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The Advocate Turns 50! Remembering Editor-in-Chief Richard Rouilard

A groundbreaking magazine



The Advocate’s Lucas Grindley and Paul Colichman with Nancy Cohen at a 50th anniversary party on June 15, 2017. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

The Los Angeles Advocate started in the late 1960s, as the anti-Vietnam War movement swelled and the liberation movements overwhelmed the long civil rights movement. The newsletter, produced and distributed by the Gay Liberation-inspired political activist group Personal Right in Defense and Education (PRIDE) informed the local gay community about news and events happening during that heady time. It was, after all,  created in response to the LAPD raid of the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake on January 1, 1967 and the community needed to know when and where the next anti-LAPD demonstrations would occur. In September 1967, the newsletter became a newspaper. By 1974, The Advocate printed 40,000 copies an issue.

The Advocate has undergone tremendous changes since then, which Here Media owner Paul Colichman, editor-in-chief Lucas Grindley, Neal Broverman, Diane Anderson-Minshall  and the whole team have recognized in an <ahref=”″>amazing tribute to the 50 year old LGBT institution they now run and protect.

I have written intermittently for The Advocate over the years, starting in 1990. My editor was Mark Thompson, for whom The Advocate stood as a “hopeful beacon, holistic in its concern for a people previously broken, adamant in its conviction that the pieces stay mended together. ‘The Advocate was for many of us the first exposure we’d had to the idea that what we are is not bad,’ says one longtime reader, speaking for many. ‘It was alight in the dark by which we could navigate,’” as I wrote in my tribute to him last year.

I was introduced to Mark in 1990 at The Advocate offices in Hollywood by editor-in-chief Richard Rouilard. We felt a responsibility to discern what stories were real, what was spin, and how to report on a controversy with both color and an ethical obligation to the larger context. It wasn’t always easy, but he took the struggle to heart, apologizing profusely when another, more senior editor changed the headline of my story on a confrontation faced by a woman author to make it more snarky: “She took a licking and kept on ticking.”

Before he left, Mark edited the exquisite Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History Of The Gay And Lesbian Movement in 1994. In it is a short essay by Rouilard on the importance of 1990, the year he took over as editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

The Advocate changed dramatically in 1990. Aggressive investigative reporting was initiated by the editorial staff,” Rouilard wrote. “Cover stories attacked corporate giants like AT&T and Bank of America for employment discrimination, unveiled AIDS-phobia and homophobia in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, and on Seventh Avenue, and explored the gay revolution on American college campuses. The staff also instituted the annual Sissy Awards for America’s worst homophobes. The winner that year was cover boy Jesse helms, whose lips were smeared with a very unflattering shade of red lipstick. Advocate news reports and feature stories were picked up by mainstream media around the world. The Advocate, like the gay nation it reflected, entered the gay nineties with a roar.”

In his Introduction, Thompson noted how Rouilard amplified that roar. “Above all else, the colorful editor-in-chief plunged The Advocate back into the community, a place from which it had been estranged for some time. Under his leadership, the magazine achieved a new standard of excellence for gay journalism, a quality not seen since (Robert I.) McQueen’s early days as editor.”

Rouilard,” Thompson wrote, “had a genius for making the world take notice.” That’s something of an understatement.

Bob Sipchen wrote this in the Los Angeles times on June 28, 1990: “REQUIRED READING: * Webster’s Dictionary has two definitions for the word “sissy.” One is “effeminate.” The other is “cowardly.” In its July 3 issue, The Advocate, subtitled “The National Gay Newsmagazine,” adopts the second meaning and attaches it to its “First Annual Sissy Awards,” dedicated to “some of America’s biggest homophobes.” The issue, he wrote, “is worth picking up if only to see the cover shot of Sissy Award winner Jesse Helms, wearing editorially applied magenta lipstick.”

Richard Rouilard loved being editor-in-chief of The Advocate. Ideas shot out of him like fireworks on Independence Day—ideas to make the magazine better, of higher-quality, and more important with a cutting edge to get more leverage in the mainstream media, and by extension, influence the nation’s premier influencers.

Like Thompson—and most of the other reporters, editors and staff I met when I freelanced there, Richard was furious about anti-LGBT discrimination. He insightfully saw the gay activism stirring around the country and not only seized on being the first to tell the story—but virtually advocated for ACT UP and Queer Nation and the zines popping up with a stunning array of self-expression. And he didn’t stay cordoned off in his Hollywood office or in his well-appointed West Hollywood condo with his beloved partner Bob Cohen. When California Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed the gay rights bill AB 101, Richard was on the streets protesting, putting his body on the line, stopping traffic. I know. I was there. I have pictures.

Richard took the gay rights movement very seriously—and personally. Having been abandoned as a baby, he was later rejected by his adoptive parents when he became too effeminate. He turned that into being too fabulous, adopting his French mother’s maiden name and transforming himself into a  gossipy American Anna Wintour with a law degree and biting sense of humor.

He co-founded the National Gay Rights Advocates, the first gay public interest law firm, in 1979, hiring Democratic honcho Jean O’Leary as executive director.  Two years later, he created a society column called “Bunny Mars” for several local newspapers and magazines, though best known in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Over his career, he worked as an editor or reporter or consultant for scores of magazines and newspapers and helped co-found the Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Richard’s Rolodex could fill a closet. But he relied on friends like LA Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center executive director Torie Osborn and entertainment manager/producer Barry Krost for help, tips and balance. He was a mentor and a mensch, a diva, a dragon and a diplomat. And he really, really cared about gay people.

My first cover story for Richard was Aug. 26, 1990. He wanted a story on fundraiser—but not just the “usual suspects,” the big dollar donors who were in many ways carrying the movement as more and more people died of AIDS. He wanted stories about fundraisers in their own communities, no matter what the “big bucks” dollar size. He wanted to give them props, in his own fashion.

I was in the office one day when he came bounding over, incredibly excited to share some news with me: the next issue would say “The Advocate: The National Gay and Lesbian Newsmagazine.” It was the Oct. 29, 1990 cover featuring two white presumably gay men giving a half hello/half-Nazi salute under the headline: “Gay Right-Wingers: Traitors to the Cause?” The top banner headline read: “The Man Who Outed John Travolta Apologizes.” I don’t know if anyone noticed the change.

My next cover story proved problematic. I had been assigned over the summer to find and interview students on college campuses who were acting up, fighting back, resisting, disrupting and being downright rude about it. They were loosely known as Queer Nation. The problem was—no one was on campus during the summer. And then, when I came in for a story conference and Richard excitedly showed me the cover art—I blanched. I had the fists, I had the middle finger. But I didn’t have the equivalent of a student’s hand holding dynamite. “Find it,” he told me. The cover was done. I had to fit the story to the cover. That was not the way I had done journalism before. Luckily, I fund students in an uproar over a cancelation of a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio that resulted in the Contemporary Arts Center and its director being put on trial for obscenity.  The jury acquitted in early Octoberbut I had my stick of dynamite in the fight for the First Amendment and to protect the arts.

He made news by publishing Michelangelo Signorile’s outing of Pete Williams who served as Pentagon spokesperson while there was a ban on gays serving openly in the military. Williams is now the Supreme Court correspondent for NBC News.

“Outing is a very nasty business,” Richard told the LA Times in 1992. “But homophobic homosexuals are a nastier business. I don’t think homosexuality is a privacy issue.”

Richard Rouilard died of AIDS on Wednesday, May 8, 1996. He had resigned from The Advocate in 1992 after getting into fights with the publishers over his enthusiastic spending of their money.

“I think he was most proud of turning The Advocate around and being on the vanguard of bringing gay rights into the mainstream,” LA Times reporter and close friend Mary McNamara told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was able to approach very serious subjects with intense attention but also with a great sense of humor and empathy.”

Richard’s last Editor’s Note for The Advocate was in the August 13, 1992 issue with the cover story: “Eating Our Own.” It is as important today as then. Here’s what he said, as re-printed in the San Francisco Examiner.

“In a speech at a recent journalists’ conference, author Randy “And the Band Played On” Shilts referred to just about anyone who disagrees with him as a “lavender fascist.”  Later he told The New York Times that the lavender fascists were nothing more than third graders whining, “Do what I want you to do, or I’ll tell on you.”

Knowing beforehand that Shilts was going to make this unusual speech, I had to respond.  Someone had to defend lavender fascists, whatever they are.

As a joke, I had a dozen T- shirts made up that read LAVENDER FASCIST on the front, The Advocate on the back.  The New York Times then reported that those at the conference who were in favor of all-out outing — that is, the now- defunct OutWeek’s position, certainly not The Advocate’s — were wearing “earrings and sassy T-shirts.”  The anti-outers were allegedly suited.

I am no more a “lavender fascist,” and all-out outer, than Shilts is a “homocon,” a conservative homo opposed to outing under any circumstances whatsoever.  This kind of reductionist thinking about the gay, lesbian and bi community is best left to the straight press, which needs to pigeonhole us because they don’t take the time to find out about the depths of diversity in this hodgepodge we call the gay community.  We shouldn’t take them seriously.

