Christopher Street West (CSW) has enlisted Craig Bowers to raise money for the organization’s annual L.A. Pride parade and festival in an exclusive three-year contract that, according to a report in Wehoville.com, appears to violate state law and may also constitute a conflict of interest.
Bowers—who is both a long-time business partner of CSW Chair Chris Classen and a member of the organization’s Emeritus Board— will allegedly earn a 20 percent commission on all sponsorship revenue, per the terms of his contract. From this year’s event in West Hollywood, which is slated for June 9 and 10, Bowers stands to earn a sum in the low six-figures.
At issue is Bowers’ continued business partnership with Classen in an events and marketing firm called Incluence, which is also the sole contractor used by CSW to procure sponsors and elicit talent for the L.A. Pride Parade and Festival. The commissioned fundraising aspect of this arrangement appears to violate California state law, which prohibits “self-dealing” transactions—defined as those in which one or more of a nonprofit’s directors has a vested financial interest, an analysis by the site concludes.
Questions have also been raised concerning Bowers’ membership with CSW’s Emeritus Board, a “lifetime advisory position” that, considering his financial stake in the organization’s fundraising activities, may constitute a conflict of interest. Additionally, it seems Bowers has not registered with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts—a requirement for both nonprofit organizations and individuals paid to raise money on their behalf.
Legal questions aside, the ethical standards set by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Council of Nonprofits both explicitly bar organizations from offering commission payments for fundraising. CSW is further beset by its long history of scandals that have involved ethical breaches, strained relations with the local LGBTQ community, and questionable financial dealings.
Asked for comment, Classen told WEHOville that his business partnership with Bowers in Incluence has not changed. On the threat of a possible lawsuit, he said: “I’m not a nonprofit attorney.”
Classen and Bowers were last scrutinized for their handling of the 2016 L.A. Pride Festival, which they turned into what was popularly called the “gay Coachella.” Ticket prices were hiked while programming for transgender people and lesbians was slashed (and partially restored)—prompting protests and boycotts that are believed to account, at least in part, for costing CSW more than $400,000 in lost revenue.
In spite of the opprobrium directed at the organization and its leadership, tax records show CSW earned $827,710 in “gifts, grants, and contributions” that year. This would entitle Bowers to a potential $165,000 payout.
The City of West Hollywood is not a sponsor of L.A. Pride or CSW, though it does incur expenses on behalf of the organization: hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees, security and sanitation fees are waived.
No action or investigation has been undertaken by West Hollywood’s City Manager or the City Council as a result of the WeHoville story, according to sources. West Hollywood City Council members John Duran and John D’Amico have since 2013 been tasked with examining CSW issues as they arise.
Larry Block, a business owner and former candidate for West Hollywood City Council posted a comment on Wehoville: “Sadly I have to ask if any of the city council members are aware of this contract and events that led up to this article exposing the ripoff.”
CSW, when asked for comment and whether CSW’s board was required to authorize the contract, effectively had no comment, telling Los Angeles Blade that “more information will be revealed at a later date.”
Following this year’s Pride events, many hope the inauguration of installation of CSW Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore on July 1, 2018 will lead to changes in the organization. Cacciatore becomes CSW’s first paid, full-time Executive Director.
Publisher note: Los Angeles Blade is a 2018 sponsoring newspaper of LA Pride.
The pleasures of Palm Springs Pride are many
PALM SPRINGS – There is, of course, the obvious element – a strong sense of shared community with hundreds of fellow LGBTQ+ people, living our lives and taking a moment to celebrate all the things that make us both unique and essential within the totality of American culture – that marks any Pride event across the globe; but there’s something special, dare we even say “magical”, about the vibe in this desert city’s timelessly elegant approach to the occasion.
