September 25, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Most Beautiful Float: Orlando’s Pulse nightclub survivors and victims honored at Rose Parade

15777033_10154970567281151_5631433044097484713_oBY TROY MASTERS  |  The 128th Rose Parade float that honored survivors and victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando was awarded the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for most-beautiful noncommercial float.

The float was the entry of Los Angeles based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and was entitled “To Honor And Remember Orlando.” It was one of about 40 floats in this year’s parade.

Survivor Jahqui Emily Sevilla (left)
Survivor Jahqui Emily Sevilla (left)
15665888_10154926159326151_6754173525502497856_n
Survivor Isaiah Henderson (left) was with his mother, Brenda Lee Marquez, at Pulse nightclub celebrating the Puerto Rican Day Parade happening in New York when shots rang out. He survived, but his mother died.
15589608_10154926173031151_4005693347268488340_n
Survivor Victor Alberto Baez Febo

Three survivors of the June 12 shooting, which left 49 dead and at least 68 others injured, rode on the float along with Barbara Poma, co-owner of the nightclub, and Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

Other riders — who had aided in Orlando’s healing and recovery — included  HIV counselor Joel Morales, and Impulse Group Orlando’s Corey Lyons and Gustavo Marrero.

A large white dove and 49 white stars covered in coconut hovered above a bed of 15,000 red roses. Everything on the float was made of or covered in flowers, seeds or plants, including the chairs and stools, which are covered in crushed parsley.

A set of rainbows stretched from one end of the float near a large oak tree, where messages of condolence hang, to the front, which displays the words, “To Honor & Remember Orlando.”

“It’s bittersweet because I think we’d all rather be focusing on another topic, but this is our way of honoring the lives we lost along with sending a message of resilience and that we’re going to continue to fight homophobia that could have contributed to this massacre,” said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

15776878_10154970567496151_8568111165139522601_o

Cory Lions, who heads the Orlando chapter of AHF affiliate Impulse Group United, said his group goes into clubs and bars to give HIV tests and hand out condoms. Pulse was one of the group’s partners, so they wanted to help with the float to remember those lost.

“I think it helps show that we’re going to continue to move forward and there’s life after this awful tragedy,” said Lions. “The float will bring this back to the forefront of the national stage to show this could have happened in any city because discrimination is everywhere.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation sees the parade as an opportunity to reach a large audience about the importance of LBGTQ acceptance and AIDS prevention.

“The Pulse shooting was the first time on a national level there was a coming together to express widespread outrage and condolence for the LGBT community. It brought us all together and there was a feeling of acceptance. We want to remember that and prevent … the hatred that inspired this attack,” Kenslea said.

Olympic medalist and HIV positive gay man Greg Louganis, along with fellow Olympians Janet Evans and Allyson Felix served as a 2016 grand marshal. It was the first time an out gay person has been so honored.
Olympic medalist and HIV positive gay man Greg Louganis, along with fellow Olympians Janet Evans and Allyson Felix served as a 2016 grand marshal. It was the first time an out gay person or person with HIV has been so honored.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is also hoping to raise money for those affected by the Pulse shooting and to help other LGBT causes. Viewers are encouraged to donate, text ONELOVE to 74121.

The 5.5-mile march is usually held on January 1, yet a “never on a Sunday” tradition postponed the festivities one day this year.

Not too many years ago, AIDS activists from ACT-UP protested the parade and brought it to a stop in a bid to draw national attention to the AIDS crisis.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is largest specialized provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the the U.S. and provides access to the latest HIV treatments to all who need them regardless of ability to pay.

The Rose Parade was presented by Honda and this year’s theme was “Echoes of Success.”

 

Related Posts

Britney Spears Announces Engagement

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Britney Spears and boyfriend Sam Asghari have announced their engagement.  Asghari’s talent manager Brandon Cohen of BAC Talent confirmed in...

MS-13’s Stronghold On MacArthur Park And Transphobia

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

MS-13, a vicious street gang, continues its stronghold on MacArthur Park making it unsafe for many who visit but specifically...

California State To Outlaw “Stealthing”

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

California could soon become the first state to outlaw “stealthing”, the vile practice of removing a condom during sex without...

Teacher Removed After Having Class Pledge Allegiance To The Pride Flag

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, who posted a video to social media of...

Matt Damon Admits To Using Anti-Gay Slur But Then Backtracks

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Actor Matt Damon has gotten himself into hot water with fans part of the LGBTQ community after admitting that he...

AltaMed Health Services to Host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show”

August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021

AltaMed Health Services, will host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show” on Friday, Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m. in Los...

PReP, The HiV Prevention Pill, Free

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Insurers have been advised that they shouldn’t be charging for Truvada and Descovy as HIV prevention and that associated clinic...

Trans Incident At Wi Spa May Have Been Staged

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

On June 24th an Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi...

Podcast Host Mat George Killed In Hit-And-Run

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Mathew George, gay co-host of the podcast “She Rates Dogs”, has died at the age of 26 after a hit-and-run...

Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person Murdered- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 30th, 2021

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person...

Cops Banned From NYC Pride- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 23rd, 2021

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Cops Banned From NYC Pride...

Caitlyn Jenner Running For California Governor – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 16th, 2021

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Caitlyn Jenner Running For California...

LA Pride Announces “Thrive With Pride” Theme – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 9th, 2021

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – LA Pride Announces “Thrive With...

The Abbey Food & Bar Celebrates 30 Years

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

On May 23rd The Abbey Food & Bar celebrated 30 years since its founding in May 1991. The Abbey has...

Artists Featured For SaMo Pride Rainbow Road Art Walk

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

In honor of Pride month Santa Monica Pride (SaMo Pride) will feature a Rainbow Road Art Walk from June 4th-...