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LA Pride Celebration

Huge LA Pride bursting with color, fun, families and trans visibility (photos!)

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department could not provide a guesstimate of how many people participated in the LA Pride parade Sunday, perching from balconies, lining the sidewalks and marching down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. The LASD spokesperson said the helicopter was being used for a car chase and apparently WeHo station isn’t exactly proficient with drones.

But to the casual observer, the parade appeared to be biggest, most colorful, the most crowded with welcomed corporate marchers and the most enjoyed by all types of families. Two outstanding themes: incredible trans visibility and no obvious protests of Donald Trump, though the tens of thousands of happy, dancing, marching, hugging and loving LGBT people and allies was a clear affront to the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies.

In fact, other than the appearance of elected officials and political groups such as Stonewall Democratic Club and Equality California, the only really political statement, per se, was [email protected] Coalition founder Bamby Salcedo wearing an orange jail jump suit, followed by a makeshift jail cell and a large contingent condemning ICE detention centers and highlighting the deaths of trans women who died in ICE custody.

In an important show of political and humanitarian unity, Salcedo also carried a sign calling attention to the epidemic of black trans women who have been murdered. Nine black trans women have been murdered in 2019. 

Advocates for women’s rights – including passage of the long dormant Equal Right Amendment – were also represented and appreciated as the Trump administration continues its assault against reproductive rights.

The two messages reached a larger audience this year. For the first time, the parade was broadcast live on KABC7 Eyewitness News and live streamed for an hour after the station returned to regular programming. ABC is owned by Disney, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and always one of the largest favorite contingents in the parade.

But old Disney fans were probably shocked to see a live broadcast of gay men representing The Abbey nearly naked but for their revealing speedos. But KABC did not cut away – in fact the women commentators seemed somewhat giddy by the proudly exposed tight abs. Suddenly out came the fans, as the WeHo temperature heated up, seeming hotter than the low 80s at the time.

Fans screamed “Thank you, Adam Schiff” as Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee investigating the Trump-Russia connection, started on the trek through WeHo. The parade, Schiff told the Los Angeles Blade, “is awesome. It’s so nice to be out here to celebrate all the progress that’s been made and all the progress yet to be done.”

At the earlier news conference, Schiff said: “The march towards full equality for all LGBTQ people has been steady, albeit all too slow. We must keep marching forward for the transgender service member whose courage has been called into question, LGBTQ migrants seeking asylum at our borders…and for so many who are counting on us to speak up.”

Out LA City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell sponsored Jaime Marin and Yolanda Rocha Rito, operators of of Casa Jardín de las Mariposas, a homeless shelter for LGBT individuals in Tijuana, Mexico.

“I invited them here to highlight the fact that the Trump Administration’s policies are hurting this community. Asylum seekers can’t get hearings because he’s so cold-hearted and racist in his policies,” O’Farrell said. “They don’t have the social safety net we have here. The Pride Festival always highlights the fact that there are other places where this community can’t live so authentically and out in the open.”

Jaime Marin works at the Jardín. “Jardín de las Mariposas is a sanctuary shelter for our brothers and sisters in Central America who are fleeing for their countries, afraid for their lives,” said Marin. “We started as a rehab center for the LGBT community, but since the need [for LGBT services] is so big in Tijuana, we had to expand our services.” These services include assistance with the political asylum process, job searching, and acting as a homeless shelter.

Out LA Councilmember Mike Bonin rode on a fire truck, keeping up a tradition started by his late out mentor, LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. LA Controller Ron Galprin—first out gay elected citywide who called for a boycott of hotels owned by the anti-LGBT Sultan of Brunei—rode with his husband Rabbi Zachary Shapiro. Longtime ally City Attorney Mike Feuer, one of the first on the scene at LAX to help after Trump unexpectedly announced his Muslim Ban.

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the first out LGBT person elected to the state Assembly in 1994, continues to receive a huge wave of gratitude.

The West Hollywood City Council, which has sponsored CSW since it moved from Hollywood, always receives applause. West Hollywood Human Services Commission member Jimmy Palmieri, Founder of The Tweakers Project, who coordinates the Pride #Sizzle sober party – also carried a sign calling for an end to trans violence.

Equality California’s contingent was so large, they needed three cars. Out Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara was interviewed by KABC and bisexual Rep. Katie Hill posted several tweets about the fun she had.