But when we start seeing each other as enemies — reducing our complicated lives to black and white, left and right — we are in serious trouble.  Our greatest task now is to try to understand, to tolerate, to trust each other a little.

We must.  We have precious little in common.  We are Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, black, white, brown, yellow, men and women — just for starters.  Our community, our few institutions are under attack from a well-financed, highly organized Right.  And if a Washington Times report is accurate, the anti-gay right has the blessings of President Bush.

The backlash against us is raging unchecked across America in small towns and cities.  The recent destruction of the offices of Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon has Urvashi Vaid, the head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, worried, deeply worried.  Vaid knows that the anti-gay juggernaut is being fueled by this election year’s great American grandstanding issue — family values.

We have become the Willie Hortons of ’92.  Obviously, we can’t afford to be “eating our own” this year. But what is eating our own?  Is any criticism, any disagreement, an example of eating our own?  Shilts, referring to those with whom he disagrees as lavender fascists, and I with my sarcastic T-shirts are nothing more than two old, bitchy queens going at each other.

Marvin Liebman, a co-founder of the American conservative movement, an out gay man and an old friend of mine, called me an “idiot” in the New York Post for outing an acting chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Anne-Imelda Radice, a friend of his.  Well, ditto for Marvin, and he’s older than Randy and I put together.

Eating our own and political disagreements are two very different animals.  But past disagreements that are left unattended can, on occasion and frighteningly quickly, turn into the frenzied phenomenon we recognize as eating our own.  Two of our most prominent organizations, National Gay Rights Advocates (NGRA) and the Fund for Human Dignity, were eaten alive recently by vast differences of opinion.  The parties at odds refused to deal with each other.  The disputes became public.  Fund-raising abilities collapsed.  The organizations folded.

I was the board chair of NGRA during this period.  I could not get the two sides to deal with each other as anything but enemies.  The animosities were overwhelming.  There were voracious beasts on the sidelines — oppression, sickness, internalized homophobia, anti and pro-establishment agenda-ism anti-authority forces and God knows what else; I don’t.  Two years later, I still can’t say which one of the beasts was more prominent.

The beast is at the doorstep again.  This year’s gay pride parade and festival in Los Angeles was marred by a public dispute between Queer Nation and event organizers Christopher Street West.  QN claimed that the entrance fees at the festival and CSW’s attitude towards minorities and drag queens were not conducive to creating a fully diversified ambience.  CSW protested.

In an essay in the event program, activist Torie Osborn suggested that QN was involved in eating our own.  No.  Not quite.  Not yet.  Nonetheless, Osborn’s call for unity must be heeded because this fracas could easily become a cannibalistic frenzy if it continues.

The differences of opinion here — angry ads were placed in the local gay press by QN — are too dramatic.  The drama, a natural result of our diversity, is the signal that discussion is imperative.  But how to get these two sides to sit down with each other is the problem.
Where is the meeting ground when some multiculti-queers suggest that one of our finest leaders, Vaid, should be tried for treason?  What happens when Tom Stoddard has committed Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund to a fund-raiser in New York at a performance of “Miss Saigon,” a show being boycotted by Asian-American groups?  Should Stoddard have canceled the benefit, thereby threatening Lambda’s fund-raising base for the year?  Is Stoddard the enemy?

On the other hand, just how long must women and minorities wait for recognition of their needs, acknowledgement of their absolute right to participate in decisions that intimately affect their lives, decisions that are sometimes made by white-male-run organizations?

There are no easy answers.  Seemingly, there are no answers.  I think I’ll give that bitch Randy Shilts a call.”



WeHo is co-sponsoring 1st ever Inglewood Pride Festival, June 22

The pride event, co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, will offer live entertainment, DJ sets, and free food



Graphic: Creative House Gallery/WeHo Times

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is co-sponsoring the first annual Inglewood Pride Festival in the City of Inglewood on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Events are set to take place at the Creative House Gallery at 122 N Market Street and outdoors in the Historic Market Street Shopping District.

The pride event, co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, will offer live entertainment, DJ sets, and free food. An RSVP was required and has already sold out.

Inglewood Pride Festival 2024 will be an indoor/outdoor event with plenty of options to captivate and educate the community. Booths will provide resources to the LGBTQ+ community, and there will be a wide range of sponsor vendors. The festival offers free food, free entry, and a family-friendly environment.

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health will also be on hand to provide mpox vaccinations and offer information and resources on various health concerns, including COVID-19 vaccines.

The event schedule is as follows:

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Guest Red Carpet Photos
$50 Grocery Gift for Best Dressed

12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
DJ TLA Storm
70s, 80s, 90s R&B/Soul/Deep

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
County of Los Angeles Presentation (Cholesterol)
Roberto Luno, Emergency Preparedness; Public Health Nurse, Einique Forris, Health Educator

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Di P-Nasty
Hip-Hop/R&B/Latin; Dance Contest

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Artist Performances

To learn more about this event, visit:
Inglewood Pride Festival

The Creative House Non-Profit:

The Creative House Gallery is a non-profit art gallery with a goal of helping the community transition, survive, develop, and thrive through art access and art education.

The Creative House Gallery is committed to enhancing the quality of life through artistic programming that serves all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and economic statuses, with an emphasis on marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented persons.

The Market Street Shopping District:

Since Inglewood’s founding in 1908, Market Street has served as the central shopping district. When automobiles came to Market Street in the 1920s, sidewalks were installed to serve pedestrians. In 1927, the chain store S.H. Kress was built at 233 S. Market Street with a signature architectural style. J.C. Penney moved to 139 S. Market Street in 1940.

The late 1960s brought city and county facilities just south of Market Street. During the 1990s, a rehabilitation of Market Street brought street trees and new tenants. Today’s Market Street district has art galleries, bookstores, the Inglewood Senior Center, and the light rail Florence Boulevard station.


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Trans Pride LA celebrating 25 Years with series of events

Trans Pride LA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest, dedicated celebrations of Trans Pride in the country



Trans Pride Los Angeles/WeHo Times

By Mike Pingel | LOS ANGELES – Trans Pride LA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest, dedicated celebrations of Transgender Pride in the country, lifting trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive folks! Spotlighting the Trans*Lounge program as well as other services provided at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, this all-ages, free event expects 1,400+ attendees over two days.

Friday evening, June 14, will kick off with a vibrant TPLA Welcome Mixer, followed by a line dancing lesson by Stud Country instructors Kira and Abigail, and a viewing of the new gallery exhibition “Ides of Gender” by artist Zach Oren.

Saturday, June 15, the Trans Pride Festival will once again take over The Village and McCadden Pl. with interactive workshops, 40+ market vendors and resource partners, six different food vendors, a portrait studio by photographer Devyn Galindo, and a Trans Pride Talent Showcase featuring the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Fei Hernandez, Amilia, Bailey Moses, and more.

This event is entirely free on both days, June 14 · 6 pm – June 15 · 6 pm PT. All events will take place at the Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza and Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood. Admission is completely FREE all weekend. To grab your tickets and see the up-to-date schedule, visit:

Here is the two-day schedule of events:

Friday, June 14th:

6:00 PM – 8:15 PM – TPLA Welcome Mixer Join us in the Village Courtyard at 1125 North McCadden for a welcome cocktail mixer unveiling this year’s Trans Pride exhibit titled “Ides of Gender” by artist Zach Oren. Non-alcoholic beverage options are available.

8:30 PM – 9:30 PM – Queer Country Line Dancing Performance & Lesson by Stud Country instructors Stud Country’s instructors, Kira Kull & Abi Hamilton, will provide a performance that will make you say “yeehaw.” It will be followed by a queer country line dancing lesson open to all.

8:15 PM – 10:00 PM – Cocktail Mixer & Gallery Viewing Continue exploring Trans Pride’s Gallery Exhibit “Ides of Gender,” grab a bite or simply grab a drink while catching up with (new) friends.

Saturday, June 15th:

12:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Trans Pride Festival We are shutting the street down and spreading Trans Joy everywhere! This event includes a Children & Families Activity Area, Live Performances & Entertainment, Educational Workshops, Market Vendors & Resource Fair, Free Food Vendors, and a Trans Pride Talent Showcase! ASL Interpreters will be available throughout the festival stages & workshops.

Trans Pride Los Angeles is hosted by the Trans* Lounge program, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s groundbreaking education & empowerment program dedicated to serving Los Angeles’ trans and gender expansive community. ASL and bilingual (Spanish/English) interpretation will be available both days.


Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Ricky Martin makes Pride debut at LA Pride in the Park

Martin entertained the crowd with live vocals and hip movements, and he serenaded his hardcore fans with several Spanish songs



Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | LOS ANGELES – LA Pride kicked off a weekend-long celebration of Pride Month this past Saturday with Ricky Martin shaking his “bom bom” to a sea of fans at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

The event also featured performances by JoJo Siwa, RaiNao, Tokischa, MUNA, and cast members of HBO’s “We’re Here,” including Sasha Velour, Latrice Royale, Jaida Essence Hall, and Priyanka.

