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LA Pride Celebration

This year, L.A. Pride invites you to “#JUSTBE”

You be you and just have fun

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It might seem a little early in the year to be thinking about Pride, but that doesn’t mean the folks at Christopher Street West aren’t hard at work laying out plans for this summer’s festival.

They’ve just launched their campaign for L.A. Pride 2018, which will take place June 9 – 10 in West Hollywood Park – and with it they’ve announced that the theme for this year’s event is #JUSTBE.

According to says Shayne Thomas, CSW Board Member and Marketing and Communications Lead, “Everyone experiences Pride a little bit differently – and we wouldn’t want it any other way because that’s precisely what makes our community tick. #JUSTBE is a deeply personal invitation for self-expression that, we hope, will empower members of the LGBTQ+ community – as well as our very important straight allies – to embrace, embody, and express what Pride truly means to them in the rawest, most authentic ways possible.”

Thomas goes on to say that the inspiration for this year’s theme came from looking at real-life moments from past Pride events. “One day we were just looking through a bunch of photos from past years, and it quickly became clear that there was an incredible story right there in front of our eyes, one that captured the truest spirit of Pride in all its beautiful, vibrant, and ever-so-colorful simplicity.”

It also grew out of CSW’s new mission statement, drawn up a little over a year ago: “Our mission is to create safe and inclusive spaces for self-expression, inspire an authentic sense of activism in the continued fight for equality, and celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ community and its allies.”

Throngs assembled at the end of 2017 LA Pride March and #ResistMarch. (Photo by #ResistMarch)

Chris Classen, CSW Board President , says, “For us this year, It was important to tap into our values and remind the LGBTQ+ community that our sole objective, as a Board, is to ensure they have the most amazing L.A. Pride experience possible. L.A. Pride isn’t L.A. Pride without the marvelous people who make up our uniquely diverse community. #JUSTBE is a testament to that.”

#JUSTBE is meant to be a recognition of the diversity that makes up the community – and a reminder that there’s not just a single way to celebrate pride.

As stated on the official Pride website, “Pride means different things to different people. It’s about being a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community; standing up for equality and human rights; being role models for younger generations; and, for many, it’s about simply looking forward to an annual celebration where we put our differences aside and stand together as one community.”

The statement makes a special point of mentioning the importance of recognizing the history and origins of the festival in relation to the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, calling Pride “an opportunity to commemorate the many brave souls who came before us, who fought day and night for our rights and freedoms – all in the spirit of justice and equality.”

Two years ago, Pride stirred controversy when it rebranded Pride as a “Music Festival,” seeming to target a millennial crowd that did not “inherently understand the historical context of the event.” The move drew criticism from community elders who believed that the important heritage of LGBT Pride was being erased, and that the new focus threatened to minimize the visibility of lesbians, transgender, Latinos, seniors, and members of the leather community. Though CSW responded to the outcry by altering many of their plans and re-incorporating some of the elements that had been removed or rearranged, there had been – for some – a lingering shadow cast over the festival.

A graphic from 2017. (Image courtesy #ResistMarch)

Last year, the festival made history by converting its traditional Pride Parade into the “#Resist March,” a powerful human rights march which drew tens of thousands of protestors to the streets of West Hollywood, joining hundreds of thousands of others in simultaneous events across the country and went a long way towards restoring the good will of many community members towards LA Pride.

With this year’s theme, it’s clear that the festival is making an effort to launch a new era of Pride, in which everyone feels welcome and free to celebrate whatever pride means to them. The previous emphasis on music has been pulled back, with community-building taking a more prominent position in the agenda – announcements of musical acts and other attractions will be rolled out in the coming months, and the website promises “many week-long community events that CSW is busy planning.” The parade will return to its usual route along Santa Monica Boulevard; since CSW states that the #JUSTBE theme will “permeate every element of this year’s Pride festivities,” it will most likely also return to its usual focus as a celebration of LGBTQ+ identity.

Because, of course, the festival also wants you to have a good time. As their website reminds us, Pride is also “a time to let our hair down among friends, family, colleagues, and other like-minded souls and embrace the joy that comes with celebrating the unmatched diversity of our strong, supportive, and caring community.”

