The Hispanic LGBTQ community is celebrating a month of Orgullo (pride), uniting artists, musicians, educators and allies throughout Miami-Dade County.
Now in its sixth year, Orgullo is organized by Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, a Miami-Dade Hispanic LGBTQ pride group. The 2016 program is the first of its kind, highlighting the contributions of Latinos and as a means to provide equality and advancement to the LGBTQ community, Unity Coalition President Herb Sosa said.
Orgullo began as a one-day event, an outdoor festival for people in the Latino community to have a sense of place among the many local LGBT pride events. This year’s festival began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 16, with activities including poetry readings, writing workshops and culinary tours.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, Unity Coalition hosted a new event, an Artists Studios Traveling Party that transported participants from artist studios in North Miami and the Little River district, hosted by celebrity drag queen Adora.
“Our focus is much more on the culture and the heritage of the Hispanic community. We certainly like to have fun and have our events be celebratory, but unlike a traditional LGBT Pride festival we try to focus more on the art and the culture of our community,” Sosa said. “It’s a showcase for the rest of the world to come see the wonderful talent that is the Hispanic LGBT community.”
Sosa said the focus on local LGBTQ talent separates Orgullo from other Miami-Dade festivals.
“People wonder why we need another pride festival but there are multiple film festivals and food festivals for different interests and this is really no different,” Sosa said. “The Hispanic LGBT community has such a vibrant culture to offer and we felt there was a space and a need for it and the results confirm that.”
“The main takeaway, especially in a year like this that's an election year, is that we as a community see how much we have in common instead of the differences and that we focus on happy, positive and talented people as opposed to negativity, and we focus on being united and being safe. Those are the things we hope people take from our events.”
Throughout the year, Unity Coalition also sponsors a TRANSArt series featuring transgender artists, and ELEVATE workshops for mental health and physical well-being.
Orgullo this year made several major changes to its schedule. Gone: the traditional one-day street festival. Unity Coalition also merged its mini jazz and music festivals into a one-night event.
Caridad Moro-Gronlier, who has attended Orgullo for three years, read her poetry Sept. 28 at Noches de Jazz y Poesia at The Betsy Hotel. Singer EnVee serenaded guests in the lobby.
“I think it’s important that Unity Coalition was created to give the LGBT Latino community a voice and space, she said. “Our inclusion because of our cultural background, and the way the Hispanic community — especially the elders — ostracized the gay community, is important to have a space in our Latinidad, to have a voice, and that’s very gratifying to me to find a kinship.
“Other pride organizations, for example, are primarily white and male, and so there’s little niches under the LGBT umbrella, so it was nice to find familiarity in a group that mirrors my experience,” she continued. “Not only of being a Latina but being gay and dealing with the issues in my particular case of being a Cuban lesbian."
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IF YOU GO
Orgullo 2016 runs through Oct. 16. For a list of upcoming events, visit www.celebrateorgullo.com/Art.html