And while the news out of New York City notes that the NYPD finally apologized for the police raid that resulted in the Stonewall Uprising, and Sacramento Pride had issues with Sacramento Police marching in uniform – LA Pride welcomed the Fire Department and their families and an FBI contingent from the local LA office, led by Dan Lathan.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti marched with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, noting that the police raids against the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake were two years before the Stonewall Rebellion and now the police chief is walking in the Pride parade with the mayor and Police Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa rode with out former Commissioner Rob Saltzman. . Chief Moore not only posed with other officers but donned a Disney Pride sticker, as well.

That provided some jovial competition between the LAPD and the LASD over which department wore Pride better since Sheriff Alex Villanueva authorized – and wore – a special Pride patch that caught the attention of local media.

Lt. Tonia Martinez was interviewed by a FoxLA reporter about the patch, then sincerely thanked the Sheriff for the significant gesture.

But the LASD outreach went beyond the fun patch. Deputies Aston Guasfall and Elizabeth Castro were handing out trans flags and the back of one of the Sheriff’s cars displayed the trans flag, too.

Watching from a place of honor was Metropolitan Community Church Founder Rev. Troy Perry, co-founder of Christopher Street West with the late Gay Liberation Front leader Morris Kight and the late homeless advocate, Rev. Bob Humphries, with his husband and fellow marriage equality advocate Phillip De Blieck.

“Pride means everything to me,” Perry told the Los Angeles Blade. “We were the first gay pride parade in the world. New York had a demonstration, nothing wrong with that – but we sued the city and had a parade.” This year, Perry was delighted at the participation of “young people [who ought] to be a part of the struggle and this fight too.”

He noted that LA insisted on a parade instead of a demonstration in 1970 to commemorate the year anniversary of Stonewall. “We’ve had all kinds of demonstrations,” he said. “We’re gonna have a parade – this is Hollywood!”

The LAPD told Perry, Kight and Humphries that they’d rather have thieves and burglars march down Hollywood Boulevard instead of homosexuals. CSW sued and two judges ruled in their favor.

Metropolitan Community Church founder Reverend Troy Perry is a founder of Christopher Street West. Here he kicks off the first LA Pride in 1970 on Hollywood Boulevard, where he will be when the event returns there with 2017’s #ResistMarch. (Photo courtesy Troy Perry)

“We only had three floats in the parade,” Perry recalled, but an estimated 1,165 people showed up, many with their dogs, including one marcher with his husky and a sign reading, “We don’t all walk poodles!” Others joined in along the parade route. But at the end of the first parade that June 28, Perry, Carol Shepard, head of L.A. chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, and lesbian activist Kelly Longman sat down on the corner of Las Palmas Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, refusing to move until elected officials talked to them about gay rights.

They were soon arrested for “vicious and malicious blocking of a sidewalk with intent to do harm,” Perry recalled in 2017.  The two women were released but Perry spent the night in jail. After his release, Perry held a 10-day hunger strike at the federal building until City Councilmember Robert Stevenson and his wife Peggy spoke to him and Perry broke his fast.

Forty-nine years later, LA Pride’s response to today’s anti-LGBT environment is color, fun, creativity and alliances with a myriad of businesses that support LGBT equal rights for the community and their diverse employees.

In May 2018, after concerted reporting on the dire condition of CSW as an organization, the Los Angeles Blade posed the question: “Can Estevan Montemayor save LA Pride?”

It appears he and his CSW partner Madonna Cacciatore not only “saved” CSW but raised the bar for LA Pride events to come. Presumably they are preparing an After Action Report on what worked and what didn’t work to provide transparency to their successful strategy.

Christopher Street West Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore, Paula Abdul and Christopher Street West President Estevan Montemayor pose on the Red Carpet on day one of LA Pride at West Hollywood Park on June 7, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Chris Tuite)

One major new factor was opening up a free Pride on the Boulevard as part of the Festival that featured numerous organization booths on Santa Monica Boulevard (the Los Angeles Blade booth attracted more than 8,000 people) outside the traditional tickets-needed Festival. Bienestar conducted free HIV tests; GLSEN promoted safe schools and the too-often ignored bisexual community; Cedars-Sinai Hospital sponsored an interactive health awareness mobile clinic with information about PrEP and offered vaccines for Hepatitis A and meningitis at their the Health and Wellness Village on the Boulevard.