It’s difficult, in fact, to describe the blend of progressive modern sensibility and aspirational small-town idealism that defines the experience. Though Palm Springs is a long-established oasis for Angelenos seeking an escape from the big-city intensity that governs their daily lives, it’s also a comparatively modest municipality in which queer culture interacts with quotidian practicality on a regular basis. That means, for the purposes of Pride, that the city comes together as a unified voice to assert not only the validity of queer experience, but the inextricable part it plays in the daily life of the community – a welcome and valued part of the diverse and inclusive environment in one of Southern California’s most iconic destinations.
This year’s festivities were no exception. Whether it’s because, coming on the cusp of a crucial midterm election, Palm Springs Pride represents an eleventh-hour throw-down against the Trump-ist forces that threaten to undermine most of the hard-won freedoms we’ve come to take for granted, or because it reminds us of the deep well of allied support that exists around our struggle to break free of the stigma and repression of the past, the vibe at this year’s 36th annual festival was a heartening dose of positivism – an unequivocally welcome counterpoint to the worst-case scenarios and doom-laden prognostications dominating our current cultural discourse.
The sense of enthusiastic solidarity that permeated the event can be attributed, at least in part, to the heavy participation of local merchants and organizations – something that is part of any Pride celebration, perhaps, but here taken to a level which made a smalltown festival feel as if it were happening in a major metropolitan hub.
With over 150 exhibitors, there was much to do, see, and sample from the vendors, artists and craftspeople, non-profits, and food and beverage providers on hand; deployed in booths, outdoor lounges, and food trucks across several blocks of the city’s classic downtown corridor on Palm Canyon Drive, these representatives of the community ensured there was no shortage of activity to keep visitors entertained between the weekend’s plethora of musical performances and other scheduled events.
Pride flags, buttons, gear, and other queer-affirming merchandise were available everywhere; opportunities to interact with local organizations – from nudist recreation clubs to live theatre companies to anti-bullying advocacy and support groups – were plentiful; if you were in search of a monkeypox or flu vaccination, those services were available, too, along with plentiful information and resources around other LGBTQ+ health and wellness concerns.
In addition, the location allowed for numerous stores and restaurants lining the streets of the Pride venue – many of them on the Palm Springs “must do” list for tourists and locals alike – to remain open for business, offering full access without even having to leave the festival’s “Event Zone.”
All of this helped to create a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming atmosphere in which all the colors, sights, and sounds of Pride were on full and constant display – an environment where everyone could feel seen, supported, and appreciated, from out and proud members of the LGBTQ+ community to allies and family, or anywhere in between.
That’s not to say there wasn’t a keen awareness at Palm Springs Pride of the precarious edge on which our queer future teeters. Though the atmosphere within the festival was focused on celebration, there was an aura of grim-but-determined battle-readiness that became most evident, perhaps, in the cheers of support bestowed on openly gay US Congressional candidate Will Rollins by the tightly-packed crowd of spectators as he marched in Sunday morning’s parade.
Alan Uphold, a relative newcomer to Palm Springs who relocated from Los Angeles with husband Jeff Olde just before the pandemic, told the Blade he believed the sense of political urgency was sparked by the recent redistricting process that made the city part of a very “red” political region. “Because of redistricting,” he observed, “Palm Springs was lumped in with the more conservative areas to the west of us that are currently represented by one of the most corrupt, anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive freedom, January 6th-denying members in Congress. There’s a real sense of stress here, mixed with cautious optimism that Palm Springs voters could help Will Rollins win, because we CAN NOT be represented by a radical MAGA extremist like Calvert.”
Eva L, a festival attendee from Coachella who told the Blade she came to march with Rollins, also expressed frustration over the redistricting. “I can’t believe residents and politicians in Palm Springs just rolled over and didn’t object to it. Being represented by Calvert is a setback to the peaceful haven that is our community. I think we should demand to be reincorporated. So, I’m here in part just to support Will and hope for the best on Tuesday.”