The LA Pride in the Park music festival, produced by Christopher Street West (CSW), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 1970, spanned over 20 acres and featured a variety of activities, exhibitor booths, vendors, games, and food and drink options.

Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Martin entertained the crowd with live vocals and hip movements, and he serenaded his hardcore fans with several Spanish songs, reminding those in attendance that his music career extends beyond “Livin’ La Vida Loca” in the U.S. to other Spanish-speaking countries.

According to reports, this year’s performance marks Martin’s first headlining appearance at any Pride event since he publicly came out as gay via his website in 2010. This year also marks him as the first openly gay Latin artist to perform center stage at LA Pride.

Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Martin had a lot to prove with his LA Pride gig, following in the high-heeled footsteps of LGBTQ+ diva giants Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey, who graced the LA Pride stage in the past two years.

This year’s theme, “Power in Pride,” celebrates the LGBTQ+ community’s ability to live authentically through strength and resilience.

Ricky Martin performs at LA Pride in the Park – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

“His participation in LA Pride in the Park goes beyond mere entertainment. It symbolizes a powerful affirmation of queer Latin identity and a celebration of diversity within the LGBTQ+ community,” said Gerald Garth, president of the Christopher Street West board, in a statement.

@wehotimes @Ricky Martin gave it his all as the headliner of this year’s @LA Pride music festival. Here he gyrates all over the place for Living La Vida Loca. #wehotimes #wehonews #lapride #pride #pridemonth #gaypride #lgbtpride #rickymartin #ricky ♬ original sound – WEHO TIMES

The event also included a “sober space” featuring games and activities, an Erotic City area with displays and appearances catering to the kink community, a sports section, and plenty of giveaways.

The LA Pride celebrations continued on Sunday with the LA Pride Parade through the streets of Hollywood, followed by a daylong street fair.

To learn more about LA Pride, visit:


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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54th Annual LA PRIDE Parade Today! STEP OFF at 11AM

The LA Pride Parade and Block Party will take over the streets of Hollywood Sunday, continuing a two-day celebration of Pride Month



LA Pride/Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – (KABC) – HAPPENING TODAY! Come out to the 54th annual @lapride Parade in Hollywood! The parade’s grand marshals are “Star Trek” legend George Takei, LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley and legendary wrestler Cassandro El Exótico. 🏳️‍🌈Can’t make it? Watch it here at 11am: — ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 9, 2024

JUNE 9, 2024: STEP OFF at 11AM

The best Parade viewing spots are along the middle of Hollywood Blvd, or on Highland, opposite the ABC7 broadcast area. Step-off is at 11AM sharp, so get there early to get a good spot.

If you can’t be with there in person, be sure to watch the parade live on ABC7, LA Pride’s Official Television & Streaming Partner.


June 9, 2024

We’re keeping the celebration going on Sunday by throwing the ultimate free Block Party adjacent to the Parade, open from mid-day and going into the evening. With a performance stage, large vendor village, food & bevs, pop-up bars, and more, it’s the place to be to after the Parade. Last year, 35,000 people enjoyed this free Parade “after-party,” don’t miss it!

The Block Party vendor booth application deadline has now passed. Stay tuned to learn more about the cool things we have in store!

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PHOTOS: Tens of Thousands gather for WeHo Pride Parade

This past Sunday, June 2, 2024, tens of thousands of people gathered on Santa Monica Boulevard, in the heart of West Hollywood, for the march



WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Paulo Murillo

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – This past Sunday, June 2, 2024, tens of thousands of people gathered on Santa Monica Boulevard, in the heart of West Hollywood, for the much-anticipated 3rd annual WeHo Pride Parade. The sky was overcast for most of the parade route, which was scheduled to step off at 12:30 p.m., and seemed to start on time (with wide empty gaps in between).

WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Paulo Murillo
WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Paulo Murillo

The WeHo Pride Parade began at N. Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, and traveled westbound along Santa Monica Boulevard into the heart of City’s Rainbow District to N. Robertson Boulevard.

The event promised to bring music, dancing, colorful floats, festive marching contingents, and a creative flair to the city’s historic Route 66, and the city did not disappoint. From lesbians riding motorcycles, to leather clad daddys, to drag queens in stunning, elaborate costumes to LGBTQ+ people adorning themselves with the colors of the rainbow, to everyday allies proudly waving flags, the day was filled with lots to see from the gated sidelines.

WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle
WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle

The parade was also filled with celebrities. This year’s Lifetime Ally Icon for WeHo Pride Parade 2024, Cindy Lauper wished everyone a happy pride while wearing a shimmering silver disco ball-inspired headpiece.

WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle
WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle

Photos below by Paulo Murillo (click to enlarge).

Nonbinary singer Kehlani turned her appearance at the parade into a pro-Palestine demonstration. They rode on the back of a convertible decked Palestinian flags while protesters marched with them.

Other celebrity sightings on the parade route and by the sidelines include Lizzo, Garcelle Beauvais, Sutton Stracke, Lance Bass, and more.

WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle
WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Mike Pingle
WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Paulo Murllo

New owner of the The Abbey WeHo and The Chapel at The Abbey rode on the Abbey float that was filled with gyrating go-go dancers.

WeHo Pride Parade 2024 – Photo by Paulo Murillo

The owners of Beaches WeHo rode on a float promoting their up-and-coming Beaches Tropicana with Lance Bass front and center.

There was a long list of organizations, businesses, programs, and politicians doing their part to support this year’s WeHo Pride Parade and to take part in LGBTQ+ representation, inclusion and progress.

For nearly four decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world traditionally make West Hollywood their regular destination during Pride season.


Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea


The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Southern California’s LGBTQ+ 2024 Pride events

Welcome to a celebration of Pride 2024 in Southern California. Here’s a calendar of events from around the region



Azer Production/Los Angeles Blade graphic

Venice Pride’s Gaywatch
May 31

Baja Venice 311 Washington Blvd, Venice

Venice Pride Block Party presented by Aids Healthcare Foundation
May 31

99 Windward Ave
LA’s beloved grassroots LGBTQ+ Pride celebration returns with a *FREE* party in the street!
Venice Pride Block Party

4th annual San Gabriel Valley Pride March and Festival

June 1

Boys & Girls Clubs of West San Gabriel Valley & Eastside (BGCWSGV), City of Monterey Park, and Alhambra Teachers Association are teaming up on the 4th annual San Gabriel Valley Pride March and Festival this Saturday, June 1.  Hundreds of community members, including those of the LGBTQ+ group, will gather during this event to advocate for inclusivity and kindness during Pride month. The one-mile Pride march begins at Mark Keppel High School and will conclude at Barnes Memorial Park, where there will be food trucks, live music performances, art, and community resources. The festival will be hosted by Lisa Foxx from IHeart Radio and will highlight Club youth with inspiring LGBTQ+ stories, including teen member Mia Guttierez. 

WHEN: Saturday, June 1 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

                 *Pride festival begins at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Barnes Memorial Park |350 S Mc Pherrin Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

*Noting that this march will begin at Mark Keppel High School and conclude at Barnes Memorial Park, where the concert and festival will occur.

Los Angeles Angels Pride Night
June 1

Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Join fans in the Gate 5 Courtyard for pre-game Pride festivities. Purchase a Pride Night ticket package and receive discounted pricing along with a Pride Night-themed Angles hat. Proceeds from each ticket purchase will benefit OC Pride.

AIDS/LifeCycle 2024 Ride
June 2-8

The Cow Palace
AIDS/LifeCycle is a fully-supported, seven-day bike ride
from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It’s a life-changing 545-mile ride-not a race-through some of California’s most beautiful countryside.

WeHo Pride Weekend
May 31- June 2

WeHo Pride 2024 kicks-off on Harvey Milk Day, May 22, with a special event.

Friday Night @ Outloud
May 31

WeHo Pride presents this free-to-attend concert in West Hollywood Park featuring headliners to be announced soon!

Glendale Pride in the Park
June 1, 1pm-5pm

Adams Square Mini Park
The Glendale Pride in the Park celebration and queer family picnic is back. Glendale invites everyone in the community to join and work with love, in healing, and in creating safe space for our kids to thrive.

Yappy Pride Party Returns to Just Food for Dogs West Hollywood

June 1, 2024, from 2 pm – 5 pm

The Yappy Pride Party is returning to the Just Food for Dogs West Hollywood kitchen, located at 7870 Santa Monica Boulevard, Saturday June 1, 2024, from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. during WeHo Pride weekend. Dogs and their pet companions are welcome to attend the event at their parking lot on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue

Guests will celebrate the kickoff of Pride Month with some food and refreshments. Past events have offered wraps, freshly made burgers, hot dogs, and there were plenty of dog treats for pets to munch on. This year enjoy a photo session with fur family photos (available from 3-5pm) with the purchase of toy and treat bundle. There will also be a K-9 couture contest.

