Key West Pride – Fighting Back with Love and Acceptance

Jun 14, 2023

As the mercury started to rise to ever higher temperatures, so did the excitement for Key West Pride 2023, hosted in Key West, Florida! Key West Pride is a fabulous and vibrant celebration centered in the southernmost point of the continental USA. The lineup of events was unmatched and full of fabulous drag shows, dance parties, street fairs, community events, and the main attraction, the Key West Pride Parade itself! 

A giant Pride flag being carried down Duval Street in Key West, Florida during the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

The event was held from June 7 – 11, 2023 in Key West, Florida. People from across southern Florida and the US came to attend the festive Pride events and to show their support for Florida’s LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms – and with the current political climate, especially within the state of Florida itself.

A group of friends wearing Pride outfits watching the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

Key West Pride was a magical, fabulous weekend filled with plenty of laughter, tears of remembrance, a celebration of how far we’ve come, re-connecting with old friends, and creating new friendships, and last memories. 

A group of friends wearing Pride outfits watching the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

Key West Pride 2023

A man decked out in Pride accessories and a sequin shirt, marching in the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

Key West Pride is a vibrant and exciting 4-day long Pride festival in Key West, Florida, in the United States. People came to celebrate Pride on a tropical island that is legendary for its laid-back style and its open and accepting atmosphere. People came to experience the magic of the tropical island.  

A giant Pride flag being carried down Duval Street in Key West, Florida during the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

For 2023, Key West Pride focused on inclusive activities and events celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, and activism for the drag and trans community. Throughout the four days of events, there were drag shows, drag brunches, pool parties, boat cruises, t-dances, community events, street fairs, and the annual Key West Pride parade.

A drag queen holding a rainbow umbrella at the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Local businesses offered special events and promotions throughout Pride Week.

A local Key West business decorated for Key West Pride 2023.

Here are the highlights of just some of the many events from Key West Pride 2023.

Key West Pride Parade

In the late afternoon of Sunday, June 11, Key West, Florida’s streets were a glittering sea of rainbows, glitter, and excitement as the Key West Pride parade made its way through the downtown core. The parade stepped off at 5:00 pm from the Truman Waterfront.

A giant Pride flag being carried down Duval Street in Key West, Florida during the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

The temperatures started to soar and clear, blue, sunny skies graced the crowd as thousands of people lined the streets! The event went on for about two hours and featured a gorgeous display; plenty of colorful costumes, and decorated floats filled the streets! 

A man decked out in Pride accessories and a rainbow shirt, marching in the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

There was also community group representation, local businesses and sponsors, and local marching bands. They were joined by political parties who came to show their support, rights activists, first responders, corporate partners, local organizations, not-for-profit groups, and sports groups all came together to celebrate Pride in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

A woman decked out in Pride accessories and a sequin shirt, marching in the 2023 Key West Pride Parade.

The Key West Pride parade had an entourage of local drag queens, LGBTQ+ advocates, and prominent members of the Key West LGBTQ community. The drag queens came out in perfect form, and in the state of Florida, this holds more weight than ever. It simply goes to show that no matter how much you try to push the LGBTQ+ community back into the closet, we will bust right out in spectacular fashion!

A man carries a Progressive Pride flag while riding with two drag queens in the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Pride flags were waving throughout the streets and people shouted, “Happy Pride!” The entire city was alive and filled with electricity and exhilaration. Smiles could be seen in the revelry of queer joy that Pride brings, and all were welcome in Key West, as they came out to support and celebrate Pride! 

A float decorated in colorful flowers in the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Key West Pride Street Fair

People exploring the vendors at the 2023 Key West Pride Street Fair.

On Saturday afternoon from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, a wide variety of vendors offered everything from food and drinks to arts and crafts, pride merchandise, t-shirts, and so much more on the famous Duval Street. It was a bright and fun family-friendly event that was open to everyone! 

A man taking a selfie on the Pride crosswalk at the 2023 Key West Pride Street Fair.

Pride Sunset Sail with Blu Q Key West

The Blu Q Pride Sunset Sail during the 2023 Key West Pride.

