LGBTQ leaders launch Miami Beach Gay Pride by raising rainbow flag over City Hall

LGBTQ and Miami Beach city leaders on Monday officially launched the start of 2017 annual Miami Beach Gay Pride festival week by raising a rainbow flag over City Hall.

“Miami Beach prides itself for so many years on human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and we were one of the first in the county —if not the first —to have a human rights ordinance,” said Commissioner Joy Malakoff, who raised the flag with an assist by Miami Beach Gay Pride Executive Director Dave Cook.

Miami Beach passed its gay rights ordinance in 1992, 15 years after Miami-Dade voters led by singer Anita Bryant repealed the county’s gay-rights law in 1977.

This year’s City Hall flag raising was a bit melancholy: Rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker died suddenly Friday at age 65 in New York City.

“This is a very symbolic flag,” Steve Adkins, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said during the ceremony. “It was created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker who was a native of Kansas but retired from the Navy in San Francisco. He created this flag to represent various aspects of humanity.”

Miami Beach Gay Pride runs through Sunday, capped by a big afternoon parade and festival along Ocean Drive.