PHOTOS: Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says YAS! to Pride proposal from partner Jerick Mediavilla

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out with Pride 2018 had a lot of memorable events, but few came close to the marriage proposal during the Pride Rally at the Walt Disney Amphitheater Oct. 13.

LGBTQ activist Jerick Mediavilla went down on one knee in front of thousands of Pride attendees and proposed to his partner, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Jerick, who has been in a relationship with Carlos since Oct. 2017, had been planning to pop the question since May.

“The first thing I did was I told Ida [Vishkaee Eskamani, Carlos’ Legislative aide],” he says. “She was my in this journey.”

Jerick also had to make sure the timing was right as not to raise suspicions in Carlos. That Saturday was perfect because not only was it Come Out With Pride, but it was also Jerick’s birthday.

“I turned 37 that day and it was the perfect excuse because I could have friends and family there without Carlos finding it odd,” Jerick says.

It wasn’t just Ida, family and friends who had to be in the know. If Jerick’s plan was going to go off without a snag he would have to include a lot more people.

“I got Holly [Strout] involved in the beginning because she was always a big fan of Carlos and my relationship, plus she is a board member of Come Out With Pride,” Jerick says. “I told her, ‘We have to plan. We need all the people possible to make it a reality,’ because we needed to have Carlos on stage at some point.”

Holly was able to get Carlos on stage by enlisting his help to surprise Equality Florida’s Gina Duncan with the Debbie Simmons Community Excellence Award for 2018. Carlos had no idea what was in store for him just a few minutes after that.

“I’m kind of oblivious when it comes to these types of things,” Carlos says. “It just never occurred to me that he would propose on the stage at Pride on his birthday. Of course it occurred to me that one day soon, we would probably be engaged. But as far as in that moment, during the program at Pride, I was genuinely surprised.”

After Carlos presented Gina with here award, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan took the microphone and called Jerick on stage, reminding everyone that it was his birthday and led the crowd to sing happy birthday.

“[Patty] hands the mic to Jerick,” Carlos recalls. “Still it had not occurred to me that this was about to happen. I figured he was going to thank everyone for singing happy birthday and say a few short remarks. So to me, I’m still going along with it, not having any idea what was about to happen.”

While Jerick was preparing all day for what was about to happen, he says that he managed to stay very calm up until that moment.

“Before Patty called me on stage, I was really calm and collected,” Jerick says. “It was when I reached into my pocket and I kneeled when I started to tremble. I’m like, ‘Okay, I am doing this in front of everybody. I cannot back down.'”

That was also the moment Carlos realized what was happening.

Jerick popped the questions and Carlos replied with an ecstatic, “Fuck yas!”

“I love Jerick very much and I want to spend the rest of my life with him,” Carlos says. “What better way to start the rest of our lives than in front of thousands of people at Orlando Pride who would celebrate our love. It was just, it was so awesome.”

As Carlos recalls the events, he giggles every time he says the word “husband.”

“I’m just not used to it yet,” he says. “I’m not used to calling Jerick my fiancé. I’m not used to having this ring on my hand.”

Carlos and Jerick haven’t decided on a date yet, but they say they are looking at late next year.

“We’re not in a rush at the moment, with so much going on with the election and the holidays coming up, but I know it’s going to be a beautiful event no matter what and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to share that beautiful moment and that day with the rest of Orlando,” Carlos says.

Photos by Jeremy Williams and Danny Garcia.

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