The #JUSTBE campaign, designed by Michael Harari, started rolling out March 9 on the newly revamped L.A. Pride website and across L.A. Pride’s social media channels. A social campaign inviting people to be a part of the #JUSTBE movement is in the works as well.

For more information about L.A. Pride, and to learn details about the festival as they become available over the next few months, you can visit the website at https://www.lapride.org/pride-2018/

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Pride Special

Monét X Change joins Kiva to Celebrate Pride

Kiva, the sought-after cannabis brand, is following through once again with their second annual partnership with world famous drag superstar Monét X Change.

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Monét X Change via KIVA

LOS ANGELES – ’Tis the season of rainbow sponsorships. Pride partnerships between companies of all sizes and queer celebrities of all caches abound. In the whirl of Pride collabs, it’s important to know which companies are for real.

Kiva, the sought-after cannabis brand, is following through once again with their second annual partnership with world famous drag superstar Monét X Change. Monét went Live on Kiva’s Instagram Thursday evening, hosting a candid conversation with viewers on Pride, cannabis and how the two are intertwined. 

On her Instagram Live, Monét started off the bat by calling out other companies who “slap on a rainbow” and call it a day. Kiva is not one of those companies. This Pride month, Kiva has made donations to GLAAD and has pledged to continue their involvement and support of the LGBT+ community year-round, something with Monét cited on Live as especially noteworthy.

GLAAD is an internationally recognized LGBT+ organization that works ubiquitously in the worlds of entertainment, news, and digital media to accelerate acceptance and celebrate LGBTQ+ stories.

Monét X Change gained fame on the 10th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she won Miss Congeniality. She went on to win (in a tie) the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Working her way to the top of the industry, she is now regarded as one of the most popular and successful queens to come out of the show, frequently partnering with her pal from New York, Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen.

You can now find Monét everywhere in almost every facet of the entertainment world. Most recently, Monét released “Love Like This” – a beachy bop with a fresh queer Caribbean sound.

Joining Monét’s Kiva live stream was a colorful bunch of up and coming New York queens, including the in-demand Jacklynn Hyde, her leggy New York sister Tina Twirler and the crown-snatching Sabbyiana. 

Back by popular demand, Kiva is relaunching the much asked for Tropical Punch Camino Gummies. These fruity little edibles are a Pride spin-off of Kiva’s popular line of Camino gummies. A light, refreshing edible with 5mg THC per dose perfect for Pride month.

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Events

LA Pride breaks silence announces ‘Thrive with Pride’

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LOS ANGELES – After weeks of ‘stay tuned’ on its website and no real engagement with the media or the LGBTQ community, Christopher Street West Association Inc. the nonprofit organization that produces the annual LA Pride celebration announced its planned June programming for LA Pride 2021 on Thursday.

Pride 2021 activations are themed around the daily reminder to Thrive with Pride.

LA Pride weekend will kick-off on Thursday night, June 10th with a concert exclusively presented by and live streamed on TikTok featuring hyper-pop diva Charli XCX and a showcase of up and coming LGBTQ+ performers across genres. In-person concert opportunities are not available at this time. Fans and followers can follow @tiktokforgood and @lapride on TikTok for updates and advanced promotions. 

Further, a televised special titled “Thrive with Pride Celebration” is set for Saturday, June 12th airing 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT on ABC 7 Los Angeles, the most-watched station in Southern California, will feature special guests, performances and LA Pride honorees. 

“To thrive means to flourish and progress despite the circumstances. Pride this year is a moment for you to stop and breathe,” said Sharon-Franklin Brown, CSW board president. “It’s a moment to remember you’re not just surviving one of the hardest years in recent memory, but growing into your truth. This is why we were so intentional in our planning. We want to bring a moment of celebration, a moment to highlight the community, and an opportunity to give back. If we as a community can come together, even for a moment, to realize we’ve broken down some barriers put on us, it’ll strengthen our resolve to continue tearing more down for those to come after us.” 

