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West Hollywood’s ‘Pride Walk,’ a return to historic LGBTQ+ activism roots

“We wanted to be there “to show our pride openly and honestly and receiving the love back from the people in the street is the best.”

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WeHo Pride Walk 2021 (Photo By Jorge Barragan)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – About 100 people gathered at North Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard Sunday morning, for an ad hoc Pride Walk organised by the publisher of the Los Angeles Blade, Troy Masters, which also included more than a dozen members of the Southern California Motorcycle Contingent for Equality.

Though he had called for a simple no sponsor, non-permitted and organic march in an April editorial and again in early June in the paper and also created event posts on social media, only 120 or so people expressed an interest.

“I was having a little bit of trouble getting Pride Walk off the ground so I thought to myself, I need some lesbians,” said Masters to the delight of the crowd after being honored by West Hollywood City Council member Sepi Shyne for organizing the walk.

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce commissioned a number of business activities and turned Robertson Boulevard into a festival atmosphere, but there was no plan for a march for the first time in more than 50 years.

“Pride Walk was intended to make sure that did not happen, Covid be damned,” Masters said.

Marna Deitch, a Southern California Motorcycle Contingent for Equality leader and a social media organizer of Pride Walk, kicked off and led the walk with more than a dozen bikers, leading about 75 walkers with her motorcycle contingent.

“We wanted to be there “to show our pride openly and honestly and receiving the love back from the people in the street is the best.  Seeing more of that over the decades keeps me optimistic to continue our fight, our Pride,” said Deitch.

Though the LASD presence was not requested, deputies showed up anyway at which point Deitch and Masters negotiated marcher’s access to the streets with the Commander of LASD West Hollywood substation, Lt William Moulder. The march was unpermitted and unsanctioned by the City of West Hollywood, however, Moulder allowed the bikes and the marchers to slowly navigate their way through the traffic along Santa Monica Blvd., escorted by several LASD units.

The spirit of the crowd was very matter of fact, with lots of socializing and flag waving, responding to the honking of car horns and the cheers and applause of bystanders on the sidelines.

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Mary Jo Godges and Rene Sotile, the Emmy award-winning filmmaking team (and married couple) marched at the front of the crowd with Masters, holding a simple rainbow banner that read “Come out and Join Us” “WeHo Pride Walk” “#WeHoPrideWalk.” Sotile is also a member of West Hollywood’ Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board.

An image of the banner for the 2021 WeHo Pride Walk

Among the walkers, which included WeHo City Councilmember Sepi Shyne, were several members of the Lesbian and Gay Advistory Board, LGBTQ and AIDS non-profit executive directors, business owners and activists, but the event was intentionally low-key and there were no speeches planned and no rally in advance.

At one point, Alex Mohajer, an actor, author, artist, and LGBTQ+ activist, gave a marching speech that reminded walkers of the history of Pride marches, walks and parades.

And it was even educational-  Mohajer and Masters joked at the intersection of La Cienega and Santa Monica that “we should have a die-in right here.”  “What is a die-in,” asked a young woman.  Mohajer explained that in many instances over the years “it’s what we had to do to express our rage and get their attention.  And we are not at a place yet that is safe.

A young lesbian couple expressed astonishment upon learning that Pride marches and walks once included die-ins. “I never heard anything about that. That’s amazing.” 

“Stonewall was a riot, and 52 years later it’s more important than ever that LGBTQ+ people remember our own history of activism and dissent. Our fight is not over, and I’m proud to march today in honor of those who came before us in the fight for equal justice,” said Mohajer, who is also a candidate for President of the Stonewall Democratic Club.

Photo Credit: Project Angel Food ED Richard Ayoub, (Right) with Remi Beverly

Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food Executive Director said “When I walk in the pride parade every year there’s always at least one person in the crowd who, is a Project Angel Food client, and mouths to me “Thank you. And although this walk was much smaller it had the sane impact— a client expressed his gratitude in a quiet and respectful way. This was the perfect way to cap pride month.”

“Only the Weho LGBTQ community can come together like this last minute and have the showing and support that it did,” Ayoub added.