There were voices in the crowd, too, that served as reminders that – even at Pride – not everyone is on board with progressive ideas about LGBTQ+ acceptance. Roberta C, who was wearing a Bianco for Sheriff campaign badge, told us she doesn’t understand why people need Pride in Palm Springs. “You guys have it easy now – and I realize that can change – but I’m here to be with my nephew who thinks he might be transgender. I’m confused because he’s going to become a woman and says he’s a lesbian. He insists on being called ‘they’.” The Blade offered to provide contact information for Trevor Project as she walked away, wiping a tear from her face as she said with cracking voice, “It’s all too much for me.”
Still, the overall mood of the crowd was festive throughout the weekend, with many people overheard saying it was the best Pride they’ve seen in recent memory. One attendee, Carlos Hernandez, who was visiting Palm Springs and happened upon the event by accident, told us “I can’t believe my luck! Be always wanted to attend Pride in the states and it’s just hard to believe how joyous this day has been so far.”
“Joyous” is, in fact, the word we would also use to describe the occasion, which was ultimately a triumphant declaration of how far we’ve come as a queer community coupled with a fierce recognition of how far we have still to go. It’s that heady mix of emotions that made Palm Springs Pride less remarkable, perhaps, for its party atmosphere and high-voltage entertainment – though those were undeniably part of the event’s success – than for the thousands of little moments, powerful and personal, experienced by those who were there.
Uphold perhaps encapsulated the resonant magic of this phenomenon.
“The thing that Jeff and I love about Palm Springs Pride is that even though the event attracts more than 125,000, it still feels like a smalltown festival,” he told us. “I especially like that the parade features local high school bands and students from local high school students all across the Coachella Valley.”
“When we attended Pride celebrations 25 years ago in WeHo, it was practically an act of subversion and defiance just to show up. That’s why, every year, I get really emotional just seeing these high school kids marching in a Pride parade,” he added.
This weekend, get your Pride on in Palm Springs
This year’s Pride carries on that tradition with all the colorful, pedestrian-friendly festivities we’ve come to know, love, and expect
PALM SPRINGS – It must be said that there are perks to being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and living in Los Angeles.
No, we’re not talking about the plethora of cultural, arts, and entertainment events that take place in our city, or the close proximity to Hollywood and all the glitz and glamour that entails, or the privilege of having WeHo, one of the great queer meccas, right at our doorstep.
We’re not talking about the progressive attitudes and politics that keep us insulated – for the moment, anyway – from the regressive conservatism that threatens our hard-won rights and protections across so much of the rest of our country, and even in large swaths of our state. We’re not even talking about the legendary weather.
All of those things and many more make living here a treat, of course; but for many queer Angelenos, one of the best parts of being a resident is having the option of a weekend escape to Palm Springs – and that becomes an even greater pleasure in November, when the desert city turns even more rainbow-colored than usual for its annual Pride Celebration – which launched a weekend of fun events last night with a dance party in the streets of the already-iconic, newly-dubbed Arenas District.
Since the first Palm Springs Pride was launched in 1986 (it was billed as “Sizzle”), the local LGBTQ+ community has come together to celebrate and to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. Incorporated in 1997 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the festival has grown over the years into a multi-day event that is one of the city’s – and the entire Coachella Valley’s – biggest annual highlights.
This year’s Pride carries on that tradition with all the colorful, pedestrian-friendly festivities we’ve come to know, love, and expect. Highlights of the weekend include:
- An event zone including multiple stages on Arenas Rd, the new city park, Tahquitz Way, and Palm Canyon Drive.
- Alcoholic beverages available for purchase inside the festival (no alcohol is permitted beyond the designated event zone).
- Over 150 exhibitors, non-profit organizations, food trucks, fair food, and beverage vendors.
- A diverse array of artists, entertainers, outdoor beverage lounges with premium cocktails, wine, and festive food purveyors – along with various items for purchase, including jewelry, snacks, and sweets.
- Great shopping, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues located along world-famous Palm Canyon Drive.
- An action-packed Children’s Headquarters (CHQ) space for fun, games, and crafts presented by Nissan.
