By Bruno De Nicola, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The 14th annual Gay Pride Parade is set to take over Copacabana beach on November 1 in a mega-party aimed at tackling discrimination based on sexual orientation. Two million people from all over the globe are expected to attend this year’s event. Along with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) population, many celebrities and politicians will march to express their support of the Homophobia Act.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, The Gringo Times recommends the parade as one of the most colorful and exciting events in the whole world.
Last year’s parade enjoyed a turnout of 1.2 million people. Rio de Janeiro is South America’s most popular gay destination and the party is also the third most important in the city’s calendar, after New Year’s Eve and Carnival. The event is also known to generate a large amount of money for the city with projected earnings of US$50 Million in revenue, according to Brazilian tourism authorities.
The first Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade took place in 1993, and was organized by the NGO Arco-Iris (Rainbow), which fights against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Over the past sixteen years, the NGO members gathered support and managed to reach quite a few of their goals: several city and state governments approved anti-homophobic bills thanks to the organization’s political influence. Arco Iris and its partners are now fighting for the approval of a federal Homophobia Act, which is currently being discussed by the Brazilian Senate.
The Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade is heavily supported by the federal government as well as Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral and the City Mayor, Eduardo Paes. Usually many politicians show up to open the main event but the government rarely parades with a float. The Ministry of Tourism along with Petrobras, the state-owned oil company, have already confirmed their commitment to supporting the event and its diversity, once again funding the event.
The meeting point is at Posto 6 which is located near the Forte de Copacabana (Copacabana Fort), not far from the Rio Sofitel Hotel. The parade will take place on the Avenida Atlântica along Copacabana Beach and will end at Posto 2, near the renowned Copacabana Palace Hotel. Even though the meeting time is set for 1PM, the parade won’t start until 2PM or 3PM. The parade is 2.1 kilometers long (1.3 miles), or equivalent to the length of Copacabana beach.
Approximately twenty trios elétricos are expected to provide the event’s music. Representing NGOs, unions and the government itself, the floats are of all kinds. Among last year’s most memorable trios were a trio reserved for individuals with special needs and another to honor victims of HIV and AIDS, which closed the event dramatically with an empty float with nobody atop it.