Early signs of pride season were
visible Saturday in Miami Beach, Florida as gay activist Lt. Dan Choi
and actress Sharon Gless led at least 30,000 revelers down one the
city's most picturesque streets, the Miami
Last year's inaugural event drew 20,000
merrymakers – surprising organizers who had planned for 5,000.
Miami Beach's parade kicks off a long –
and becoming longer – gay pride season that hits its stride in
Co-grand marshals Choi and Gless helmed
the parade from the backseat of a vintage Rolls Royce.
Choi is the 29-year-old Iraq war
veteran whose military career was put on hold when he outed himself
last year on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. The Army
responded with an official discharge, which Choi is fighting. Since
then, the 29-year-old has become the most visible and outspoken
critic of “don't ask, don't tell,” the military policy that bans
gay troops from serving openly.
Emmy- and Globe-winning actress Gless
is best known for her portrayal of Debbie Novotny on HBO's
groundbreaking gay drama Queer as Folk. Gless' first starring
role as a lesbian came in last year's Hannah Free.
Last year's parade marked the return of
gay pride in Miami-Dade County after a decade-long absence.
“It was fun. People supporting other
people,” 12-year-old Dania Valdes of Miami told the paper. “I
was in the parade. It was cool.”