- The Pride Youth Zone, open to those 14 to 21, a safe space for queer youth to hang out and meet others within the Pride Festival. Featuring continuous entertainment and activities, free food and drink, youth-only confidential testing, drag and make-up fun, safe sex information, and shade from the sun. All youth are embraced. Presented by US Bank and hosted by Safe Schools Desert Cities, all youth are embraced.
- A continuous slate of musical performances and dancing, with headliners Todrick Hall (Saturday night) and Pussy Riot (Sunday night) as highlights and a host of other exciting artists – including Tanzer, Polartropica, Tolliver, Betty, and Ballet Folklorico Proyeto Trans Latina, among many others – scheduled across three stages within the festival zone.
- The colorful Pride Parade, where thousands of spectators can gather under Palm Springs’ famous crystal blue skies and sunshine to cheer and support local organizations, activists, and themed floats along historic Palm Canyon Drive.
Yes, there’s a lot to do, but a visit to the Palm Springs Pride website can help you sort out the where, when, and who of it all in a few short clicks. You can even download it to your phone as an app for quick and easy access to schedule information once you’re inside the event.
The festivities last through Sunday night, which means there’s still plenty of time to throw on your best Pride gear, get in the car, and make that commute to the desert before it’s all over. If you’re on a budget (and with inflation as it is, who isn’t?), the best news might just be that the festival is a free community event – though it should be noted that gate donations are being accepted at the entry points to help keep Pride free for everyone to attend.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your Pride on!
Long Beach Pride parade & festival July 8th-10th
The theme is ‘Many voices-one spirit, marking three decades of the annual third largest Pride in California celebrating the LGBTQ+ community
LONG BEACH – This weekend marks the in-person return of Long Beach Pride after the coronavirus pandemic had halted previous celebrations. The celebration’s theme this year is “Many voices-one spirit,” marking three decades that the annual three-day festival, parade and teen pride- the third largest Pride festival and parade in California, celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.
This year, in addition to the stages and musical entertainment, organizers will be creating multiple activations and attractions encompassing the diversity and interests of Long Beach’s LGBTQ+ community.
Elsa Martinez, the president of the Board of Long Beach Pride was a guest on KTLA’s Morning News Thursday to discuss the upcoming weekend festival which kicks off Friday.
For more information visit https://longbeachpride.com/
Hundreds attend 4th annual South LA Pride celebration
Hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson & Herb Wesson, this year’s family-friendly celebration was a “Pride Picnic”
LOS ANGELES – Hundreds attended the 4th annual South LA Pride celebration on Jul. 1 at Norman O. Houston Park in Baldwin Hills. Hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson, this year’s family-friendly celebration was a “Pride Picnic” meant to bring together South LA’s LGBTQ community and their allies for a culturally relevant pride celebration.
In addition to Harris-Dawson and Wesson, this year saw the most Black elected officials ever at a pride celebration in Los Angeles including Congresswoman Karen Bass, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Senator Sydney Kamlager, and more.
Journalist and advocate Jasmyne Cannick chaired the planning committee which included a host of community organizations.
The 2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic was sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Providence, FOX, AEG, and the LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department.
For more information, please visit southlapride.com.
EN VIDEO: Marchas del orgullo LGBTQ+ en Colombia
Se realizaron celebraciones en Bogotá, Medellín y Pereira
Pride in London celebrates 50, Heartstopper cast members troll protestors
“People in this community have been able to be open & successful, thriving – but also recognise that we can’t be complacent” ~ London’s Mayor
LONDON – Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in London, the first was led by the Gay Liberation Front in 1972. According to the BBC more than a million people thronged the streets of the UK’s capital city ranking it as one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in Europe.
In a Sunday interview with BBC Radio, London’s Pride director Chris Joell-Deshields said it was important as it provided a great level of visibility for LGBTQ+ rights.
“We’re able to provide that form of visibility, unity, quality, that the world can see and it sends a message of solidarity to those persons who may be thinking ‘I can’t be open’, ‘I can’t be visible or I’ll be prosecuted in my country,” he said.