Relentlessly Advocating for Pet Health
Being Completely Transparent
Basing Decisions on Scientific Evidence
Driving Change in Our Category
Honoring Pet Life Through Support of Rescue Efforts
You can find them at retail kitchens, inside veterinary clinics and hospitals, at Pet Food Express stores in California, Petco locations nationwide, and on

To learn more, please visit;

Women’s Freedom Festival and Dyke March

Women’s Freedom Festival
June 1, 12pm – 6pm

WeHo Pride Street Fair Community Stage at La Peer Dr.

Co-sponsored and produced by the L-Project, the festival will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women, non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists.

Dyke March
June 1, 6pm-10pm

WeHo Pride Street Fair Community Stage at La Peer Dr.
Featuring a motorcycle-led march, this annual rally will begin immediately following the Women’s Freedom Festival along Santa Monica Boulevard.

WeHo Pride weekend is almost upon us. It all begins this Friday, May 31, 2024 to Sunday, June 2, 2024, with the return of the Women’s Freedom Festival and Dyke March on Saturday. Women are taking over Boystown for WeHo Pride! Women’s Freedom Festival and the Dyke March returns for its 3rd year at West Hollywood Pride on Saturday, June 1, 2024 beginning at 12 noon!

This event is FREE. It is produced by The L-Project Los Angeles and co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood.

Located at the Celebration Stage on west end of Santa Monica Blvd at LaPeer Avenue, the event will be hosted by Jackie Steele with sounds by DJ Boom Boom & DJ Sterling Victorian.

This year’s lineup of 2SLGBTQ+BIPOC artists will include live performances by: Nekeith – Madline Grace Jones – Shiah Luna – Gattison – Cheri Moon – Theia – Mariah Counts and the KingQueen Band. Poetry by Yazmin Monet Watkins + Sasha MaRi – Suri Chan and West Hollywood’s Poet Laurette, Jen Cheng.

Guest speakers will include: Queen Hollins, Chanel Lumiere, Amy Stretten (Chickhominy)

Dyke March performance by THEIA & MEDUSA, THE GANSTA GODDESS

Biker staging for the Dyke March will begin at 5pm with an opening performance by Medusa at 5:30 p.m. The Dyke March Rally at 6 p.m. and the March will begin 6:30 p.m.

Bikers! If interested in joining Pride Riders for the Dyke March, please contact: Katrina Vinson at: [email protected]

Reserve your tickets for a chance to win free promos and other giveaways by clicking on the link here: (Link)

The Women’s Freedom Festival lineup and schedule (*subject to change) is as follows:

ACT ONE – 12:30 PM – 3 PM

Host: Jackie Steele

Sounds by: DJ Boom Boom @mz_djboomboom

Opening Ceremony

Tongva Nation Land Blessing

Queen Hollins

Jen Cheng @jencvoice

Chanel Lumiere @chanelblaclumiere

Nekeith @officialnekeith

Madeline Grace Jones  @aesthetic_thespian

Suri Chan  @suri___chan

Shiah Luna  @shiahluna

Cheri Moon  @cherimoon

Gattison @justgattison

ACT TWO – 3 PM – 5 PM

DJ Sterling

Theia @theiaofficialxo

Mariah Counts @mcshmammer

KingQueen Band


Yazmin Monet Watkins + Sasha MaRi    @yazminmonetwatkins


Medusa @legendmedusa

Trans Choir

Pride Rider Rally @pride_riders_la

The L-Project is an historically lesbian non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 2015 by Elisabeth Sandberg, in West Hollywood, California. Their mission is to promote and support emerging LGBTQI BI+POC women and non-binary creatives through the arts and technology.

Outloud @ WeHo Pride
June 1-2

An award-winning, ticketed concert highlighting LGBTQ artistry, this star-studded, high-energy line-up celebrates and advocates for queer voices in music, kicking off Pride Season!

WeHo Pride Street Fair
June 1-2

The street fair is free and will include community group booths, exhibitors, sponsor activations, a stage with live performances, and other entertainment elements.

WeHo Pride Parade
June 2

A colorful and entertaining event for the whole family, the parade will feature contingents such as floats, bands, drill teams, dance teams, entertainment entries, marchers and special guests.

LA Pride in the Park
June 8, 1pm-11pm

Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles
LA Pride in the Park is a highly anticipated music event. This year’s headliner is Latin superstar Ricky Martin. Joining him on the massive 80-foot stage will be MUNA, Tokischa and Jojo Siwa, among others. It’s also an LGBTQ+ community event organized by CSW, LA’s original 501(c)3 Pride nonprofit, established in 1970. Guests will enjoy over 20 acres of activities, glow-ups, giveaways, and more from LGBTQIA+ partners, exhibitors, and vendors.

Photo Credit: Ricky Martin/WeHoTimes

As the first openly gay Latin artist to take center stage at the highly-anticipated Pride event of the year, this marks Martin’s first-ever headliner Pride performance.

LA Pride in the Park will return to the Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday, June 8. Across 20 acres and with a capacity for 25,000, LA Pride in the Park is one of the most sought-after and largest Official Pride concerts in the country. Additionally, the official theme for this year’s Pride season is “Power in Pride,” which celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community’s ability to live authentically.

General Admission and VIP Passes are now available to purchase at

“I am thrilled to be headlining LA Pride in the Park because it’s an incredible opportunity to celebrate love, diversity, and equality,” said Martin. “LA Pride is a testament to the power of community, the power of visibility, and the power of standing up for our rights. Being part of this vibrant community fills me with pride and purpose.”


JUNE 9, 2024: STEP OFF at 11AM

The best Parade viewing spots are along the middle of Hollywood Blvd, or on Highland, opposite the ABC7 broadcast area. Step-off is at 11AM sharp, so get there early to get a good spot.

If you can’t be with there in person, be sure to watch the parade live on ABC7, LA Pride’s Official Television & Streaming Partner.


June 9, 2024

We’re keeping the celebration going on Sunday by throwing the ultimate free Block Party adjacent to the Parade, open from mid-day and going into the evening. With a performance stage, large vendor village, food & bevs, pop-up bars, and more, it’s the place to be to after the Parade. Last year, 35,000 people enjoyed this free Parade “after-party,” don’t miss it!

The Block Party vendor booth application deadline has now passed. Stay tuned to learn more about the cool things we have in store!

The Grove will host Los Angeles’ beloved annual Pride Night celebration

June 13

The Grove will host Los Angeles’ beloved annual Pride Night celebration on Thursday, June 13, presented by Afterpay. Friends, family and members of the LGBTQIA+ community will gather in The Park for a colorful night of festive bingo, live entertainment, delectable sips and bites and more in celebration of this year’s Pride Month.

When doors open at 6PM, The Park at The Grove will shine in bright rainbow ornamentation, welcoming guests to rejoice with Pride-themed décor, upbeat tunes from a live DJ and a variety of interactive photo moments to capture the excitement. An array of bites from Rocco’s Pizza and The Grove’s dining tenants will be available to enjoy, including Häagen-Dazs, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Pressed Juicery and % Arabica, complemented by beverages from Hamptons Water, Casa Dragones, Grey Goose and Calidad.

The Grove’s acclaimed Pride Bingo will begin promptly at 7:30PM. Tickets are $55 per person and include 10 rounds of bingo hosted by LA legend ‘Bingo Boy’ (Jeffrey Bowman) and chances to win luxury prizes from some of The Grove’s renowned retailers like the newly opened David Yurman and Arhaus, along with Byredo, Backcountry, Todd Snyder and more. Caruso Signature members will also receive exclusive Pride merch and complimentary parking validation. Ticket proceeds will be donated to LA Pride.

Pride Night is sponsored by “buy now, pay later” service Afterpay. New and existing Afterpay customers who purchase Pride Bingo tickets will be reimbursed at check-in and guests are encouraged to arrive via Lyft, the official rideshare partner of Caruso. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit  

            Pride Night at The Grove, presented by Afterpay

WHEN:            Thursday, June 13

                        6PM – 9PM

                        Check-In Opens: 6PM

                        Food, Drinks and Live Music: 6PM-7:30PM

                        Bingo and Prizes: 7:30PM-9PM

WHERE:         The Grove (in The Park)

                        189 The Grove Drive

                        Los Angeles, CA 90036

ADMISSION: (1) Pride Bingo Ticket: $55

*Includes 10 rounds of bingo, meal and beverage tickets, exclusive Pride merch, photo opportunities and chances to win complimentary prizes from The Grove’s stores and restaurants

To purchase tickets, please visit .  

LGBTQ+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium

Friday, June 14 – 7:10pm PT

Dodger Stadium

Our World Series-winning Dodgers take on the Kansas City Royals with LA Pride pre-game festivities featuring DJ party, and Pride merch for special ticket holders!