“After an unprecedented year of challenge and struggle, I am so pleased that this year’s pride festivities embrace the spirit of the first pride parade and our activist roots,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “By bringing together LGBTQ+ communities from every corner of our City, we will uplift all voices and elevate the important work of the icons of the LGBTQ movement who sacrificed everything in their young lives at the time so we can all celebrate together in 2021. With a mix of virtual and potential in-person events, this year’s festivities will keep our community safe and connected while providing every Angeleno an opportunity to embrace giving and volunteerism.” 

In recognition of the incredibly difficult work Los Angeles social justice and non-profit organizations have put into achieving equity, actionable change and stability, LA Pride will launch a 30-day give back campaign to support these efforts. Pride Makes a Difference will highlight opportunities for Angelenos to sign up to either volunteer, or donate goods and/or money to local organizations in Los Angeles County. Pride Makes a Difference is a new program in conjunction with Big Sunday. As part of these new efforts, drop off locations will be set up all throughout Los Angeles. A list of selected local organizations and drop off sites will be available soon to choose from, as well as the sign-up details and commitment.

“Our utmost priority in whatever we’re doing to celebrate Pride this year ensures safety and follows CDC-approved pandemic guidelines,” continued Brown. “That’s why we’re announcing this programming first. Any potential in-person celebratory activations will be announced at a later date in the coming weeks. The more we put safety first, the more likely we’re able to plan big physical events in the future, including Pride 2022, where we can celebrate who we are, where we came from, and where we need to go.”

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LA Pride Celebration

LA Pride 2021 looks to be virtual with limited in-person events- maybe?

There have not been any announcements for plans for Pride month events in June

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Screenshot as of April 13, 2021 of LA Pride Homepage

LOS ANGELES – The months April and May are usually crunch time in planning for Pride events in any year, however the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has shut down larger scale in-person gatherings as well as restricted smaller events in both outdoor and indoor venues.

This year, however, remains a question mark and so far there’s been no concrete planning announcements.

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that as the state has surpassed a major milestone in the fight against COVID- administering more than 20 million vaccine doses, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, officials intend to fully reopen on June 15.

However, common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings.

All sectors listed in the current Blueprint for a Safer Economy grid may return to usual operations in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. 

Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements.

Pride would fall into the latter category.

A spokesperson for The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health echoed the governor’s announcement but stressed there were science and data driven caveats to modification of the Public Health Order allowing large-scale events and that systems would be required in place to protect the public’s health.

A majority of Pride events in 2020 were either cancelled outright or moved online as California was under strict ‘Stay-At-Home’ orders.

This year, even with the governor’s announcement there have not been any announcements for plans for Pride month events in June. The Blade reached out to the both the City of West Hollywood and Christopher Street West which runs LA Pride seeking information.

In an email, a spokesperson for the City of West Hollywood said that it is anticipated that the West Hollywood City Council will receive an update on programming for the celebration of LGBTQ Pride 2021 at its regular City Council meeting on April 19, 2021.

‘At this time, the City of West Hollywood remains in a declared local emergency in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite extraordinary progress in vaccinations and in opening certain sectors of the economy, COVID-19 community transmission remains a top concern to the City and to local health officials; this year there will be no large in-person gatherings, including the events we typically see in West Hollywood during Pride festivities,” Sheri A. Lunn, the Public Information Officer for City of West Hollywood told the Blade.

“Gov. Newsom’s announcement to fully open its economy is conditioned on the state meeting two criteria: 1) sufficient vaccine supply for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated, and 2) stable and low hospitalization rates. In planning ahead, the City must anticipate shifts in the timing of these policy changes and plan accordingly to ensure the health and safety of residents, business community members, and visitors,” she added.

For Pride 2021, the City of West Hollywood will host its annual One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, which will take place with a series of virtual events that will run from Harvey Milk Day (May 22) through the end of June Pride month (June 30). The City plans to work with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to encourage and promote the efforts of West Hollywood’s business community during Pride season this year to celebrate in accordance to regularly revised guidelines established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

So far there has been no comment nor statements from LA Pride/Christopher Street West nor has the organization returned phone calls from the Blade regarding plans for Pride.

On its website the organization simply says “Stay Tuned.”

The Blade also reached out to several businesses and a couple of LGBTQ organizations, all of which said that there had been no news or announcements for Pride planning as of this week.

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