Not everyone is happy Gay Days has announced Fort Lauderdale as the latest city to join its week-long pool party and DJ line-up.
Many Florida businesses are looking forward to the 15,000 LGBTI fans who will descend on the Florida city, infusing an estimated $18 million (€13 million) into the local economy.
But local HIV and AIDS organization Care Resource CEO Rick Siclari is disappointed the event is scheduled for the same weekend as White Party Miami, an event whose sales contribute to Care Resource.
Siclari penned an open later saying: ‘Although we are happy that Gay Days is expanding into South Florida, we are disappointed about your choice of dates… as this is another time our community suffers from someone arriving in town and capitalizing off what our not-for-profit agency has spent years building to benefit our HIV positive community.’
Siclari went on to explain how Care Resource benefits from pre-existing festivities planned around White Party in Miami, about 28 miles south of Fort Lauderdale.
‘For 30 years, during Thanksgiving weekend, individuals, businesses, various nonprofit and LGBT organizations in South Florida have been playing an integral role in our agency’s fundraising efforts by sponsoring, promoting and supporting the world’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser, the crown jewel of HIV/AIDS fundraiser’s White Party Week.’
While the weekends during summer months are filled with simultaneous Gay Pride events around the world, Thanksgiving weekend in the US represents a major financial boost for Care Resource, a time block Siclari said other events and organizers have managed to work around.
‘Aqua Girl, Gay Spring Break, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Pridefest , Tropical Heat, Gay Pride, Fantasy Fest and Winter Party Festival are examples of events in South Florida that are held on different dates as a way for the LGBT community to collaborate and not compete,’ Sinclari wrote.
‘When the LGBT community collaborates and moves forward together, then the success of an event takes care of itself. We are saddened by the non-inclusiveness of the South Florida LGBT business and nonprofit community in determining [Gay Days Fort Lauderdale] event dates.
Siclari added: ‘White Party is not about business enterprise, it is about people, friends, those we care for, and those whose memories we will continue to honor, by helping those we still can. We hope that moving forward you consult with the South Florida LGBT businesses and nonprofit community in determining a more appropriate date.’
In a press release, Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau said “We have been out and proud, welcoming LGBT visitors since 1995, and with one of the largest resident LGBT populations in the country, we’re excited to welcome the inaugural Gay Days Fort Lauderdale in 2014. We are confident this event will quickly grow into our largest signature LGBT event.”
Gay Days Fort Lauderdale organizers were unavailable to comment further.