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LA Pride will leave West Hollywood

City Council is seeking proposals for WeHo Pride celebrations in 2021

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Estevan Montemayor, the president of LA Pride, and executive director Madonna Cacciatore. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

BREAKING:  This story will be updated through the day.

LA Pride announced in a letter to the City of West Hollywood this week that the organization is set to relocate the event to an unspecified location in Los Angeles. LA Pride and the Board of Christopher Street West (CSW), the organizer of the event, told the City of West Hollywood City Council “and other concerned parties,” that “as our non-profit organization continues to evolve and grow, we want to inform you of our intention to move the LA Pride Parade and Festival out of West Hollywood in 2021.”

The event, which generates several millions of dollars in tax-receipts for the City of West Hollywood, is one of the LA region’s largest outdoor events, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors, vendors, and major talent for both the Parade and 2-day festival.

According to an economic impact study from CSW’s independent research firm Beacon Economics, the 2019 LA Pride Parade and Festival generated $74.7 million in economic output and $42.2 million in direct expenditures in Los Angeles County.

According to Beacon’s research, LA Pride resulted in the following financial benefits: increased economic output in Los Angeles County by $74.7 million of which $27.7 million was concentrated in West Hollywood and $18.2 million in the City of Los Angeles; Increased labor income for workers in Los Angeles County by $33.1 million, including $14.7 million in West Hollywood and $7.4 in the City of Los Angeles; Supported the annual equivalent of 830 jobs in LA County, including 397 in West Hollywood and 191 in the City of Los Angeles; Estimated $2.5 million in tax revenue generated in LA County, including $896,100 in West Hollywood and $332,800 in the City of Los Angeles.

West Hollywood’s Mayor Lindsey Horvath told the Los Angeles Blade Tuesday that she “wishes CSW the very best in its future efforts. For decades, the City of West Hollywood and CSW have enjoyed an incredible partnership and, on a personal note, I will treasure the memories I have made celebrating Pride with CSW within our City.”

Horvath pointedly added: “The City of West Hollywood remains the heart of the region’s LGBTQ community and we take Pride in celebrating each and every day, year-round.”

When pressed on the suddenness of the decision, the Mayor said, “While this morning’s email was a surprise to me, it’s content makes clear this decision has been some time in the making.”

Councilmember John D’Amico recently added an agenda item for the next Council meeting which is a formal request for a 2021 Pride event. The item calls for a Request For Proposal (RFP) for event organizers without reference to LA Pride or Christopher Street West.

On his personal Facebook page Councilmember John Duran posted that “four weeks ago, my colleague councilmember D’Amico and I suggested that we open up the bidding to other possible producers for our annual pride event besides CSW.” Duran claims “their announcement was their response to our comments.” He told the Los Angeles Blade that “West Hollywood will continue to have its own Pride weekend as we have for the past 49 years”

“Santa Monica Boulevard and this historic Boystown district will remain the heart and center of Pride month as we always have,” he said.

Duran recently came under fire from Trans activists for his criticism of the non-authorized nor city permitted painting of a Trans flag in the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente, telling a local blog that protecting the installation “sets a precedent and (that if) a group wants to paint a Confederate flag on Santa Monica Boulevard, we can’t say ‘oh we agree with trans rights so that unauthorized mural can stay, but your Confederate flag has to go.’ His comments swift drew outrage.

LA Pride/CSW had attempted to organize a solidarity march but, after controversy in which the organization was accused of being tone-deaf to the needs of race-minority LGBTQI+ people, deferred to Black Trans voices in the community instead and canceled their plans.

On the day LA Pride’s parade would have been held, All Black Lives Matter held a protest march —one of the city’s largest events in recent years — along Hollywood Boulevard to Sunset and into West Hollywood along Santa Monica Boulevard. The ABLM march echoed the very spirit of protest and the need for changes that were the impetus for the organizers of the Christopher Street March in June of 1970 in both New York City and Los Angeles.

With the departure of LA Pride, West Hollywood joins Santa Monica, Compton, Long Beach, and other communities in hosting smaller scale celebrations.

LA Pride has been a long-time fixture in West Hollywood since the event was founded by Morris Kight and Troy Perry in 1970, where the first event was held on Hollywood Boulevard. The event, both the parade and festival, is expected to return to Hollywood Boulevard.

2020 was set to be a banner year as the organization was set to celebrate the event’s 50th Anniversary. However, the City of West Hollywood announced in tandem with Christopher Street West in April that a live, in-person event would be entirely canceled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 2020 LA Pride was instead celebrated in late June during a virtual telecast on LA’s ABC affiliate KABC7.

LA Pride President Estevan Montemayor and Executive Director told the Blade earlier this week that the letter will act as their comment.

Full Text:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

City of West Hollywood City Council

8300 Santa Monica Boulevard

West Hollywood, CA 90069

To The West Hollywood City Council, and other concerned parties:

This year, Christopher Street West and LA Pride celebrate our 50th anniversary of organizing, honoring, and bringing together the LGBTQIA+ community of Greater Los Angeles and beyond. As our non-profit organization continues to evolve and grow, we want to inform you of our intention to move the LA Pride Parade and Festival out of West Hollywood in 2021.

The Board of Directors has decided to take this approach for several reasons. These include construction in West Hollywood Park, the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles, our commitment to being responsive to the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs, and our allyship and collaboration with other movements for social change.

We are grateful to the City of West Hollywood for our many years of partnership and collaboration in presenting LA Pride. West Hollywood has been a successful home for the parade and festival,

providing millions with a unique and incredible experience centered in this city. The community we serve and our organization have grown during our collaborations with West Hollywood, and we have been grateful to support the city and its business community by bringing hundreds of thousands of diverse visitors to the city and highlighting West Hollywood on the world stage.

What began in 1970 as the first legally permitted parade of its kind, LA Pride has become a powerful and globally-recognized symbol of the LGBTQIA+ movement, and we look forward to maintaining positive relationships with the City of West Hollywood as our programming evolves. While the locations of our activities may change, we remain excited to explore opportunities for collaboration in 2021 and beyond, and hope West Hollywood can be part of a more diversified celebration throughout Greater Los Angeles.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the communities we have served for 50 years, we thank you

for your support.

Sincerely,

Christopher Street West, Board Of Directors

8687 Melrose Avenue

Suite BM48

West Hollywood, CA 90069

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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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Pride Special

South American LGBTQ+ activists mark Pride Month

The Movement for Homosexual Integration & Liberation & Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration- 100,000 people participated

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More than 100,000 people attended a Pride protest in Santiago, Chile, on June 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Gonzalo Velásquez)

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.

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