The march continued along Santa Monica Boulevard to Robertson where the crowd gathered for a group photo.

As the first West Hollywood Pride Walk came to a conclusion in a parking lot across from the Abbey on Robertson, Masters stepped onto the “Born This Way” mural and kept his remarks brief. “I have a 4-word speech to give:  Thank you for everything.”

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

The City of West Hollywood’s first annual Pet Week, City also to Re-Open Applications for Guaranteed Income Pilot Project Testing

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Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is pawsitively pumped to host its inaugural Pet Week. Pet Week is an initiative to highlight animal companions and celebrate the joy they bring into our lives.

“I am so excited for the City of West Hollywood’s first annual Pet Week, featuring pet-friendly businesses and pet-centered events, like World Dog Day,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “Pet Week is an opportunity for us to show our appreciation and love for our companion animals. My dogs, Suki and Sammy, approve!”

“West Hollywood is one of the most pet friendly cities in America,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne. “Many of our residents have beloved animal companions. I am so delighted to have brought forward the initiative with Mayor Meister to create Pet Week dedicated to our beloved companions, which includes an entire day dedicated to felines. My hope is that we as a community learn more about how to care for our companions, celebrate them, and make West Hollywood a destination for visitors who have pets as well.”

As part of the Pet Week celebration, the City’s Recreation Services Division will be highlighting community members’ pets on social media. To join the paw-ty, submit a pet picture and description to [email protected], including a fun fact about them and what they mean to you! Pets of all species, shapes, and sizes are welcome to participate. One day will be designated as “Feline Day” to specifically highlight our feline friends! Follow along @wehorec on Instagram and @westhollywoodrec on Facebook. 

As part of Pet Week, the City will be hosting a virtual Pet Week Panel Discussion focused on holistic veterinary care and alternative remedies featuring Dr. Heather Oxford, DVM, MPH, CCRT, CVA and Dr. Lindsey Wendt, DVM, CVA, CVFT on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QWBpx4GgRj-Zw0NyiyCiTQ.

Dr. Oxford is an acupuncture and rehabilitation veterinarian focused on mobile integrative holistic veterinary medicine to improve health, optimize performance, and accelerate healing for small animals. Dr. Wendt is the owner and creator of Crystal Lotus Veterinary Care, which focuses on providing individually focused holistic health care to pets in the comfort of their homes.

Dr. Oxford and Dr. Wendt will be in conversation with City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister and Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne where they will discuss several topics, including health and wellness of pets; and holistic care and alternative remedies such as acupuncture, laser therapy, food therapy, integrative medicine, and dealing with separation distress and anxiety. 

The City of West Hollywood is also excited to co-sponsor The Vanderpump Dog Foundation’s 6th annual World Dog Day on Saturday, May 28, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

“Ruff ruff. Ruff-ruff ruff ruff ruff-ruff Saturday May 28, West Hollywood Park, ruff ruff woof-woof ruff ruff,” interpreted Councilmember John D’Amico. “Meow? Grrrrrr. Ruff ruff ruff.”

World Dog Day brings together hundreds of people and their furry friends to celebrate dogs for a day of fun and entertainment and takes place during the City of West Hollywood’s first ever Pet Week. Admission is free and open to the public; canine companions must attend on a leash. All activities will be outside and socially distanced; masks will be encouraged.

Started in 2016, this family-friendly event will include live performances and DJs; an Adoption Area with adoptable rescue dogs; an Animal Education area; a dog water park; a doggy fashion show featuring past Adopted Rescue Dogs and celebrity judges; a doggy pie eating contest; an amazing raffle with incredible prizes; dozens of exhibitors featuring pet-friendly products and services; plus an array of food trucks for all to enjoy – even celebrity guests!

World Dog Day will be a memorable day of celebrating dogs while raising awareness about global dog abuse, including the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. The Vanderpump Dog Foundation has rescued and adopted more than 2,300 dogs to their forever homes domestically, and hundreds more internationally. For additional information about World Dog Day, please visit www.vanderpumpdogs.org/world-dog-day.  