Saturday evening – Blu Q is Key West’s exclusive LGBTQ water sports operator offered an intimate cruise around Key West’s surrounding waters for a viewing of the most stunning and infamous Key West sunset.

A gay couple enjoying the Key West sunset during Key West Pride 2023.

Drag Show at Aqua Nightclub

Saturday night the Aqua Nightclub hosted a drag show from 9:00pm – 10:00pm. The best of Key West’s drag talent took to the stage and gave an outstanding performance! 

Drag performers on stage at Aqua Nightclub during Key West Pride 2023.

Sea-to-Sea Diversity Flag Light Show

Key West Pride 20th Anniversary Sea-to-Sea Diversity Flag Laser Light Show took place over the entire length of Duval Street. It was a perfect visual representation of the positive light the LGBTQ+ community luminates during Pride season!

The Sea-to-Sea diversity flag light show in Key West, Florida, during 2023 Key West Pride.

Drunken’ Drag Brunch at Mangoes

Mangoes restaurant in Key West, Florida.

Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, and cocktails were flowing on Sunday morning at the Drunken’ Drag Brunch at Mangoes. Drag performances featuring some of Key West’s favorite drag queens and drag king graced the tables and provided an outrageous and fun afternoon! Sherry Vine also participated in the special Sunday Pride Drag Brunch. 

Sherry Vine performs during Drag Brunch at Mango's restaurant during Key West Pride 2023.

Mangoes Island Cuisine focuses on fresh, in-house made native natural local cuisine that blends Bahamian, Cuban, West Indies and Key West influences. The restaurant sources its seafood from local vendors and acquires local and indigenous produce to showcase the island’s flavors.

A drag king performs during Drag Brunch at Mango's restaurant during Key West Pride 2023.

Community Programming  

Many of the local businesses decorated their windows, hosted events of their own, and offered special promotions to celebrate Key West Pride. The city’s Pride crosswalk was freshly repainted in time for the festivities.

The Pride crosswalk intersection on Duval Street in Key West, Florida.

Political Impact of Key West Pride 

It’s no secret that the current political climate in Florida is less than stellar. With a barrrage of anti-gay and anti-trans bills, Florida has been a huge topic of discussion. However, Key West Pride has given us a place of refuge where everyone can be out of the closet, proud of who they are, donned in drag, and find the bliss of queer joy and self-acceptance. 

A man marches in the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Pride will always be a statement, a march of solidarity. Showing Pride in our queerness, our sexualities, our identities, and the unique expressions each person has in showing it. The LGBTQ+ community has shown time and time again that we can come together to support eachother in the face of adversity, and that’s what Pride has always been about from the very beginning!

Plan to Attend Key West Pride 2024

A group of friends having fun watching the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Fun, laughter, diversity and inclusion, visibility, trans rights, and expressions of love and togetherness are all feelings and emotions that can be felt at Key West Pride. It’s time to put Key West Pride on your bucket list of Pride events to attend in 2024! In addition to being a fabulous event, it’s also one more reason to plan a trip to the southernmost point in the continental USA! 

The Island House float in the 2023 Key West Pride parade.

Visit Florida Keys and Key West

Imagine a subtropical island in the continental United States with a free-spirited, live-and-let-live atmosphere that’s also warmly exotic, eccentric, kand enticing. Where rainbow flags fly proudly at public buildings, businesses, and homes. 

The courtyard pool at the Lighthouse Hotel by Kimpton in Key West, Florida.

Key West is internationally known as a gay mecca, attracting more than 250,000 visitors to this top LGBTQ vacation spot that celebrates openness and pride — the entire destination is renowned for its welcoming and accepting attitude. Some of the best annual events staged on the two-mile by four-mile island each year include June’s Key West Pride and September’s Womenfest.

A silhouette of a sail boat at sunset in Key West, Florida.

“One Human Family” became Key West’s official philosophy in 2000 — and was soon adopted by Monroe County, which encompasses the entire Florida Keys island chain.

The Southern Most Point of the Continental United States landmark in Key West, Florida.

Start planning your trip to The Florida Keys and Key West today!

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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