March 2010 Cover
Have gay bashings, high real estate prices and a changing community
meant that "gays are leaving South Beach for Fort Lauderdale," as the
headline of a Miami New Times article proclaimed?
While the truth of the matter is far from that story's
sensational headline, many are acknowledging that South Beach does have
The Miami New Times article by Natalie O'Neill gave many reasons
for the supposed exodus, including the fact that there are more
anti-gay crimes in Miami than before. Except that there aren"t. In the
Miami Herald, gay journalist Steve Rothaus pointed out that in 2008,
Broward County (which includes Fort Lauderdale) had twice as many
anti-gay attacks as Miami-Dade County. Broward's total was the highest
in the state.
Herb Sosa, president of Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida, denies
that Miami"s gay community has waned, even if the scene looks a bit
different than it used to. He points to last summer's Pride celebration
-- the community's first in more than 10 years -- as a sign of vivacity.
"Does Miami have its challenges? Of course it does," Sosa told
Guide magazine. "The gay community has changed as a whole, with lounges
becoming more popular than big clubs. But just walk down the street and
it will be very clear the gay community is alive and well in South
But challenges remain for Miami's gay community. The Miami Beach
Police Department has come under fire after a lawsuit claiming the
wrongful arrest of a resident who reported two police officers for
beating another gay man. Activists met with the police in February to
discuss the incident.
Scott Hall, a gay activist living in Fort Lauderdale, said
Miami's problems were far from unique to that city and encouraged
"We are facing more violence each year, and I'm not just limiting
that to Miami," Hall said. "We need to come together as a community and
make sure this violence doesn't continue."
|Author Profile: Joseph Erbentraut
Joseph Erbentraut is a Wisconsin-born freelance writer and editor
currently living in Chicago. His articles on politics, music and
culture have been featured in the Village Voice and other publications.
He also blogs at Chicagoist.
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