The City of West Hollywood invites canine members of the community and their humans to sniff out a spot and romp around at the City’s two dog parks at West Hollywood Park. A small dog park and large dog park are located on each side of the park’s basketball courts and each area features expanses of open space with shade trees, small mounds and turf terraces, and water stations. In addition, the City operates the William S. Hart Park and Off-Leash Dog Park located at 8341 De Longpre Avenue.

The City of West Hollywood is often recognized as one of the most animal-friendly cities in the nation and has a long history of supporting measures that promote the protection of animal rights and animal welfare. In April 2003, the City became the first municipality in the nation to prohibit cat declawing. In February 2010, the City passed an Ordinance to address the inhumane conditions endured by “puppy mill” animals by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in companion animal stores. In September 2013, the City’s Fur Ordinance went into effect, which prohibits retail establishments from selling, trading, distributing, importing, or exporting any fur product.

For more information about upcoming dog events in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6460. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Re-Open Applications for Guaranteed Income Pilot Project Testing the Impact of Cash Payments on the Financial Stability of Older Adults on June 17

The City of West Hollywood, in collaboration with nonprofit partner, National Council of Jewish Women/LA, will re-open applications for the pilot project for guaranteed income aimed at evaluating the impact of cash payments on the financial stability and quality of life of older adults. Guaranteed income is a direct and regular cash payment – no strings attached – provided to a specific group of people for a designated time.

In January 2021, the West Hollywood City Council approved an item for the City of West Hollywood to join the Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI) network and directed staff to develop a guaranteed income pilot program for West Hollywood, including identification of research, funding, community implementation, and evaluation partners.

There are numerous cities, counties, and private guaranteed income pilots happening throughout the nation. Guaranteed income pilots are a way to test the impact of cash payments, while also providing a service to help financially stabilize community members and learn information to help create future, evidence-based policies and programs.

Beginning June 1, 2022, community members may access www.ncjwla.org/whpgi to learn more. The application will open on the website beginning Friday, June 17, 2022, and will close on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

Applicants Must Reside in City of West Hollywood and: Must be 50 Years or Older; and Must Meet Criteria for Individual Yearly Income of $41,400 or Less

Community members who are interested in applying for the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income must reside in the City of West Hollywood, be 50 years or older, and have an individual income of $41,400 or less. The program will be facilitated by the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles. People who need assistance applying may call (323) 852-8500, ext. 650, or may send an email message to [email protected].

A total of 25 qualifying participants will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible applicants to receive unconditional monthly $1,000 payments from September 2022 through February 2024. 

The move to re-open applications for the pilot project for guaranteed income follows a shift in March 2022 when the City became aware that the pilot, because it was created and supported by a government entity, was susceptible to legal challenges due to the inclusion of LGBTQIA criteria as an eligibility requirement to participate.

The City, with the help of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) and the Center for Guaranteed Income at the University of Pennsylvania (CGIR) had originally developed a data-driven guaranteed income pilot that was set to launch in April 2022 and would have been the first LGBTQIA-focused pilot and the first older adult-focused pilot in the nation.

Protecting the rights of LGBTQ community members has been a long-standing mission of the City, and the City has worked tirelessly to identify and address inequities. For years, the City – along with LGBTQ advocates nationwide – has fought for equal civil rights, including the right to marry, the ability to obtain access to spousal protections and benefits including healthcare and pensions, and efforts to reduce/eliminate discrimination in housing and employment.

These hard-earned rights and protections come with other legal consequences as well. Although the City could engage in a legal battle over the contested eligibility requirement, the implications of litigating such a challenge had to be considered. Having LGBTQIA identification as an eligibility requirement for the pilot could potentially violate the California Constitution as sexual orientation is a protected suspect class in the state.

Therefore, the City Attorney, City staff, and pilot partners recommended that the City Council of the City of West Hollywood revise the pilot to include three of the four original criteria (residency, age, and income level) in order to satisfy the legal obligations, protect potential participants, and move forward with a program that serves community members in need of financial support and stability. All applicants from the first iteration of the pilot will be automatically entered into the pool of applicants for the revised pilot.

