating from Central and South America. As of 2018, the largest Hispanic LGBTQ festival headquartered in Little Havana is:[citation needed]

Wilton Manors

Main article: Wilton Manors, Florida

Wilton Manors is known as The Island City, because it is entirely surrounded by water, and is its own municipality within Broward County, Florida. It is home to a sizable LGBT population as well as winter vacationers, who frequent its many nightclubs and gay-owned businesses along the main street, Wilton Drive;[22] the 2010 U.S. Census reported that it is second only to Provincetown, Massachusetts in the proportion (15%) of gay couples relative to the total population (couples as reported to the U.S. Census).[23] It contains a large Pride center, the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center, and a branch of the Stonewall National Museum & Archives. The mayor, Gary Resnick, refers on his official biography to his male partner.[24]

The city web page highlights LGBT life in Wilton Manors, stating that "the City of Wilton Manors Police Department conducts police training that is geared toward working with the City’s LGBT population and has gay and lesbian officers amongst its ranks."[25] All members of the city commission are LGBT, with the exception of Vice Mayor Scott Newton.[26]

Organizations and community institutions

SAVE and its education arm, the SAVE Foundation, help raise awareness about rights and protections for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The SAVE Action PAC endorses local and statewide candidates seeking office who support its goals. Through this process, it educates candidates about the issues affecting the LGBTQ community. It is located at 4500 Biscayne Blvd in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami.[27]

The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) is the largest not-for-profit corporation in the county for gay and lesbian businesses. It is located on 1130 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.

The Pride Center at Equality Park is a non-profit LGBT community center located at 2040 North Dixie Highway, in Wilton Manors, Florida.

The Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that promotes understanding through preserving and sharing the culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their role in society. The Stonewall Museum Gallery is located at 2157 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors. The Stonewall Library & Archives is located at 1300 East Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.

Culture and recreation

Miami Beach Pride

Bikers on Ocean Drive during Miami Beach Pride

The annual Miami Beach Pride is a week long event in Miami. The Pride Parade, Pride Festival, and the beach party are the main events of Pride Week in Miami Beach Pride. While being a gay mecca of the 1980s and 1990s, Miami Beach never had a city-sanctioned Gay Pride Parade until April 2009.[28] With strong support from the newly elected mayor Matti Bower,[29] Miami Beach had its first Gay Pride Festival in April 2009.[30] It is now an annual event.

It has also attracted many celebrities such as Chaz Bono,[31] Adam Lambert,[32] Gloria Estefan, Mario Lopez, and Elvis Duran who were Grand Marshals for Pride weekend from 2012 through 2016[33][34] respectively.

The 2010 Pride drew tens of thousands of people.[35] In 2013 there were more than 80,000 people who participated in the event.[33] There are over 125 businesses who are LGBT supportive that sponsor Miami Beach Pride.[36]

At the 2015 Pride Festival, the city decided to commemorate two gay "Legacy couples" who have been together for more than 50 years. The two couples Frank Petrole and Mark Rudick who have been together for 55 years and Mary Maguire and Jackie Emmett who have been together for 53 years.[37]

Miami Beach Pride celebrated its 10th annual Gay Pride Festival in 2018, an event that continues to draw over 130,000 people every year. Over 125 LGBT-friendly vendors participate in the festivities along with various celebrities.[38][39]

OutShine Film Festival

The OutShine Film Festival is an LGBTQ international film festival taking place each April in Miami and each October in Ft. Lauderdale featuring high caliber first-run international films and cultural driven events. The OutShine Film Festival has grown to include eight days of films[40] and features an "Angel's Award" that honors individuals who dedicate their time and energy promoting LGBTQ film arts.[41]

Gay8 "Ocho" Festival

A pivotal event in redefining the Little Havana urban enclave is the annual Gay8 Festival,[citation needed] the largest Hispanic LGBTQ festival in the United States.[citation needed] Starting with its inception in 2015, the Gay8 Festival attracts more than 60,000 attendees annually[citation needed].[42] The festival celebrates diversity and inclusion combining art, a curated food section, curated booth vendors, several themed dance parties, a doggie village, free films at the historic Tower Theatre and cultural arts[43] into one gigantic party in the heart of Miami's historic Little Havana neighborhood. The festival is instrumental in balancing historic preservation with economic development, promoting tourism and investment, and celebrating diversity and inclusion by connecting LGBTQ and other diverse communities throughout South Florida. The Gay8 Festival's 4Ward Gala "Pa'lante Awards[44]" is designed to bring awareness to social justice issues and celebrates individuals spearheading social causes. The Gay8 Festival features an LGBTQ Human Rights Symposium aimed at bringing thought leaders from South Florida, other parts of the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America together for education and human rights advocacy for the Pan-American region.

