With the beautiful backdrop of a South Florida blue sky, an ocean breeze and a crowd of more than 30,000 people cheering and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the Palm Tran “Proud Together” rainbow bus marshaled the Pride Parade down Lake Avenue in Lake Worth Beach for the 30th Anniversary of Palm Beach Pride on March 27.
The bus is a partnership of Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) and Compass Community Center.
In its inaugural participation in the procession, Palm Tran was given the honor to lead the return of the annual parade, which had been postponed since 2019 due to the global pandemic.
“We are not just a bus company, we are an integral part of the community,” said Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes, who walked ahead of the bus handing out Palm Tran Pride flags. “Our bus is a celebration of inclusion and diversity and will be seen 544,000 times every four weeks. We are Proud Together.”
“The Board of County Commissioners and Administration of Palm Beach County are committed to keeping this county a vibrant and diverse community where everyone is equal,” said Palm Beach County Assistant County Administrator Todd J. Bonlarron, who walked in the parade. “We’re excited to share that message in a bold and colorful way with this rainbow Palm Tran bus.”
The new bus wrap features the words “Proud Together” and “Love is Love” over the Progressive Pride Flag with confetti hearts at each end, adding to the overall celebratory feel. The vibrant colors include the traditional rainbow plus the colors black, brown, light blue, light pink and white, representing people of color, transgendered individuals, non-binary individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS. The “Proud Together” bus will be on the road until the end of June, which is the official national Pride Month.
PBCHRC is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The organization promotes equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation and community outreach.
Compass is one of the largest LGBTQ+ community centers in Florida. Its mission is to engage, empower and enrich the lives of LGBTQ+ people and those impacted by HIV and AIDS.
The return of the parade also included a mass wedding organized by Compass which partnered with the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office. The ceremony was held after the parade at Bryant Park and the bus was parked near the entrance for photo opportunities. Additionally, Palm Tran offered a one-day promotion to add $6 on an existing or a new Paradise Pass smartcard or app. The Paradise Pass is Palm Tran’s new tap-and-go contactless way to pay the bus fare.
This was the second consecutive year that Palm Tran devoted a bus to celebrate Pride Month. Last year Palm Tran debuted the “Ride with Pride” bus at the Palm Beach Pride Market.