The City of West Hollywood seeks to test the emerging promise of guaranteed income to help prevent homelessness, support community members as they age in place, and to reduce the stressors of poverty and financial insecurity.  In addition, the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income seeks to examine impact in the following areas: 

  • Quantitative data to evaluate the collective impact of guaranteed income on different populations;
  • Capture unique qualitative narrative information to provide greater understanding into the income challenges faced by older adults in West Hollywood and inform the creation of evidence-based policies and programs to better support the health and well-being of older adults; and
  • Test the concept of guaranteed income to evaluate whether to expand the initial pilot or create new/additional pilots in the City.

The City will engage two nonprofit partners in the pilot. The first is the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at University of Pennsylvania as the research and evaluation partner responsible for creating and administering the research instruments, conducting the randomized selection of eligible applicants to participate in the pilot, collecting/processing/analyzing the data, and providing a report on the findings. 

The City’s second partner in the pilot is the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW|LA) as the nonprofit administrator implementing the pilot. NCJW was selected for its knowledge, experience, and understanding of the nuances of guaranteed income. NCJW will be responsible for conducting outreach to the community about the pilot, assisting community members to complete applications, verifying that West Hollywood residency and other pilot criteria are met to ensure the eligibility of each applicant, submitting the completed and verified applications to CGIR for the randomized selection of participants, and notifying the participants selected by CGIR.

25 Randomly Selected Participants will be Chosen from a Pool of Eligible Applicants to Receive 18 Unconditional Monthly $1,000 Payments

They will also conduct onboarding and provide individualized benefits counseling for each participant, manage a storytelling cohort and storytelling activities that complement the research component of the pilot and provide the participants an opportunity to share their experiences in their own voices. In addition, the nonprofit administrator will subcontract and coordinate services with a nonprofit financial distributor (utilizing debit card services) to ensure that funds are distributed to participants in a timely, predictable, and seamless fashion.

Additional information about research and evaluation, as well as pilot partners and pilot funding is available in the May 2022 City Council staff report at https://weho.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=&event_id=1357&meta_id=228362.

For more information, please contact Diane Kahn-Epstein, the City of West Hollywood’s Strategic Initiatives Program Administrator, at (323) 848-6548 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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City of West Hollywood’s LGBTQ+ Arts Festival 2022 kicks-off

Festival Kicks Off on Sunday, May 22 with a Harvey Milk Day Virtual Staged Reading of ‘Dear Harvey’ Featuring an All Trans & Non-Binary Cast

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Our Pride, a mural by artist LaToya D. Peoples (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, – Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival).

The festival runs for 40 days, from Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022 through Thursday, June 30, 2022, which marks the end of Pride month. This year, some events will be presented in-person and others will be available online.

Note that for all all programming details please visit this link: pride.weho.org

The LGBTQ Arts Festival is presented in addition to WeHo Pride Weekend from Friday, June 3, 2022 through Sunday, June 5, 2022 and will include a Street Fair, the Dyke March, the Women’s Freedom Festival, the ticketed OUTLOUD Raising Voices Music Festival, and the WeHo Pride Parade.

For decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to the largest Pride celebration in Southern California. Hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world make West Hollywood their destination for the Pride season. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation. All #WeHoPride weekend programming details: www.weho.org/pride.

“The City of West Hollywood is thrilled to be producing the LGBTQ Arts Festival and #WeHoPride for our community again this year,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister.

“The City has a long-standing and proud commitment to both the arts and the LGBTQ community, and what better way to meld those commitments than with the #WeHoPride LGBTQ Arts Festival? Join the City online and in-person for art exhibits, thought-provoking panel discussions, entertaining performances, invigorating creative writing, educational self-guided walking tours, and even our very own queer ComicCon, where cosplay is encouraged and celebrated. Pride starts right here in West Hollywood and I’m looking forward to seeing you all in-person and virtually!”

The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival theme for 2022 is “With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion and Progress for All” and this year’s festival poster was designed by Kaija Sydlowski through an open call poster competition which received submissions from around the world. 

This year’s festival poster was designed by Kaija Sydlowsk

The City of West Hollywood will celebrate Harvey Milk Day, kick-off #WeHoPride, and commence the LGBTQ Arts Festival with a virtual staged reading of the play Dear Harvey: Stories of Harvey Milk, by Patricia Loughrey.