Buy tickets here: (Link)

Catalina Island Gears Up for an Unforgettable Pride Celebration

June 15, 2024 

Catalina Pride, sponsored by US Bank, will kick off at noon with the ceremonial Pride Walk, starting from Wrigley Stage and continuing along the scenic waterfront to the famous Catalina Island Casino. Participants are encouraged to don their brightest rainbow attire as they join in this joyous march showcasing support for the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, the historic Catalina Island Casino will be lit in vibrant rainbow colors to showcase Catalina’s love and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Wrigley Stage will be the heart of the celebration, featuring an exciting lineup of live entertainment. Highlights include:

  • Pulp Vixen – This all-female cover band, known for their high-energy performances, will headline the event.
  • DJ Asha – Returning for her third year, DJ Asha will keep the crowd dancing with her dynamic mixes.
  • KingQueen – The rock-pop band is back by popular demand.
  • Mermaid – Featuring Candace Quarrels and Brittany Campbell, this duo blends rock, pop, and R&B.
  • Danielle Lande – Singer-songwriter and founder of QUEERSOUND.
  • Patrick St. James – Irish-born, Manchester-based queer pop singer-songwriter.
  • DJ Jae Fusz – Former background dancer for Britney Spears, bringing his DJ skills to the stage.
  • Tonii and Miya King – Performing as both solo artists and their duo group Sunday.
  • Sister Ray – Known for their eclectic style and original songs.
  • DJ Hovani – Las Vegas-based DJ known for his infectious sets.
  • In addition to the main stage performances, an after-party will be held at the Chi Chi Club from 10 PM to close, featuring sets by DJ Hovani and DJ Fusz.

“We are delighted to welcome everyone to Catalina Island for this special celebration of love and diversity,” said Jim Luttjohann, CEO of Love Catalina. “Pride is not just an event; it’s a testament to our community’s commitment to inclusion and acceptance. Catalina is a wonderful destination for LGBTQ+ visitors year-round, offering a welcoming atmosphere, stunning scenery, and a variety of activities for all to enjoy. We look forward to a fantastic day of celebration, music, and unity.”

Pride is Universal at Universal Studios Hollywood

June 15, 2024 10pm – 2am

LA Pride’s iconic after-hours party is back at Universal Studios Hollywood, with a limited discounted GA ticket price of $139! Enjoy the magic of when the park closes to the public at 10pm and you get to stay until 2am for the Pride-only after-hours experience with multiple DJ’s, dance areas, cash bars, 14 Universal characters, and enhanced lighting throughout the park! Plus the retail stores, select restaurants, rides, and attractions remain open just for us!


Dancing with Dane (Photo provided by DTSM, Inc.)

City of Santa Monica celebrates Pride

The month-long SaMo Pride celebration returns this June with interactive activities and experiences that honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and promote inclusivity and acceptance in Santa Monica. SaMo Pride is a citywide partnership between Santa Monica Place, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM, Inc.) and Santa Monica Pier, in collaboration with the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism.

Fierce Fables: Drag Queen Pride Family-Edition

June 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At Santa Monica Pier, the community is invited to participate in the Merry-Go-Round Building. Hosted in partnership with The Crow Comedy Club, this event welcomes all family members to enjoy a drag queen and king storytelling corner, face painting and show-stopping dance numbers by Pickle Drag QueenPandora Boxx and Johnny Gentleman

Pride on the Promenade

June 22, from 2 to 8 p.m. 

This lively block party transforms Third Street Promenade into a colorful celebration featuring musical performances curated by OUTLOUD, giveaways, games and a retail pop-up marketplace showcasing local LGBTQ+ businesses, creating an inclusive space for all ages to come together and celebrate diversity. Plus, local service providers and community groups will be present along the Promenade, offering support and resources for the LGBTQ+ community.

Sounds of Santa Monica: Pride Edition 

June 22, from noon to 6 p.m.

Families will groove to the beats of live musical entertainment by LGBTQ+ performers in Center Plaza under Lanterns of Love, an overhead colorful lantern installation. Vibrant overhead lights will also span from Third Street Promenade to Santa Monica Place, illuminating the festive atmosphere. Also on Saturday, the Santa Monica Place Kid Zone offers kid-friendly Pride programming and activities, creating an educational and entertaining space for children to play and learn about inclusivity and acceptance. For more information about Sounds of Santa Monica: Pride Edition, visit

The City of Santa Monica is dedicated to increasing visibility and understanding of the broad spectrum of gender identities and experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. The City celebrates Pride with the month-long lighting of City Hall in rainbow colors and a series of educational, uplifting events during the month of June. Community events include the City’s Pride Proclamation on May 28; an AIDS LifeCycle Finish Line Festival  on June 8; Rainbow Family Storytime at the Santa Monica Public Library on June 11; Family Pride Drag Queen Storytime with Pickle on June 14; Pride sunset swim at the Annenberg Community Beach House on June 21; and much more. 

Hermosa Beach Pride

Friday, June 14 to Sunday June 16, 2024

Location: Hermosa Beach

About the Event: Girls, gays, theys, allies, ALL are welcome to join us for our 4th Annual Hermosa Beach PRIDE, June 14-16! For more information, please visit Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau’s website

This Pride month, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath is supporting a wide range of Pride events throughout Los Angeles County’s Third Supervisorial District in solidarity, support, and love of our LGBTQ+ community. 

“This Pride, we’re committed to making sure that our LGBTQ+ community, in all of its beautiful diversity, is welcomed, supported, and celebrated throughout Los Angeles County,” said Chair Horvath. “As we honor the progress we’ve made and continue to push for equality, we must stand strong, use our voices, and make sure that our LGBTQ+ community always feels empowered. The Third District and LA County will be loud and proud in our support for all our LGBTQ+ family, during Pride month and year-round.” 

The media and community are invited to join Chair Horvath for the following Pride Month events throughout the Third District. 

Venice Pride | May 31st, 5 – 11 p.m. | 99 Windward Ave. | 

West Hollywood Pride | June 1st - June 2nd | Santa Monica Blvd. | 

Chair Horvath will attend the West Hollywood Pride Parade, which takes place on June 2nd at 12:30 p.m.  

Los Angeles Pride | June 8th - June 9th | Hollywood Blvd. | 

Chair Horvath will attend the Los Angeles Pride Parade, which takes place on June 9th at 11 a.m. 

Santa Monica Pride | June 22nd, 2 – 8 p.m. | Third Street Promenade | 

San Fernando Outdoor Pride Market  | June 22nd, 6-10 p.m. | San Fernando Rd. | 

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is co-sponsoring the first annual Inglewood Pride Festival in the City of Inglewood on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Events are set to take place at the Creative House Gallery at 122 N Market Street and outdoors in the Historic Market Street Shopping District.


LOS ANGELES, CA — Alliance For All Wrestling (AFA) will hold its largest LGBTQI+ allied professional wrestling event in Azusa at Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW Hall — 250 East 1st Street Azusa, CA 91702 on June 27, 2024. 

The “Wizard of Oz” themed show (‘Over the Rainbow’) will be the greatest pro-wrestling Pride event in SoCal history, featuring 40+ of the hottest SoCal wrestling stars on the independent circuit. 

Barbie Boi, pro-wrestler and founder of AFA, is encouraging everyone to grab their friends and family, “click their heels three times,” and head on down the yellow brick road to witness a truly magical event. 

“‘Over the Rainbow’ is an event that will bring everyone together for a night of love, representation, equality and wrestling,” says Barbie Boi. “Pride Month is such a special time for people to come together and show how important love and equality is. Pro-wrestling, to me, can also bring so many different kinds of people together. This event is showcasing talent representing the community alongside our strong allies. I want everyone to come see what is at the end of our wrestling rainbow. They’re going to love it.” 

Featured and confirmed talent include: Effy, Shane Haste, Wolf Zaddies (Che Cabrera & Tito Escondido), Mylo, Sandra Moone, Delilah Doom, Barbie Boi, Keita, G Sharpe, Jazmin Allure, Titus Alexander, Tyler Bateman, Ray Rosas, Maximilien Monclair, Diego Valens, Nina, Brendan Divine, Bryn Throne, Jakob Austin Young, Eli Everfly, Bryce Saturn, Moondog Murray, Hunter Gallagher, El Primohenio, Parada, Chuy Gonzalez, Joey Mayberry, Mateo Valentine, Mighty Mayra, Shelly Benson, Everly Rivera, Marina Tucker, Krusty Krew (Lucas Riley & Dom Kubrick), The Unguided (Matt Vandagriff & Damian Drake), Gypsy Mac, Dante King and Affirmative Action (Da Shade & Project Wes). 

Tickets for the June 27 show are $30 for Front Row VIP and $25 for General Admission, currently available for purchase online on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be sold at the door the day of the event.

This is an all inclusive event for all ages. Bar service for alcohol purchase available, and must be 21+ with proper identification. Pride wardrobe encouraged. Merchandise table/ photo-ops with wrestlers/ talent will be held during and after the show. Parking is free next to the VFW building and street parking is also available. 

CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE For more information about AFA – please follow on Instagram: @allianceforallwrestling, Twitter: @afawrestling, or contact via email: [email protected]

San Fernando Valley Pride | June 29th, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Van Nuys | 

March at noon at Van Nuys Blvd. and Gault St.  