“The battles have not all been won. Yes we’ve had some magnificent achievements, whether or not that’s equal marriage, the repeal of section 28, the lifting of the ban of homosexuals and lesbians in the military, but we’ve still got a journey to go,” he told BBC Radio.
“Every day we’re continuing to have to fight for our trans people and making it a fair life for them. We’re still having to fight for those around the world who live in countries where they can’t be themselves,” Joell-Deshields added.
Reflecting on the masses gathered at Traflagar Square Joell-Deshields noted:
“Yesterday when we were in Trafalgar Square, and we were chanting ‘trans rights are human rights’, we were pushing that so that volume of noise was heard at Downing Street and beyond, to the millions or people on the footprint and thousands on the parade.
“That sends a powerful message to politicians and others that we’re here, we’re proud and loud, and we’re going to continue to fight.
“And there’s the next generation coming along that we need to pass the mantel to. We want them to understand that the fight is not won, we have to continue and the pride platform is a great platform to do that.”
Echoing Joell-Deshields, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who was in attendance Saturday told PinkNewsUK the LGBTQ+ community and allies “can’t be complacent” in the fight for equality.
The Mayor stressed that it was important to celebrate the hard won rights that the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has fought for over the last 50 years including the “end of Section 28”, the introduction of same sex marriage and the approval of “laws to protect this community.”
He then pivoted and warned there is still a “lot of campaigning” to be done in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ venue in Oslo, Norway as well as attacks against the trans community in the UK.
“People in this community have been able to be open and successful, thriving – but also recognise that we can’t be complacent,” Khan said. “There is still a lot of campaigning to be done.”
He continued: “This time last week we saw in Oslo members of this community being attacked – two being killed, many others being injured.
“We’ve seen trans people in this country being used as pawns by politicians and others in a culture war.
“So of course, we’ve got to continue protesting, continue campaigning, continue trying to make progress but also celebrate the progress we’ve made,” the mayor said.
Joining in to march in parade were cast members of the Netflix hit LGBTQ+ drama series ‘Heartstopper’ including lead actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke, and castmates Jenny Walser, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell.
Alice Oseman the author, illustrator, screenwriter, and executive producer of Heartstopper tweeted:
At one point in the parade the cast stopped and trolled some anti-LGBTQ+ street pastors spouting inflammatory hate speech. Actors Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring and Sebastian Croft who plays Ben Hope, can be seen jumping up and down dancing as they displayed their non-verbal disapproval of the protestors bullhorn-delivered messaging.
Kit Connor who plays Nick Nelson noted in a Twitter post:
uhhh I was videoing and screaming at them but please don’t be mistaken, it wasn’t ’Kit Connor and the rest of the cast’, it was @joelocke03 and @SebastianCroft front and centre. Please give them the credit for doing something so powerful. https://t.co/SjvJFCHwKD— Kit Connor (@kit_connor) July 2, 2022
A video, shared on Twitter by Sky News journalist Scott Beasley, showed the actors waving the middle finger and loudly singing along to Whitney Houston’s hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in front of the street preachers.
PinkNewsUK reported that elsewhere in the parade, Connor carried Locke on his back as they walked along the parade route behind a giant Pride flag. The scene was very reminiscent of a Heartstopper doodle that Alice Oseman created for Pride in 2019 that depicted Nick carrying Charlie, who was wearing a colourful flag, on his back.
happy pride month from me & the Heartstopper boys!! 🌈— Alice Oseman Updates (@AliceOseman) June 4, 2019
(I have lots of time and energy to draw pride art this year and I am so excited!!!!!) pic.twitter.com/wqTValTBLl
Locke told the BBC that this was his first Pride ever and said it was “such an honour” to be celebrating “being queer when the world might not be so accepting”.
“It’s very, very surreal for me,” he said.
