Tensions during Gulfport Pride Festival discussion

This news provided by our friends from The Gabber!

Tensions ran high during the August 15 Gulfport City Council meeting as they discussed the organization of Gulfport Pride Festival 2024.

The meeting took an intense turn when councilmember Paul Ray and LGBTQ Resource Center president, Susan Gore, clashed over the event.

The Gabber Newspaper reviewed the applications for the past five years to understand the ownership of the event, ultimately revealing conflicting accounts between Ray and Gore.

The meeting ended with a resolution passing and both parties expressing their desire to mend the partnership. Despite the controversy, Gulfport Pride Festival is scheduled to take place on June 1, 2024.


Gulfport Pride Festival Controversy

The Gulfport Pride Festival has been a beloved event in the community for the past three years, drawing people from all walks of life to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride.

However, this year’s festival has been marred by controversy and tensions between different parties involved in the organization.


The Gulfport Pride Festival has always been about unity and celebration, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to show their support for LGBTQ+ rights.

However, recent discussions at the Gulfport City Council meeting have shed light on the challenges faced by the festival. In this article, we will delve into the details of the controversy surrounding the festival and explore the hopes for its future.

Gulfport Pride Festival


For the past three years, the LGBTQ Resource Center has been the beneficiary of the funds raised through the Gulfport Pride Festival. The festival has been organized by Suzanne King (SIK Promotions) and Ester Venouziou (LocalShops1), with the support of Gulfport Vice Mayor Paul Ray and his husband, Wesley.

Previous Organizers

Suzanne King and Ester Venouziou have played instrumental roles in organizing the Gulfport Pride Festival in the past. Their dedication and hard work have made the event a success, bringing the community together and raising funds for a worthwhile cause.

Application for 2024 Pride Fest

This year, a new nonprofit organization called Gulfport Pride Florida has applied to organize the Gulfport Pride Festival. The organization consists of Paul Ray as president, Wesley Ray as vice president, Ester Venouziou as secretary, and Suzanne King as treasurer.

However, the ownership and decision-making authority of the festival have come under question, leading to tensions and misunderstandings.

Discrepancies in Application

During the Aug. 15 City Council meeting, concerns were raised about the application for the Gulfport Pride Festival. It was discovered that the LGBTQ Resource Center had submitted an incomplete application to organize the 2024 celebration.

On the other hand, Gulfport Pride Florida had submitted a complete application. The discrepancy in the applications has further complicated the situation and fueled the controversy.

Tensions during Gulfport Pride Festival discussion

Discussion about Gulfport Pride Florida

The Aug. 15 City Council meeting was a turning point in the controversy surrounding the Gulfport Pride Festival. As the council discussed the Gulfport 2024 events calendar, the topic of the festival came up, leading to a heated discussion among the council members.

Verbal Conflict between Ray and Gore

During the meeting, there was a verbal conflict between Paul Ray and Susan Gore, the president of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Tempers flared, and accusations were made on both sides. The clash between Ray and Gore further escalated the tension surrounding the festival.

Resolution Vote

Following the heated discussion, a resolution vote was held regarding the Gulfport Pride Festival. The resolution passed with a 4-1 majority, with Councilmember April Thanos being the sole dissenting voice.

The outcome of the vote has added another layer of complexity to the controversy, leaving both parties involved with mixed feelings.

Reactions and Reflections

Ray’s Reflection

Paul Ray, one of the key figures behind Gulfport Pride Florida, has expressed his regret over the heated exchange during the City Council meeting. He acknowledges that his anger got the best of him but believes that anyone in his position would have been frustrated.

Ray hopes to find a way to mend the partnership with the LGBTQ Resource Center and maintain them as the beneficiary of the funds raised from the festival.

Gore’s Reflection

Susan Gore, the president of the LGBTQ Resource Center, has also reflected on the recent events. She feels that her questions during the City Council meeting were left unanswered and that her concerns were not adequately addressed.

Despite the challenges, Gore remains hopeful for the success of the Gulfport Pride Festival in the future, although she is uncertain about her continued involvement with the event.

Future of Gulfport Pride Festival

Optimism for the Event

Despite the controversies and tensions, there is optimism surrounding the Gulfport Pride Festival. The festival has been a source of unity and celebration for the community, and many individuals are eager to see it continue.

The enthusiasm and support from the community provide hope for a successful future for the festival.

Partnership with LGBTQ Resource Center

Looking ahead, there are potential opportunities for collaboration and partnership between Gulfport Pride Florida and the LGBTQ Resource Center.

By working together, both parties can ensure that the festival remains inclusive and supports the LGBTQ+ community in the best possible way. Building bridges and finding common ground will be crucial in moving forward.

Event Date

The Gulfport Pride Festival is scheduled to take place on June 1, 2024. Despite the challenges faced this year, the organizers are determined to make the festival a memorable and impactful event for everyone involved.

About The Gabber Newspaper


The Gabber Newspaper has a rich history in Gulfport, dating back to 1968 when it was known as the Gulfport Gabber. It was founded by George Brann as a platform to hold the Gulfport City Council accountable.

Over the years, The Gabber has been a reliable source of news and information for the community.


The mission of The Gabber Newspaper is to provide reliable and unbiased reporting on local news and events. The newspaper strives to keep the community informed, promote transparency, and foster discussions on important issues.


The Gabber Newspaper relies on the support of the community to continue its operations. By supporting local news, individuals can help ensure that important stories, like the Gulfport Pride Festival controversy, are covered and shared.

Donations to The Gabber go towards funding reporters, printing costs, and other necessary expenses to serve the community effectively.

In conclusion, the Gulfport Pride Festival controversy has highlighted the challenges faced by the event organizers and the importance of open communication and collaboration.

Despite the disagreements, there is hope for a successful future for the festival, with potential partnerships and a strong community backing.

The Gulfport Pride Festival serves as a testament to the unity and celebration of LGBTQ+ pride, and it is imperative to find a way forward that honors the spirit of the event.

By gulfportsbest

Owner of the “Best of Gulfport Fl” which was built to help people connect with all the amazing services, restaurants, salons, bars and shopping venues in our local area. Get all your questions answered and stay up to date on all the cool things happening in our little paradise.

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