Inside the Festival there were a slew of different exhibits and performances from the artistic Trans Galleria to a stunning performance by Todrick Hall and a soaring kick-off concert by Paula Abdul on Friday night, capped by fireworks.

“I would not be anywhere without this community. The love and support you’ve given me leaves me breathless,” Abdul told her fans.

There was also the Dyke March and a screening of the documentary “5B” about the creation of the AIDS Ward at San Francisco General Hospital in 1983 by nurses who broke the rules and touched their incurable and dying patients.

Saturday night also featured major performances by Rupaul’s Drag Race alum Raja on the MAC Park stage, as well as rapper CupcakKe, Brazilian pop star and global drag sensation Pabllo Vittar, capped off by a concert by superstar Megan Trainor, who honored the trans community, the women’s community and reminded the audience about the importance of enjoying life even though “we are clearly under attack.”

On Sunday, a Tongva Two-Spirit leader offered a blessing and the Trans Chorus offered a song before the official LA Pride kick off, as CSW organizers and the West Hollywood City Council held a news conference to introduce elected officials and the event honorees. “Our city is the seat of LGBT pride for the entire country,” proclaimed out West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Ryan O’Connell—a gay man with cerebral palsy who stars in Netflix’s “Special” who cracked everyone up with unending jokes—and Community Grand Marshal Phill Wilson, Founder of the Black AIDS Institute, and Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Organizational Grand Marshal, also shared a few words.

“I am so proud of our community because we strive to include all of us. We’re not perfect, we’ve never been perfect, but that is our aspiration. We understand that we are great when all of us are included, and we are all diminished when we exclude any one of us,” said Wilson.

“It’s so amazing to have disability finally be a part of the conversation. Being gay and disabled, stories like mine don’t often get told so it means a lot to be at the forefront and celebrating with you this year,” said O’Connell.

“We are here to celebrate our pride in our community, our pride in ourselves as individuals. There are those in our land who want to turn back the clock, who want to re-impose discrimination against us. We’re not going back. We’re not going to tolerate that, and we are going to win,” said Jean.

CSW Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore recognized the eight black transgender women murdered this year and led a moment of silence.

“It’s a testament of our progress that today, instead of fighting division, we stand together in unity,” said CSW President Estevan Montemayor. “We only got this far by marching together side by side, and we must continue to march forward until every LGBTQ person is free from fear and oppression.”

And then #JustUnity hit the road. First the Dykes on Bikes roared up the Boulevard, a stirring annual event that evokes cheers of female power paving the way for all the politicos to follow.

Finally, the Los Angeles LGBT Center hit their mark and sent wave after wave of program staff, participants and their families out to celebrate their 50 year anniversary, including a float of Asian drums heralding their arrival—including just returned AIDS LifeCycle riders, veterans, and members of the Trans Wellness Center, featuring Johanna Padilla, 27, in balloon wings.

And while he has formally retired from heading his Black AIDS Institute, Phill Wilson is not far from the LGBT community’s mind.

Perhaps one of the largest contingents was the Disney Company.

Verizon was a major sponsor

MAC was a big sponsor, too.

Several companies had unique approaches such as having Glitteress, 27, and Hydra, 25, walking the mile and a half stretch in high heels, escorted by Kris Rollins, 34, for Delta Airlines.

“Pose” was a huge hit, especially with their stilt-wearing vogue models.

And then there were the young people, including little Jorge, who his family say “is expressing who he is. We are supporting his choices.”

Here are other LA Pride participants and watchers.

  • Austin Mendoza contributed to this story
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Pride Special

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

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Heartstopper actors troll anti-LGBTQ protestors at Pride in London 2022 (Screenshot/Twitter)

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.”

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

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.

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

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, 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:

 

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.

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.

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Pride Special

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

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Courtesy of South LA Pride

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.

WHAT:

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.

WHEN:

Friday, July 1, 2022

3 p.m.–10 p.m.

WHERE:

Norman O. Houston Park

4800 S. La Brea Avenue

Los Angeles 90008

COST:

Free 

Attendees are encouraged to pack their picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs.

For more information visit:

Southlapride.com

Hashtag to follow #SouthLAPride

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Pride Special

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”

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Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

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.

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

“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.
Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

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.”

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

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.”

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