South LA Pride is back! Queer BIPOC artists to headline celebration
LA Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson & Herb Wesson set to host 4th annual celebration. Congresswoman Karen Bass scheduled to speak
LOS ANGELES – South LA Pride is back after a two-year break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For its 4th celebration, South LA Pride will host a free community picnic at Norman O. Houston Park (4800 La Brea Ave.) on Friday, July 1 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The event will be headlined by local queer Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists including the Angela Davis of hip hop MEDUSA, the TRANS CHORUS OF LOS ANGELES, and the winner of HBO Max’s season one voguing reality competition television series “Legendary” JAMARI AMOUR JACOBS with the House of Marc Jacobs.
A full list of performers can be found at southlapride.com.
Free park & ride lots will be available for the public at The Stocker Building (3731-3761 Stocker Blvd.), Park Hills Community Church (5247 Overdale Dr.), and Windsor Elementary School (5215 Overdale Dr.).
In addition to the live performances, special guests, including Congressmember KAREN BASS, will be in attendance.
Co-hosted by Los Angeles Councilmembers MARQUEECE HARRIS-DAWSON and HERB WESSON, South LA Pride will host a free outdoor community picnic featuring a live DJ, games, drag performances, food vendors, and live performances from popular LA-based BIPOC queer entertainers. A free family-friendly event, South LA Pride, is scheduled to kick off the Independence Day weekend on Friday, July 1, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Norman O. Houston Park, 4800 South La Brea. More information at
Journalist, political strategist, and advocate JASMYNE CANNICK has been announced as the 2022 Chair of South LA Pride.
South LA Pride 2022 HONOREES include: Bienestar, Black Lesbians United (BLU), Community Coalition, Compton Pride, Independent Development Programs, Invisible Men, LA Black LGBTQ Movement, Los Angeles Legends Football, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Minority AIDS Project, Pride and Promote, So Cal’s Men’s Club and the Unique Women’s Coalition.
Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and drink or can opt to purchase food and drink from the onsite food truck vendors. A limited number of barbecue pits are available in the park and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Onsite parking is limited, so public transportation and ride-sharing are encouraged. Shuttles will be available between local parking lots and the event site. More information will be available online and on social media.
The 2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic is sponsored in part by Community Coalition, Providence, FOX, and AEG.
Additional details about South LA Pride will be made available on social media. Follow the hashtag #SouthLAPride on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram, or visit southlapride.com for the latest updates.
South LA Pride
A free, family-friendly community picnic hosted by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride in South LA.
Friday, July 1, 2022
3 p.m.–10 p.m.
Norman O. Houston Park
4800 S. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles 90008
Attendees are encouraged to pack their picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs.
For more information visit:
Hashtag to follow #SouthLAPride
Boys & Girls Club of Malibu encourages youth embrace diversity for Pride
“Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate differences in others & themselves, as our differences- make the world so beautiful”
MALIBU, Ca. – Throughout the year, the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) is focused on programs that highlight the importance of inclusion of all people. But, during the month of June, BGCM Pride activities have encouraged Club youth to embrace diversity.
According to staff it is BGCM’s objective to establish safe spaces and ensure that all are not just invited, but belong. Pride is both a joyful celebration and a serious reminder that all people deserve the same rights, regardless of how one identifies.
“Our youth have been participating in conversations around the importance of allyship. They are identifying and finding ways to rectify systematic disparities for those part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and encouraging others to have Pride in who they are and empowering themselves to be advocates for others,” said Tyler Hawkins, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director of Boys & Girls Club of Malibu. “Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate the differences in others and themselves, as our differences are what make the world so beautiful.”
Pride Month Programming at Boys & Girls Club of Malibu includes:
- “Fireside chats” talking about how to define and discuss what pride is and explain why we celebrate. Children are encouraged to think about who they are as a person and find pride in who they are. The goal is to teach the youth about acceptance and love for all people.
- Club kids participated in art projects related to Pride, such as creating their own flags which could be in any color or design that resonated with them and they wrote at least one thing on each line that they are proud of themselves about.
