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Pride Points: LGBTQ+ History in The Palm Beaches

Pride Points: LGBTQ+ History in The Palm Beaches

Explore some of the LGBTQ+ community’s influential moments and places.

Compass LGBTQ Community Center, Lake Worth Beach 

With roots going back more than three decades, this organization has been a longstanding source of leadership and support, and is one of the largest LGBTQ+ community centers in the country. In addition to providing social services and enrichment programs, Compass hosts the annual Palm Beach Pride, which includes the oldest running Pride parade in Florida.

It also established the Stonewall Black and White Ball, an annual outreach and fundraising event in West Palm Beach that celebrates LGBTQ+ history and highlights opportunities for social justice leadership.

Each year, Compass also partners with Palm Beach Dramaworks on the Legacy Project. This effort pairs LGBTQ+ youth with trailblazers of the community for interviews about their personal histories, which are compiled into digital stories.

Crowd at Palm Beach Pride
Photo credit: Compass Community Center

The Gay Polo League, Wellington 

Polo players riding horses
Photo credit: Scott Fisher

The first and only LGBTQ+ polo league in the world, this organization is an athletics staple in The Palm Beaches. Chip McKenney founded the league in 2006 as a way to provide inclusion for gay athletes. It’s even gone international, with members in more than a dozen countries. In the spring, the GPL hosts the International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The event combines serious competition with social events and tailgates, making for a spirited weekend.

H.G. Roosters, West Palm Beach 

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As of July 2022, the oldest gay bar in Florida is listed on West Palm Beach’s Register of Historic Places. It’s only the third LGBTQ+ venue in the U.S. to be designated a historic site, joining the ranks of New York City’s Stonewall Inn and the Atlanta Eagle in Atlanta. Its run as Roosters dates back to 1984, but it was known as Turf West in the 1960s. Through the years the iconic bar has been a gathering spot and led charitable efforts for AIDS organizations. Unfortunately, the Rooster suffered a fire in May 2020, and remains closed, but a rebuilding effort is underway.

Historic Events 

The Palm Beaches have seen a number of important moments in local LGBTQ+ history led by pioneers of progress. Here’s a timeline of some of the highlights.


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