Important Pride Notes!

Photo courtesy of the City of West Hollywood

WeHo Pride Weekend Street and Facility Closures

WeHo Pride Weekend will Take Place from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2 in and Around West Hollywood Park and the City’s Rainbow District

The City of West Hollywood reminds the community and the region about WeHo Pride-related street and facility closures. Drivers and Metro riders can anticipate increased traffic and commute times; please plan to use alternate routes.

Street Closures will take place, as follows:

  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Melrose Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Blvd (Eastbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Friday, May 31, at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.
  • N. Robertson Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Melrose Avenue from Friday, May 31, at 12 p.m. (noon) through Monday, June 3 at 7 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard (Westbound) closed from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard closed from Santa Monica Boulevard to Cynthia Street from Saturday, June 1, at 6 a.m. through Monday, June 3, at 7 a.m.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard closed from N. Fairfax Avenue to N. Doheny Drive (including side streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard) from Sunday, June 2 at 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 2, at 5 p.m. for the WeHo Pride Parade. Santa Monica Boulevard from N. La Cienega Boulevard to N. Doheny Drive will remain closed though Monday, June 3 at 7 a.m. 

Facility Closures will be, as follows:

  • West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (West Hollywood Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).
  • Small Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Monday, May 27 through Wednesday, June 5 (Small Dog Park will reopen Thursday, June 6).
  • Large Dog Park at West Hollywood Park from Wednesday, May 29 through Tuesday, June 4 (Large Dog Park will reopen Wednesday, June 5).
  • Five-Story Parking Structure at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • West Hollywood Library Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Aquatic and Recreation Center Garage at West Hollywood Park from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Plummer Park South Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 12 p.m.
  • Robertson Lot from Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. through Monday, June 3, at 10 a.m.

The City of West Hollywood will activate its annual Pride Ride free shuttle service during #WeHoPride Weekend. The City’s free transit services, The PickUp and Cityline, will offer combined Pride Ride services that will operate over the weekend.

Pride Ride vehicles (both PickUp and Cityline vehicles marked with route/destination) will travel through West Hollywood from N. La Brea Avenue to N. Kings Road along Santa Monica Boulevard. Select Pride Ride vehicles (marked with route/destination) will also run to the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station as follows:

  • Friday, May 31, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.
  • Saturday, June 1, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. service will run to-and-from the Hollywood & Highland Metro Station.
  • Sunday, June 2, 2024 – West Hollywood route will run from 11 a.m. to midnight. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. service will run to-and-from Hollywood & Highland Metro Station to N. Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard due to WeHo Pride Parade street closures. Following the Pride Parade, once streets have reopened, Pride Ride will run along Santa Monica Boulevard between N. La Brea Avenue and N. La Cienega Boulevard until midnight.

WeHo Pride Weekend (May 31 to June 2) will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration; the Women’s Freedom Festival; the annual Dyke March; free Friday Night at OUTLOUD; OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride music festival; the WeHo Pride Parade, and a wide range of community group programming throughout Pride month. The WeHo Pride Arts Festival (June 14 – June 16) will take place at various locations throughout West Hollywood.

Additional information about #WeHoPride is posted at and @wehopride on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo courtesy of LA Metro


Avoid the hassle that is parking in LA, and be good to the environment, by using one of LA Metro’s convenient train or bus lines. Wherever you live, LA Pride is accessible by public transportation.

As Pride celebrations continue, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority (Metro), is supporting all the activities. As the official transit partner of LA Pride, we’re conducting station “take overs” on Saturday, June 8 – our Chinatown station that services the concert in the park will be renamed “LA Pride Nation Station” and the station pylon will be wrapped in Pride colors. For your residents headed to the park, getting there is easy, all they have to do is take the A Line to Chinatown Station – one quick stop from L.A. Union Station. Pay Metro fare of $3.50 for a round trip on a TAP card, which cost $2 and are available for purchase at TAP vending machines at all Metro rail and busway stations. Metro has many Park & Ride lots servicing the county – parking is just $3.00 per day, payable onsite.

For the LA Pride parade and block party on Sunday, June 9 stations servicing both the Pride Parade and Block Party will be renamed and wrapped in Pride colors – Hollywood/Highland will be renamed Hollywood/Pride-land and Hollywood/Vine will be renamed Hollywood/Pride. And for those residents headed to both, they just have to take the B/D Line to Hollywood/Highland for the Parade and Hollywood/Vine for the Block Party.

Pay Metro fare of $3.50 for a round trip on a TAP car, which cost $2 and are available for purchase at TAP vending machines at all Metro rail and busway stations. Metro has many Park & Ride lots servicing the county – parking is just $3.00 per day, payable onsite.

Earlier this month, Metro also launched its “Ride with Pride” campaign. You may have already seen them, but our buses and trains are beautifully adorned with vibrant Pride themed designs, showcasing its support for the LGBTQIA+ community and enhancing the festive atmosphere for riders all month long.

Photo courtesy of LA Metro

LA Metro is the proud Official Transit Partner of LA Pride. Look for future announcements about Pride TAP cards, new LA Pride wrapped buses and trains for 2024, station takeovers, parties, and more!

PBS SoCal Celebrates Pride Month With Disco, George Takei and More

Select content slated to air during Pride Month is listed as follows (*schedule subject to change):

L.A.: A QUEER HISTORY – Sat., June 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus and Thurs., June 20 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal

The 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York has been widely regarded as the beginning of the Gay Civil Rights Movement, but the true heart of the movement, and what we know as “Gay Culture” was born in Los Angeles. This film sheds light on historical figures who are largely unacknowledged, creating a newfound dialogue about LGBTQ history but also a better understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

AMERICAN MASTERS: Ballerina Boys – Sat., June 1 at 11:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus 

The story of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a company of men who dance on pointe as ballerinas.

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Rock the Boat” – Tues., June 4 at 8:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., June 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as well as Sat., June 8 at 5:30 p.m. and Wed, June 19 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

The opening episode of the series looks at the roots of disco – how it emerged from a basic desire for inclusion, visibility, and freedom among persecuted Black, gay and minority ethnic communities of New York City. It tells the remarkable story of how a global phenomenon began in the loft apartments and basement bars of New York City, where a new generation of DJs and musicians, like David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Francis Grasso and Earl Young (The Trammps), pioneered a distinct sound and a new way of spinning records. 

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – Tues., June 4 at 9:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., June 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as well as Sat., June 8 at 6:30 p.m. and Wed, June 26 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

Set against the backdrop of Black power and sexual liberation, the second episode takes viewers to the high watermark of disco in the mid ’70s. It was the birth of the “disco diva” from Gloria Gaynor and Candi Staton to Donna Summer and Thelma Houston. However, mainstream success by The Bee Gees’ soundtrack album “Saturday Night Fever,” The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and Studio 54 took disco further and further from its roots of inclusivity and freedom, as straight, white men started to embrace and repackage the sound.

DISCO: SOUNDTRACK OF A REVOLUTION “Stayin’ Alive” – Tues., June 4 at 11 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Tues., July 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal as well as Sat., June 8 at 8 p.m. and Wed, July 3 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

The final episode documents the wellspring of resentment from white, straight, male-dominated, rock-loving middle Americans, as they targeted disco for its hedonism, femininity and queerness. A vocal “Disco Sucks” movement began to gain momentum, culminating in the “Disco Demolition Derby” at Comiskey Park Stadium in Chicago, where organizers destroyed thousands of disco records in front of a baying audience of baseball fans. In addition, the hedonism and sexual liberation embodied by disco found itself stopped in its tracks by the AIDS crisis. Pushed out of the mainstream, the pioneers of disco retreated and regrouped. 

DEAR IKE: LOST LETTERS TO A TEEN IDOL – Sat., June 8 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

The story of a teenager’s all-consuming childhood quest to contact his boyhood idol, Ike Eisenmann, and ask him to star in an animated science-fiction epic that he was forever developing in an overstuffed three-ring binder.

UNIDAD: GAY & LESBIAN LATINOS UNIDOS – Sat., June 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos was founded in 1981, only a few years before HIV/AIDS began to ravage LGBTQ communities. GLLU was the Los Angeles area’s first major Queer Latin@ organization, and the film chronicles events at a pivotal time in the history of LGBTQ equality, women’s rights and civil rights movements that shaped the destinies of GLLU’s communities.

TO BE TAKEI – Wed., June 19 at 8 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus and Thurs., June 20 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal

This award-winning documentary features Star Trek legend, marriage equality advocate and spokesperson for racial justice; superstar George Takei.

ARTBOUND: LGBTQ Nightlife – Wed., June 19 at 9 p.m. and Sun., June 23 at 4 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

In this episode of ARTBOUND, see how a roving LGBTQ night club event in Los Angeles called “Mustache Mondays” became a creative incubator for today’s leading edge contemporary artists. This film examines the history of these spaces and how they shaped the Queer cultural fabric unique to Southern California.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Stonewall Uprising” – Thurs., June 20 at 10 p.m. on PBS SoCal and Sat., June 22 at 9:30 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. 

