Fabian Basabe
Rep. Fabian Basabe (Photo: YouTube)

A Florida Republican state Representative is considering legal action after Miami Beach Pride organizers barred him from riding in this year’s parade. The event is due to take place on April 14.

Former reality TV star Fabian Basabe, 46, was elected to the State House in 2022. He campaigned as a moderate Republican, voicing left-leaning views on abortion rights and LGBTQ issues whilst running for office.

However, since winning office, he has repeatedly voted along party lines. This has included supporting Governor Ron DeSantis on several anti-LGBTQ+ issues. For example, Basabe previously spoke in the house about his support for legislation prohibiting minors from seeing drag shows.

Despite this, Basabe continues to promote himself as a super-gay-friendly lawmaker. In fact, he even hired a car and rode in last year’s Miami Beach Pride parade, blowing kisses at those lining the street. He posted a video of himself enjoying the event to his social media.

What the video did not show is a large number of people booing him and shouting “shame”.

Applying to join Miami Beach Pride 2024

This year, Basabe intended to again participate in the Pride parade. However, when he tried to reserve a space, organizers told him he was unwelcome as a parade participant.

Basabe spoke to the Miami Herald about what he regards as the curtailment of his civil liberties. He’s looking at legal action. Pride organizers told him he’s welcome as a spectator. However, Basabe wants to again ride down Ocean Drive.

The Miami Herald shared a letter that a lawyer for Basabe has written to Bruce Horwich, the chair of Miami Beach Pride.

The lawyer, Kent Harrison Robbins, says Basabe showed him the text messages he received from Horwich. The chairman told Basabe: “We can’t risk having you in the parade this year. Last year you had to be surrounded by police officers in riot gear as well as had several more plain clothes officers surrounding your vehicle.

“We have never had any parade participant that showed up with officers in riot gear. That is not acceptable.

“Our by laws clearly state that we can’t have participants that put themselves or other participants at risk or antagonizes our guests,” texted Horwich.

“This is not political. We have had Republicans, Democrats and Independent parties in our parade and festival in the past and welcome all political views unless they are planning or have shown from the past that they are a security risk. I kindly ask that you refrain from participating in any way with Miami Beach Pride this year.”

First Amendment rights

In his letter, the lawyer said Basabe, “must be allowed to participate in The Pride Parade.”

He claims Pride organizers are curtailing Basabe’s “First Amendment Right to Free Speech and to Peaceably Assemble on a public street.”

However, Horwich told the Herald, “My number one priority as chairman is safety at the parade and at the festival. The board decides who can be in the parade — which is everybody, as long as you’re not a threat to the spectators and other participants.”

Fabian Basabe

Basabe’s 2022 victory was a surprise. He beat his Democratic opponent by just 200 votes. Many think his campaigning as a moderate helped. Local LGBTQ advocacy groups have voiced anger at his voting record since taking office.

Although not a lawmaker at the time the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was initially passed, Basabe supported its expansion to all school years.

Basabe, who is married to his childhood sweetheart, Martina Borgomanero, says the “Parental Rights in Education” bill is what he, as the father of a teenage son, wants schools to abide by.

“I am the father of a fourteen-year-old boy and I regard this bill to be exactly how I would want my child’s school to carry itself in their relationship with me,” he told Queerty last April.

Speculation has swirled around Basabe’s own sexuality. Queerty asked him last year how he identifies and he replied, “I identify as a father and as a man who is true to himself and represents the idea of living and loving as one is emotionally and heartfully guided. As for my private life, I am of an adult age therefore entitled to live any lifestyle I choose as is reinforced by all this legislation we passed.”

Basabe was born in New York City to an Ecuadorian father and an American mother. The family relocated to Miami in 1987 and ran a string of successful restaurants. Basabe briefly enjoyed some fame when younger when he was featured on the 2005 E! reality series Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. The show documented party-loving socialites working on a Colorado ranch.

Exploring options

Queerty reached out to Miami Beach Pride for comment. Chairman Horwich indicated there had been no change in its position since receiving the letter from Robbins.

Basabe’s lawyer told Queerty, “We are still evaluating our options” on how to take things forward from here.

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