- Club youth also had the opportunity to participate in a reading of “Love Makes the Family” by Sophia Beer. The book talks about how families look different and how we all come from different backgrounds, and we should embrace what makes us unique.
- Club teens also learned how to advocate for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and researched the different ways that can be done. The students were provided with information about how the LGTBQIA+ community are impacted negatively by limited access to resources, discrimination, stereotypes and more, and then students created posters to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and discussed how they can address issues for that community.
- Pride Month at BGCM wrapped with a celebration for the kids to feel proud about who they are as individuals. They dressed up in whatever makes them feel good about themselves and listened to music, danced and enjoyed some colorful shaved ice.
- The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu also has a clinician-staffed Wellness Center that has helped many Club youth and their families. Since 2017, the BGCM Wellness Center has served 5,000+ individuals and families, at no cost. The Center provides services such as mental health counseling, trauma-informed case management, social and emotional learning, healthcare assistance, parenting support groups, student workshops and much more. Any member of the Malibu community can access the Wellness Center – from students and teachers to senior citizens and commuters that work in Malibu, but don’t have residency there. The Center’s services are also offered in Spanish, which is crucial considering around 20% of its clients are Spanish speaking.
Four members of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu expressed what this type of environment and learning programs meant.
“To me, Pride is celebrating who you are and feeling safe to come out,” said Briana L., 7th grade. A fellow 7th grader, Delilah M. said, “It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities to make them feel safe and included in their community.”
Older students such as Emily P., a high school junior and high school senior Aiza R. noted the impact on their lives and others. “To me, Pride means being happy that you can express who you are. It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities because many have been oppressed for so long, so it’s important to take time to celebrate uniqueness and recognize precious struggles,” said Aiza.
Emily chimed in saying, “Pride means being proud of who you are. Uplifting people from diverse backgrounds is important because it breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for relationships that can help people grow and be who they are.”
South American LGBTQ+ activists mark Pride Month
The Movement for Homosexual Integration & Liberation & Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration- 100,000 people participated
SANTIAGO, Chile – Activists in Chile and across Latin America on June 25 took to the streets to celebrate Pride Month.
The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) and Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration in Santiago, the country’s capital, in which more than 100,000 people participated. March organizers demanded the repeal of Article 365 of the Chilean Penal Code that criminalizes same-sex couples.
Movilh member Felipe Castillo explained “Article 365 of the Penal Code stigmatizes and discriminates against young homosexuals, as it sets 18 years as the age of sexual consent, when for heterosexuals it is 14 years.”
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked Chile to repeal Article 365. The country has committed to eliminate the law in an agreement it signed with Movilh in 2016 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Chile’s marriage equality law took effect on March 10, the day before President Gabriel Boric took office.
New Colombia president a sign of hope for LGBTQ, intersex activists
LGBTQ and intersex activists in Colombia are looking forward to what will be a new political era after former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro won the second round of the country’s presidential elections on June 19. Petro, along with his running mate, Vice President-elect Francia Márquez, who will be the country’s first vice president of African descent, will be the first leftist executives in Colombian history.
A source in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, told the Washington Blade that Petro during the campaign pledged to fight violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to implement policies “for the reaffirmation of gender identities and sexual orientation without barriers for all non-binary people and transgender people in Colombia.”
Manuel Velandia, a long-time Colombian LGBTQ and intersex activist who organized the country’s first demonstration in support of queer rights 39 years ago, told the Blade that authorities sent a contingent of 100 police officers and “we — 29 gay men, two lesbian women and a transsexual woman — marched.”
“The march could take place because in Colombia it was a crime to be homosexual and we achieved the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Penal Code,” said Velandia.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Bogotá on June 25 to demand a nationwide LGBTQ and intersex strategy “as a measure to guarantee the rights of this population, combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics (OSIEGCS), and eliminate the barriers that persist for the materialization of the rights acquired by judicial means, according to national and international human rights standards.”
Velandia explained to the Blade that activists are “writing a document of what we expect from the next government from president’s inauguration and during the first 100 days.”
