Progress in the City of Progress: Hialeah Hosts its First Pride

A first of its kind celebration will make way in the heart of Hialeah. It’s a huge deal for the city’s LGBTQ+ community, which has felt shunned for years.

Empowerment, progress and unity are all part of the point of a pride party, a celebration of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come. This weekend, Hialeah Pride will come to the city of progress for the first time.

“Hialeah is the fourth strongest conservative city in the United States, right behind three in Texas,” said Karen Larrean, the organizer for Hialeah Pride. “So when DJ Citizen Jane came to me and told me about the idea, Hialeah Pride and that was her dream, I started thinking. We’re going to make headway, that means we’re going to dig the trenches, we’re going to go ahead, and like she said, leave a legacy and open doors. It was important.”

And it was especially important to DJ Citizen Jane, who was born and raised in Hialeah.

“I’m a Hialeah girl, this is my hood like I would say,” said Jane. “My parents still live here and I still come here and hang out here. This part still means a lot to me. I did my 15’s pictures here, came to a lot of events here.”

The event will be held Sunday at the historic Hialeah Park.

“When I first came out here in Hialeah, I felt like I didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Jane. “I would get looked at differently, you know, because it was very closed minded, and I had to move to Miami Beach. I’ve been moving away from Hialeah because of that, but I’ve been coming back and seeing a difference.”

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And there is a difference. Karen and Jane were met with support instead of resistance from this mostly Hispanic Latino community that is Hialeah.

Speaking of breaking barriers – the term Latinx is a term that has been thrown around a lot recently. Wonder what it means? Look it up – in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It was added last month. It means relating to or marked by Latin American heritage, used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.

“It means a lot, when words make the jump from the mouths of people into anything standardized like a dictionary or a grammar book or broadcast news, then you know its gaining acceptance,” said Michelle Ploetz, PhD, a language expert.

It’s a linguistic innovation, a molding of the English language, led by groups of Latin people who didn’t feel like they fit … until now.

“I think it’s important because that’s how certain people associate themselves and it’s like saying, it’s respect for all, we’re all one family and everybody should feel the way they feel and be free,” said Jane.

That’s why the only label at Hialeah Pride is – one. Regardless of what letter or color of the flag you identify with, this inaugural celebration of unity and inclusion among all people in Hialeah is for everyone in our vibrant community.

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