LOST LA: Coded Geographies – Sat., June 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

This episode of LOST LA explores two underground guidebooks, The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and The Address Book, that reveal the hidden geographies many Angelenos had to navigate, exposing Los Angeles as a place of coded segregation and resistance.

OUTRAGE OF DANNY SOTOMAYOR: American Stories – Sun., June 23 at 5 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

Danny Sotomayor was a man on a mission to address injustice. The fiery, openly gay AIDS activist, political cartoonist and organizer took to the streets of Chicago, using civil disobedience to wage war on city officials who marginalized the LGBTQ+ community and turned a blind eye to the AIDS crisis – all while fighting a losing battle with the disease himself.

CLIVE DAVIS: The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Sat., June 29 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

A look at the life and work of record executive and producer Clive Davis, whose five-decade career has launched many superstars, including Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith.

JUSTLY WED: Scenes from the Marriage Equality Movement – Sun., June 30 at 5 p.m. on PBS SoCal Plus

An exploration of the experience and legacy of the 2004 gay marriages in San Francisco.

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Venice Pride kicks off Pride Month & honors LA Blade publisher

The Los Angeles Blade’s Founder & Publisher Troy Masters to be honored with the Bill Rosendahl Pioneer of the Year Award



Los Angeles Blade/Venice Pride

LOS ANGELES – The Venice Pride Block Party returns with a renewed focus on inclusivity and community spirit. The iconic Venice sign will shine in rainbow colors for the 8th annual celebration this Friday, May 31, from 5 to 11 p.m.

Presented by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, this year’s event will again feature a free street party with DJ Victor Rodriguez, community booths, food vendors, a vibrant queer market, and more. The event is open to all ages and no registration is required, making it a welcoming celebration of LGBTQ+ pride and community unity.

With over 30 queer marketplace participants and exhibitors, the Venice Pride Block Party will offer a diverse range of products and services that celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and creativity. Attendees can explore unique items from vendors like BabyGay and Prismatic Gifts, as well as services from Pride Point Volleyball and Yoga Nest Venice. Community exhibitors include the Venice Heritage Museum,, and more.

This vibrant marketplace provides a platform for local queer entrepreneurs and organizations to showcase their talents and connect with the community.

“Amidst a climate where LGBTQ+ voices are increasingly silenced, Venice Pride remains committed to celebrating inclusion, individuality, and diversity,” said Grant Turck, Executive Director of Venice Pride. “This year, we are especially proud to honor Los Angeles Blade Publisher Troy Masters with the Bill Rosendahl Pioneer of the Year Award. Troy’s tireless advocacy and groundbreaking work in LGBTQ+ media have provided a powerful platform for our community, ensuring our voices are heard even in challenging times. His dedication to truth, visibility, and social justice embodies the spirit of Bill Rosendahl and inspires us all to continue the fight for equality.”

The Bill Rosendahl Pioneer of the Year Award honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ community, reflecting the spirit of Bill Rosendahl’s dedication to social justice, inclusivity, and equality. Bill Rosendahl, a beloved Los Angeles City Council member and lifelong advocate for human rights, left an enduring legacy through his tireless work for LGBTQ+ rights and his commitment to making a difference.

Past recipients of this prestigious award include Trans Youth Advocate Shéár Avory, known for their groundbreaking efforts in supporting transgender youth, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group celebrated for their charitable work and advocacy within the LGBTQ+ community. This award continues to honor those who embody the values and activism that Rosendahl championed throughout his life.

Following the block party the community is invited to dance the night away at Gaywatch presented by L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath at Baja Cantina (311 Washington Blvd) from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Tickets ($20-25) can be purchased online at, with all proceeds benefiting Venice Pride.

Venice Pride

Venice Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through the acceptance of diversity. The mission of the organization is to celebrate the unity of Los Angeles’ coastal LGBTQ+ community, its friends and supporters through public art projects, events and ongoing outreach that inspires, commemorates and supports diversity with the unique and eclectic spirit that embodies the Venice neighborhood.

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LA LGBT Center celebrates with stars at annual gala raising $1.6M

Cynthia Erivo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lena Waithe, Zaya Wade, Jewel, MUNA, and more Help Los Angeles LGBT Center Raise $1.6M



(L-R) Joel Kim Booster, Susan Feniger, Francis Dennis Pond, and Joe Hollendoner pose for a photo onstage during the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Annual Gala at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on May 18, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for the Los Angeles LGBT Center)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles LGBT Center held their annual Gala Saturday night. which celebrates the unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements of LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates.

Held at the Shrine Auditorium just off the USC campus in the University Park neighborhood, The Center Gala with about 900 supporters and a bevy of entertainment celebrities was able to raise $1.6M to support its ongoing lifeline services and advocacy programs.

The Center honored Cynthia Erivo, Mickalene Thomas, and MUNA for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. The Gala was hosted by actor, writer, and comedian Joel Kim Booster, and featured a special performance by power pop trio MUNA—who were surprised onstage by music icon Jewel for a rendition of the chart-topping hit, “Silk Chiffon.”

Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress, singer, songwriter and producer Cynthia Erivo was honored with the Rand Schrader Award. Jada Pinkett-Smith presented her with the honor, which recognized her for her stellar achievements in entertainment and activism championing the LGBTQ+ community. During her remarks, Erivo spoke about the impact of Wicked and the importance of art in polarizing times.

“We are, as we all know, living through intensely polarized times. It seems that, all over, we are keen on seeing the world in black-and-white, rather than embracing the difficult (but beautiful) complexities of our humanity,” Erivo said. “I see it as no coincidence that the universe urged a director by the name of Jon M Chu to take on the mammoth task that is Wicked…As I stand here in front of you: Black, bald-headed, pierced, and queer, I can say I know a thing or two about being the other. Elphaba’s story is… about how a colorful, powerful, magical woman—despite being disparaged, demonized, and discriminated against—becomes a hero. Wicked is a reclamation and a reimagining of the labels used against her. It is the proclamation of her right to exist in all her power. If that sounds familiar to you colorful, magical people in this room—it should.”

Award-winning multidisciplinary artist Mickalene Thomas, considered one of the most influential visual artists of our time, was honored with this year’s Vanguard Award. Tasha Smith presented the award in recognition of her advocacy and commitment to intersecting complexities of Black and female identity within the Western canon.

“As our community faces unprecedented challenges, we all have a responsibility to create change,” said Thomas. “Each and every one of us in the room has a responsibility in our own small ways—wherever you are, however we involve ourselves within the community. It takes one person.”

The Gala’s live programming included an auction and special musical performance by power pop trio MUNA. MUNA was also presented with the Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts presented by singer-songwriter Jewel.

“Our queerness is about working toward so many things that feel so hard to imagine,” said MUNA’s lead singer Katie Gavin. “Our queerness is overwhelmed by all the big things that we want for this world, but we try anyway and make each other laugh along the way. So, in Leslie’s honor today, we say: ‘Watch us twirl, daddy.'”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center uses funds raised by its annual Gala to support its holistic model of care—services that are accessed more than 500,000 times per year by LGBTQ+ people. This year, according to CEO Joe Hollendoner, the Center has been responding to nearly unprecedented levels of hate and hate-related violence, as the LGBTQ+ community in California experiences a political backlash. 

“When our political opponents are at their worst, your Center is at its best,” said Hollendoner. “Nearly every day, I see a new young person arrive at our Anita May Rosenstein intergenerational Campus, failed by the systems meant to care for them. But unlike the parents, schools, or religious institutions that have turned their backs on these teenagers, I see the Center opening our doors and welcoming these youth into a community like none other.”

To emphasize the Center’s commitment to this fight, Joel Kim Booster announced the debut of the organization’s new PSA, titled “We Are Family,” voiced by award-winning actress Jennifer Garner. 

Other highlights for the evening included the unveiling of three short films directed by National Anthem director Luke Gilford, who profiled three different clients of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The videos were presented by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Symone, Valentina, and Laith Ashley.

Comedian Dana Goldberg presided over the live auction, which featured prizes from longtime LGBTQ+ advocates and musical icons, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera.

This year’s Gala was supported by Presenting Sponsor: Gilead Sciences, Inc. Platinum Sponsors include Glamazon L.A.—Amazon’s LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Gold Sponsors are Contractors State License Schools and Construction Insurance Agency, PS, and U.S. Bank. The event’s Official Airline Partner is American Airlines.  

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What to expect at the 2024 National Cannabis Festival

With performances by Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, and Thundercat, the 2024 National Cannabis Festival will be bigger than ever this year



Juicy J performs at the 2023 National Cannabis Festival (Photo credit: Alive Coverage)

WASHINGTON — With two full days of events and programs along with performances by Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, and Thundercat, the 2024 National Cannabis Festival will be bigger than ever this year.