“We now are focusing on the most priority issues,” said Velandia. “We think that a law that comes out of a ministry is not as important as a national law passed by Congress.”
Additional Pride marches will take place in Bogotá in the coming days.
Peruvian activists hold country’s largest-ever Pride march
The largest Pride march in Peru’s history took place on June 25 in Lima, the country’s capital.
“It has been the largest march in the 20 years of history of this massive activity,” activist Jorge Apolaya told the Blade. “[It was a] joyful rebellion, as we call it.”
Apoyala pointed out activists took to the streets because “it is necessary” for Peru and President Pedro Castillo’s government to act on “the demands of the LGBT population, the gender identity law, the equal marriage law that are pending before respective committees in the Congress of the Republic and generate the necessary discussions so that they can be debated.”
According to the activist, “the country continues to remain at the back door with respect to respect for LGBT human rights in the world, but not even in the world, but at the Latin American level.”
Protests prompt cancellation of many Ecuador Pride events
Protests that have taken place across Ecuador for more than two weeks prompted activists to suspend most activists and demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ and intersex rights that had been scheduled to take place this month.
“There are seven Prides that have already been suspended out of those that were scheduled,” Diane Rodríguez, a prominent Ecuadorian activist, told the Blade.
Rodríguez noted two marches in the cities of Santo Domingo and Loja were able to take place on Saturday.
Roe ruling outrage marks NYC Pride
Tens of thousands protested Roe ruling on Friday night
NEW YORK — New York City Pride, one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, rang in the weekend with equal parts celebration and protest.
Although the annual Pride march was on Sunday, the entire weekend was filled with an outpouring of public anger in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Protesters took to the streets of Manhattan on Friday with an estimated 17,000 people gathering to protest the ruling, which made abortion imminently illegal in roughly half of states. At least 25 people were arrested at the Friday night protests, which spread from Washington Square Park through Midtown to Bryant Park.
In light of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision — which advocates say will harm members of the LGBTQ+ community — NYC Pride announced that Planned Parenthood would kick off Sunday’s Pride march as the first group to walk. In their statement, NYC Pride said that “[The Supreme Court’s] dangerous decision puts millions in harm’s way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.”
“As millions gather for LGBTQIA+ Pride this weekend in New York City and cities across the country, our voices will be heard — for the LGBTQ people impacted and the millions with whom we stand in solidarity,” read the statement. “Pride was born of protest and will always be a space to fight injustice and discrimination. Join us as we advocate for bodily autonomy at this year’s NYC Pride March.”
In addition to the march; NYC Pride had a full slate of Pride programming during the week leading up to it, including Pride Island at Governor’s Island, Youth Pride and a human rights conference. Queer clubs and bars throughout the city hosted various Pride-themed events throughout the weekend.
NYC Pride was not the only organization mobilizing this weekend.
Reclaim Pride NYC hosted a “Queer Liberation March for Trans and BIPOC Freedom, Reproductive Justice, and Bodily Autonomy,” in partnership with pro-choice groups and community organizations.
“The [Queer Liberation March] is the annual people’s protest march without corporate funding; corporate floats; politicians’ grandstanding; or police control or involvement,” said the Reclaim Pride Coalition.
Although Pride originated from a moment of violent tension between police and LGBTQ+ people at the Stonewall Inn, officers on Sunday carefully patrolled the entire NYC Pride march route. When the apparent sound of gunshots nearly sparked a stampede in Washington Square Park during the parade, the New York Police Department said there were “no shots fired,” later confirming that the sounds were due to fireworks being set off at the park.
The Washington Post noted fears of violence against the queer community circulated at Pride celebrations across the country.
Police also responded to reports of a shooting at San Francisco Pride, although no suspects or witnesses were found. In light of the epidemic of gun violence — from last month’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016 that left 49 people dead — a fear of active shooters and widespread public anger at the prospect of less rights characterized Pride’s usually jubilant atmosphere.
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