See also


  1. ^ a b "ACS study.qxp" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  2. ^ The Miami Herald. "Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "ACLU Gives Notice of Intent to Sue Miami Beach for Unlawful Arrest of Gay Men and Individuals Who Report Police Misconduct | American Civil Liberties Union". February 3, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "ACLU to Sue Miami Beach for Targeting Gay Men | On Top Magazine :: Gay & Lesbian News, Entertainment, Commentary & Travel". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  5. ^ The Miami Herald. "Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Elfrink, Tim (February 9, 2010). "Police Chief Carlos Noriega Meets With Miami Beach's Gay Leaders Over ACLU Suit, Promises Changes - Miami News - Riptide 2.0". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "Same sex tax filers data" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b c Miami Beach by the numbers - Miami Beach - Archived April 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Miami Beach is Still a Gay Paradise". October 2018.
  10. ^ McCroy, Winnie (January 13, 2010). "Questioning South Beach's Status as a Gay Mecca?". EDGE Miami. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  11. ^ McCroy, Winnie (February 17, 2010). "Miami Beach Police face charges of anti-gay harassment". EDGE Miami. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  12. ^ "Gay Miami Beach Travel Guide, Gay South Beach Guide". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Natalie O'Neill (January 14, 2010). "Gays leave unfriendly South Beach for Fort Lauderdale - Page 1 - News - Miami". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Breaking News - Two New Local Ordinances Support Equality for Gay Residents of Miami Beach and South Miami | Save Dade Archived November 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "City Clerk @ City of Miami Beach". Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "Miami-Dade County - Consumer Services - Domestic Partnerships". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  17. ^ "Gay South Beach – LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach - gay cities". Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  18. ^ "No. 1: Miami Beach scores most points in HRC's LGBT 2014 Municipal Equality Index". Miami Herald.
  19. ^ "Instagram Post". Instagram. Retrieved 21 March 2023.[better source needed]
  20. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  21. ^ "Municode Library". Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  22. ^ "Gay Wilton Manors News - Gay Wilton Manors News".
  23. ^ "The Census confirms it: Wilton Manors in No. 2 nationally for most gay couples per 1,000 - Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida".
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2018-10-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Wilton Manors, FL - Official Website - LGBT Life in Wilton Manors".
  26. ^ Manuel d'Oliveira, "Scott Newton: Vice Mayor of Wiltom Manors, South Florida Gay News, April 20, 2016, p. 23.
  27. ^ "About SAVE".
  28. ^ "The Inaugural Miami Beach Gay Pride 2009 - Miami - Slideshows". Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  29. ^ "Celebrate Pride on Miami Beach!". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  30. ^[dead link]
  31. ^ Crandell, Ben; Sentinel, Sun. "Chaz Bono to lead Miami Beach Gay Pride parade". articles.sun-sentinel. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade 2013, High Heel Race In Pictures". The Huffington Post. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  33. ^ a b City of Miami. "Miami Beach Gay Pride is an extraordinary two-day event". Miamibeachgaypride. LGBT Creativity. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  34. ^ Rothaus, Steve (2015-11-14). "Radio star Elvis Duran named grand marshal of 2016 Miami Beach Gay Pride parade, festival". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  35. ^ The Miami Herald. "Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida". Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  36. ^ City of Miami. "2015 Major Sponsors". Miamibeachgaypride. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  37. ^ Rothaus, Steve. "Miami Beach Gay Pride to honor two 'Legacy couples,' each together more than 50 years". Miami Herald. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  38. ^ "Miami Beach Celebrates Gay Pride - This Year with New Youth District and Safe Zone". 8 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Miami Beach Gay Pride Celebrates Equality For 10th Year".
  40. ^ Bloch, Emily (2018-10-03). "South Florida Festivals Reflect the Region's Growing Film Scene". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  41. ^ "OUTTAKE BLOG™: George Zuber To Be Honored". Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  42. ^ "Thousands party on Calle Ocho at annual Gay8 LGBTQ festival in Little Havana". miamiherald. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  43. ^ "Gay8 Festival". Edible South Florida. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  44. ^ Cassola, Jose. "Pa'Lante Awards Honor Immigrant Rights Activists". Retrieved 2018-10-27.