Leading up to the festivities on Friday and Saturday at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium are plenty of can’t-miss experiences planned for 420 Week, including the National Cannabis Policy Summit and an LGBTQ happy hour hosted by the District’s Black-owned queer bar, Thurst Lounge (both happening on Wednesday).

On Tuesday, the Blade caught up with NCF Founder and Executive Producer Caroline Phillips, principal at The High Street PR & Events, for a discussion about the event’s history and the pivotal political moment for cannabis legalization and drug policy reform both locally and nationally. Phillips also shared her thoughts about the role of LGBTQ activists in these movements and the through-line connecting issues of freedom and bodily autonomy.

After D.C. residents voted to approve Initiative 71 in the fall of 2014, she said, adults were permitted to share cannabis and grow the plant at home, while possession was decriminalized with the hope and expectation that fewer people would be incarcerated.

“When that happened, there was also an influx of really high-priced conferences that promised to connect people to big business opportunities so they could make millions in what they were calling the ‘green rush,'” Phillips said.

“At the time, I was working for Human Rights First,” a nonprofit that was, and is, engaged in “a lot of issues to do with world refugees and immigration in the United States” — so, “it was really interesting to me to see the overlap between drug policy reform and some of these other issues that I was working on,” Phillips said.

“And then it rubbed me a little bit the wrong way to hear about the ‘green rush’ before we’d heard about criminal justice reform around cannabis and before we’d heard about people being let out of jail for cannabis offenses.”

“As my interests grew, I realized that there was really a need for this conversation to happen in a larger way that allowed the larger community, the broader community, to learn about not just cannabis legalization, but to understand how it connects to our criminal justice system, to understand how it can really stimulate and benefit our economy, and to understand how it can become a wellness tool for so many people,” Phillips said.

“On top of all of that, as a minority in the cannabis space, it was important to me that this event and my work in the cannabis industry really amplified how we could create space for Black and Brown people to be stakeholders in this economy in a meaningful way.”

Caroline Phillips (Photo by Greg Powers)

“Since I was already working in event production, I decided to use those skills and apply them to creating a cannabis event,” she said. “And in order to create an event that I thought could really give back to our community with ticket prices low enough for people to actually be able to attend, I thought a large-scale event would be good — and thus was born the cannabis festival.”

D.C. to see more regulated cannabis businesses ‘very soon’

Phillips said she believes decriminalization in D.C. has decreased the number of cannabis-related arrests in the city, but she noted arrests have, nevertheless, continued to disproportionately impact Black and Brown people.

“We’re at a really interesting crossroads for our city and for our cannabis community,” she said. In the eight years since Initiative 71 was passed, “We’ve had our licensed regulated cannabis dispensaries and cultivators who’ve been existing in a very red tape-heavy environment, a very tax heavy environment, and then we have the unregulated cannabis cultivators and cannabis dispensaries in the city” who operate via a “loophole” in the law “that allows the sharing of cannabis between adults who are over the age of 21.”

Many of the purveyors in the latter group, Phillips said, “are looking at trying to get into the legal space; so they’re trying to become regulated businesses in Washington, D.C.”

She noted the city will be “releasing 30 or so licenses in the next couple of weeks, and those stores should be coming online very soon” which will mean “you’ll be seeing a lot more of the regulated stores popping up in neighborhoods and hopefully a lot more opportunity for folks that are interested in leaving the unregulated space to be able to join the regulated marketplace.”

The national push for de-scheduling cannabis

Signaling the political momentum for reforming cannabis and criminal justice laws, Wednesday’s Policy Summit will feature U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate majority leader.

Also representing Capitol Hill at the Summit will be U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) — who will be receiving the Supernova Women Cannabis Champion Lifetime Achievement Award — along with an aide to U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio).

Nationally, Phillips said much of the conversation around cannabis concerns de-scheduling. Even though 40 states and D.C. have legalized the drug for recreational and/or medical use, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I substance since the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1971, which means it carries the heftiest restrictions on, and penalties for, its possession, sale, distribution, and cultivation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services formally requested the drug be reclassified as a Schedule III substance in August, which inaugurated an ongoing review, and in January a group of 12 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Biden-Harris administration’s Drug Enforcement Administration urging the agency to de-schedule cannabis altogether.

Along with the Summit, Phillips noted that “a large contingent of advocates will be coming to Washington, D.C. this week to host a vigil at the White House and to be at the festival educating people” about these issues. She said NCF is working with the 420 Unity Coalition to push Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to “move straight to de-scheduling cannabis.”

“This would allow folks who have been locked up for cannabis offenses the chance to be released,” she said. “It would also allow medical patients greater access. It would also allow business owners the chance to exist without the specter of the federal government coming in and telling them what they’re doing is wrong and that they’re criminals.”

Phillips added, however, that de-scheduling cannabis will not “suddenly erase” the “generations and generations of systemic racism” in America’s financial institutions, business marketplace, and criminal justice system, nor the consequences that has wrought on Black and Brown communities.

An example of the work that remains, she said, is making sure “that all people are treated fairly by financial institutions so that they can get the funding for their businesses” to, hopefully, create not just another industry, but “really a better industry” that from the outset is focused on “equity” and “access.”

Policy wonks should be sure to visit the festival, too. “We have a really terrific lineup in our policy pavilion,” Phillips said. “A lot of our heavy hitters from our advocacy committee will be presenting programming.”

“On Saturday there is a really strong federal marijuana reform panel that is being led by Maritza Perez Medina from the Drug Policy Alliance,” she said. “So that’s going to be a terrific discussion” that will also feature “representation from the Veterans Cannabis Coalition.”

“We also have a really interesting talk being led by the Law Enforcement Action Partnership about conservatives, cops, and cannabis,” Phillips added.

Cannabis and the LGBTQ community

“I think what’s so interesting about LGBTQIA+ culture and the cannabis community are the parallels that we’ve seen in the movements towards legalization,” Phillips said.

The fight for LGBTQ rights over the years has often involved centering personal stories and personal experiences, she said. “And that really, I think, began to resonate, the more that we talked about it openly in society; the more it was something that we started to see on television; the more it became a topic in youth development and making sure that we’re raising healthy children.”

Likewise, Phillips said, “we’ve seen cannabis become more of a conversation in mainstream culture. We’ve heard the stories of people who’ve had veterans in their families that have used cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals, the friends or family members who’ve had cancer that have turned to CBD or THC so they could sleep, so they could eat so they could get some level of relief.”

Stories about cannabis have also included accounts of folks who were “arrested when they were young” or “the family member who’s still locked up,” she said, just as stories about LGBTQ people have often involved unjust and unnecessary suffering.

Not only are there similarities in the socio-political struggles, Phillips said, but LGBTQ people have played a central role pushing for cannabis legalization and, in fact, in ushering in the movement by “advocating for HIV patients in California to be able to access cannabis’s medicine.”

As a result of the queer community’s involvement, she said, “the foundation of cannabis legalization is truly patient access and criminal justice reform.”

“LGBTQIA+ advocates and cannabis advocates have managed to rein in support of the majority of Americans for the issues that they find important,” Phillips said, even if, unfortunately, other movements for bodily autonomy like those concerning issues of reproductive justice “don’t see that same support.”

(Editor’s note: Tickets are still available for the National Cannabis Festival, with prices starting at $55 for one-day general admission on Friday through $190 for a two-day pass with early-entry access. The Washington Blade, one of the event’s sponsors, will host a LGBTQIA+ Lounge and moderate a panel discussion on Saturday with the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.)

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Cynthia Erivo to be honored at LA LGBT Center Gala

This year’s gala features a special musical performance by pop trio MUNA, who will receive the Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts



Cynthia Erivo performs "Alfie" for Dionne Warwick at the 46th Kennedy Center Honors (Screenshot/YouTube CBS)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles LGBT Center, the world’s largest queer-serving nonprofit organization, announced Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress, singer, songwriter and producer Cynthia Erivo will be honored with the Schrader Award at this year’s Center Gala on May 18, 2024.

A global sensation and proud queer woman, Erivo will be recognized for her stellar achievements in entertainment and activism championing the LGBTQ+ community. 

“I’m thrilled to continue my support for the Los Angeles LGBT Center—an organization that does so much for our community,” Erivo said. “I can’t wait to celebrate with my fellow presenters and honorees, and of course, our queer family in LA.”

Mickalene Thomas, considered one of the most influential visual artists of our time, will be honored with this year’s Vanguard Award. ​​Thomas is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist whose work has yielded widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. An out lesbian, she’s recognized for her advocacy and commitment to intersecting complexities of Black and female identity within the Western canon.

“It’s an honor to be recognized alongside Cynthia and so many other talented members of our community,” said Thomas. “I’m excited to kick off an incredible Pride season in LA with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.”

This year’s gala will also feature a special musical performance by power pop trio MUNA, who will receive the Leslie Jordan Award for Excellence in the Arts. 

“We are facing unprecedented attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, which means the Center’s work is more urgent than ever,” said the organization’s CEO, Joe Hollendoner. “Now is the time to strengthen our support for the movement and celebrate with fierce, radical joy.”

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