By: Kristen Hernandez

Palm Aire resident Anthony Kulp was fed up with having just one gay friendly beach to visit. It’s located east of Wilton Manor but Sebastian Beach lacks any type of facilities for beachgoers. While it remains a popular destination, Kulp’s frustration stemmed from having to commute about 20 minutes through grueling traffic. Without any bathroom facilities or a place to grab a cold drink, he felt there needed to be another choice.

Kulp took action and found an alternative location for his community. “We felt a beach should be straight people inclusive and somewhere members of the LGBTQ+ community could feel comfortable sunbathing. Love for my hometown of Pompano led me right to its’ shore.” With the addition of a new parking garage and a multitude of food and alcohol options just a street away, Pompano Beach was the choice.

The cozy stretch of sand just south of Fisher Family Pier that reaches over to the first lifeguard stand was dubbed, Stonewall Beach. “The riots helped changed the way people thought of the gay community. Stonewall Beach was our way to honor those who made being in public even possible.” Kulp began a Facebook group to promote the new gay hotspot. This past June, one week before Wilton Manor held the annual Stonewall Pride Parade, he hosted the first Kickoff to Pride event at Stonewall Beach with the help of Equality Florida.

Many event attendees still remember the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, and some give the violent riots credit for beginning the gay rights revolution. “A lot of young gay people don’t realize you could go to prison for showing any PDA with the same sex, like holding hands. I’m glad they don’t,” remembered beachgoer, Chris.

About 300 people showed their love during Kickoff to Pride. The early afternoon was clear and hot, perfect for the Kickoff Beach Party. Rainbow umbrellas dotted the sand and laughter could be heard over the crashing waves.

At around 2pm, the event shifted to the Kickoff to Pride Rooftop Party hosted at the brand new Tru by Hilton. The music ripped by DJ Cliff R and complimentary cold drinks flowed while everyone enjoyed the refreshing ocean breeze. Head over to the Stonewall Beach Facebook Page to view the location and stay updated on any events soon to grace the shore. Pompano Beach has always been a gay friendly city and now earned a stripe on the rainbow flag with a new legacy. So don’t say gay — show your pride at the “unofficial” Stonewall Beach.

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