Extensively researched and beautifully constructed, this documentary-style ensemble play recounts the life and lasting impact of groundbreaking LGBTQ activist and politician Harvey Milk, as told by the people who knew him best … the real-world figures whose lives were forever altered by Milk’s too-short career. This spirited play reaffirms his impact and the continued relevance of his campaign towards equality, three decades after his assassination. 

This year’s production features an entirely transgender and non-binary cast including: Luckie Alexander, Blossom C. Brown, Abdullah “Abby” Rahsheen Hall, Marval A. Rex, Mallery Jenna Robinson, Sydney Rogers aka Miss Barbie-Q, and Emily Westheimer. This performance is directed by Brittney S. Wheeler and produced by Parnell Damone Marcano and Celebration Theatre, LA’s oldest theatre dedicated to producing LGBTQIA+ work.

The reading will be available for the public to view for free on the City’s WeHo Arts YouTube page (www.youtube.com/wehoarts) for one week, from May 22 through May 29, 2022.

The City has also installed Our Pride, a mural by artist LaToya D. Peoples on the N. Sweetzer Avenue east-facing wall of West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. The mural features four hands, symbolic of LGBTQ equality, activism, and pride: the first is a fist, symbolizing the LGBTQ and BIPOC community’s fight against oppression throughout history; the next is a painter’s hand symbolizing the community’s creativity and openness; the next hand holds a sunflower, a symbol for self-love and the seeking of light; and finally, a hand in a classic peace sign.

Our Pride, a mural by artist LaToya D. Peoples (Photo credit: Jon Viscott)

The background is a gradient bright sky, symbolic of the progress the community has made and has yet to make. Each hand is painted realistically, in color, representing diverse people. Installation is complete and the mural will remain on City Hall through May 2023.

The Meringue public art exhibition by LGBTQ artist Kim Kiduck will be lit up in pink, light blue, and rainbow colors for the duration of Pride Month. The translucency of Meringue lets sunlight in to glow naturally during the daytime, and at night transforms Meringue into a mixing chamber of various light combinations. Meringue is located in the median on Santa Monica Boulevard near N. Doheny Drive. 

Some highlights of the 40-day festival include:

