City of Winter Haven Proclaims June LGBTQ+ Pride Month
by James Coulter
The City of Winter Haven released an official proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Winter Haven Mayor Bradley Dantzler read the proclamation during the city commission’s regular meeting on Monday evening. It affirmed the city’s overall mission of promoting diversity and inclusion, especially in regard to gender and sexual identity.
“Winter Haven, Florida, is part of a global community in which people of diverse cultures, races, creeds, genders, and sexual identities must work together toward peace and understanding,” the proclamation read.
Furthermore, the City of Winter Haven recognizes Pride Month “in honor of freedom from prejudice and bias in any form, and in recognition and praise of those members of our community who constantly fight the battle for equal treatment for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, color, creed, ethnic origin or religion.”
National LGBTQ+ Pride Month originated in 1999 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. The month-long celebration includes Pride Day on June 28 to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which started the Gay Rights Movement. As such, Pride Day is celebrated on June 28.
The city proclamation was read not only to recognize National LGBTQ+ Pride Month, but also in conjunction with local organizations such as Polk Pride, PFLAG of Polk County, and the Lakeland Youth Alliance to help promote the upcoming Polk Pride event next month.
Started in 2015, Polk Pride is a weeklong celebration in June with several public events hosted in Lakeland. The main event is Pride in the Park hosted in Munn Park in Downtown Lakeland. This year’s Polk Pride will be hosted from June 10 to 17, with Pride in the Park hosted on Sat. June 17 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Scott Guira, president of the Polk Pride celebration, appeared at the city commission meeting on Monday for the official proclamation. He commended the city for regularly releasing their proclamation every year and recognizing the need for diversity and inclusion.
“I just want to thank you all very much for insistently offering this proclamation every year,” he said. “We began Polk Pride in 2015. It has happened every single June, and it has gotten larger every single year. Especially at a time right now where there is so much question about how we will treat each other equally and kindly and fairly. I really appreciate the commission standing up and standing firm that they will continue to embrace everyone in the community.”
For more information about Polk Pride, visit their website at: https://polkpridefl.org/