  • QUEER DIASPORAS: Lavender City of Dreams presented by Rubén Esparza and Queer Biennial – May 27, 2022 through August 19, 2022. Free. Online exhibition with some in-person events at ONE Gallery. Touching on issues of identity, activism, futurity, and beauty where queerness is the thread that weaves through all these personal – yet universal -perspectives. Realized in imagined (no limits) digital galleries, spaces, and textures as the backdrop, along with up-to-the-minute live performances on May 28, June 3, and June 4, 2022. View the exhibition beginning May 27, 2022 and find in-person event info at www.lavendercity.art 
  • Queer Crossroads – June 1, 2022, 10 a.m. Free. Online at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcTAimXuIpWYkLkUeRZdxiw An exploration of queer intersectionality through video performance and conversation! What else do we bring to our beautiful queer spaces? Are you queer and Black, differently-abled, neurodivergent, HIV positive, Trans, Muslim, etc.? Let’s meet and share our stories in this workshop where intersectionality is explored and championed.
  • Write Out Proud LGBTQ writing workshops – Wednesdays and Saturdays in June. Free. When we Write Out Proud, we share the love of who we are for the world to see, so the world can become better at loving us back. We write fun and flirty stories of our magical LGBTQ selves influenced by our personal ideas of gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation. All are welcome, both new and seasoned writers. This no-cost four session writing workshop will take place virtually on Zoom. There are two workshop groups, each with the same writing prompts and plans. One group meets on Wednesday evenings in June from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the other group meets on Saturday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. culminating on Wednesday evening June 29, 2022 with an online reading of writings for those who care to participate. For more info go to writeoutproud.com. To sign up for this free workshop email [email protected].
  • Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Pledge Allegiance to Your Flag: A Festival of LGBTQ Flags – June 4, 2022 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at various locations. Free. The Sisters will delight you as they work their butts off to erase shame and stigma and lovingly help you to claim your LGBTQ identity by choosing from a myriad of their spectacular LGBTQ color guard flags (or bring your own!) and create your personalized made-up mad cap mad lib Pledge of Allegiance. The Sisters will record content for you for your Pride media posts with Sisters, your flags, and your pledge. For details: http://www.writeoutproud.com/pledge.html
  • Church of Trans Love – June 5, 2022 at 2 p.m. Free. The fictitious ‘The Church of Trans Love’ presents a queerdo take on ecclesiastical liturgical practices in the tradition of ‘The Book of Mormon’. The audience plays a ‘full, active, and conscious’ role in the show. The Church of Trans Love performance includes music from David Bowie and features Key Exchange, the show’s gospel choir of professional trans and non-binary singers. More information: https://bit.ly/churchtranslove.
  • WeHo Reads: Pride & Joy in the Matrix – June 7, 2022 at 6 p.m. Free. Online, RSVP: www.weho.org/wehoreads. LGBTQ+ authors are taking a hard look at society IRL and virtually, pinpointing the ways we come up short in connecting with and loving each other.
  • Pride Poets – “Pledge” Poetry Hotline – June 11, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from June 11, 2022 at 11 p.m. to June 12, 2022 at 2 a.m. Free. Call (202) 998-3510. LGBTQ poets are standing by ready to tackle all your poetic needs! Call in and have an original poem created for you or a loved one. This year’s theme is “Pledge: come share your allegiances with us!”
  • Q Con: A One Day Comic Convention Celebrating LGBTQ Comics – June 18, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. Free. Find an exciting, diverse selection of LGBTQ comics and graphic novels all in one place! Talk to creators, get autographs! Q Con is family friendly, and admission is free. Cosplay is encouraged. Join in the costume contest for fun and prizes! For the latest updates on Q Con, visit https://www.prismcomics.org/q-con
  • Trans Pride LA 2022: The VarieTy Show – June 18, 2022 at 7 p.m. RSVP required. Free.  For more information and to RSVP: https://transpride.lalgbtcenter.org/. The VarieTy Show serves as the grand finale of the annual Trans Pride LA Festival.

More detailed information and a full list of the City of West Hollywood’s LGBTQ Arts Festival 2022 programming is available at pride.weho.org.  

In addition, archived online programs from 2020 and 2021 are available to view. Among these is a collection of short films which tell the fabulous, fun, and deep LGBTQ history of the City of West Hollywood called the Stuart Timmons West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour. Acclaimed author/historian Stuart Timmons (author The Trouble With Harry Hay, co-author of GAY L.A., former executive director of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives) was in the process of writing his West Hollywood LGBTQ History Tour as the final in a trio of walking tours (Downtown Los Angeles and Silverlake are the other two) when he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008. The tour remained incomplete until the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division funded its completion as part of the City’s 2015 LGBTQ Arts Festival, allowing Timmons and a small team to help finish his research, bringing it to completion as both a self-guided walking tour and a special in-person event featuring performance artists as tour guides. This fun and informative tour returned for two more years, and in 2021, was recorded as a collection of short films that can be viewed on the City’s WeHo Arts YouTube channel.

The City of West Hollywood’s #WeHoPride LGBTQ Arts Festival is organized by the City’s Arts Division. The City of West Hollywood is committed to providing accessible arts programming for residents and visitors. The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division delivers a broad array of arts programs including: Art on the Outside (temporary public art), Urban Art Program (permanent public art), Summer Sounds, Winter Sounds, the WeHo Reads literary series, Free Theatre in the Parks, Arts Grants for Nonprofit Arts Organizations, Library Exhibits and Programming, the City Poet Laureate Program, Human Rights Speakers Series and the #WeHoPride LGBTQ Arts Festival.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/arts. For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, Mike Che, at (323) 848-6377 or at [email protected] or visit www.weho.org/pride.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

The new mural “Our Pride” by LaToya Peoples at City of West Hollywood City Hall, WeHo Pride 2022 Update, WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival

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Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The City of West Hollywood is reminding community members about events surrounding the upcoming #WeHoPride season. The City will provide regularly updated information about WeHo Pride 2022 programming as it becomes available:

  • WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 3, 2022, Saturday, June 4, 2022, and Sunday, June 5, 2022 in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard and will include will include a free WeHo Pride Street Fair representing a diverse array of LGBTQ+ community groups as part of visibility, expression, and celebration.
  • The annual Dyke March and the new Women’s Freedom Festival will take place beginning on Friday, June 3, 2022 at 5 p.m. The Dyke March will feature the presentation of the Melissa Etheridge and Community Activist awards, a poetry reading, sign-making and supplies, speakers, a DJ, and the Dykes on Bikes contingent. The Dyke March will step off and return to the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Boulevards. The Women’s Freedom Festival will take place immediately following the Dyke March at the #WeHoPride Street Fair stage and will feature emerging LGBTQ and BIPOC women and non-binary musicians, comedians, poets, and activists, along with a featured performance from Milck, singing her latest protest song, We Won’t Go Back
  • WeHo Pride Weekend will feature OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, the award-winning three-day LGBTQ concert series produced by JJLA at West Hollywood Park. Headliners, artist lineup, and ticket information are available by visiting https://weareoutloud.com
  • The City of West Hollywood’s Pride Parade will step-off at noon at Crescent Heights Boulevard on Sunday, June 5, 2022 and will make its way west along Santa Monica Boulevard to the City’s Rainbow District.
  • WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival) will take place during 40 days from Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022 to Thursday, June 30, 2022 live at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood, along with selected online programming. The theme for 2022 is With Liberty, Diversity, Inclusion, and Progress For All. The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival runs for 40 days, from Harvey Milk Day through the end of Pride month and is organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division with input from the City’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, Transgender Advisory Board, Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission, and community partners. A full calendar of events is available online.

More information and details about WeHo Pride Weekend will be posted as it becomes available at www.weho.org/pride.

Dyke March and Women’s Freedom Festival is scheduled to take place on Friday June 3, 2022

WeHo Pride Weekend will Take Place from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5

OUTLOUD: Raising Voices Three-Day LGBTQ Concert Series Produced by JJLA Take Place from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5

WeHo Pride Parade will Step-Off at Noon on Sunday, June 5 Along Santa Monica Boulevard

WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival Will Take Place from Sunday, May 22 to Thursday, June 30

For more than three decades, the City of West Hollywood has been home to the largest Pride celebration in Southern California, as hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from around the world make West Hollywood their destination for the Pride season. Home to the “Rainbow District” along Santa Monica Boulevard, which features a concentration of historic LGBTQ clubs, restaurants, and retail shops, the City consistently tops lists of “most LGBTQ friendly cities” in the nation.

Since incorporation in 1984, the City of West Hollywood has become one of the most influential cities in the nation for its outspoken advocacy on LGBTQ issues. No other city of its size has had a greater impact on the national public policy discourse on fairness and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. More than 40 percent of residents in West Hollywood identify as LGBTQ and three of the five members of the West Hollywood City Council are openly gay. The City has advocated for nearly four decades for measures that support LGBTQ individuals and the City is in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.

The City of West Hollywood is one of the first municipalities to form a Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board and a Transgender Advisory Board, which each address matters of advocacy. As part of its support of the transgender community, the City has a Transgender Resource Guide available on the City’s website, which provides information about a variety of resources including legal, health, and social services, available in the Greater Los Angeles area to enhance and improve the well-being of transgender people.

For more information about WeHo Pride, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Events Services Division at [email protected].

For more information about the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator Mike Che at (323) 848-6377 or [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

The new mural “Our Pride” by LaToya Peoples at City of West Hollywood City Hall! Commissioned through WeHo Arts is now on display swing by and check it out.

Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

The City of West Hollywood is debuting a new mural at West Hollywood City Hall on its east-facing exterior wall facing N. Sweetzer Avenue. The mural celebrates LGBTQ Pride and is installed as part of the City’s WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. City Hall is located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. The LGBTQ Arts Festival is part of the City of West Hollywood’s annual Pride celebration.

Our Pride’ by artist LaToya D. Peoples features four hands to symbolize aspects of LGBTQ equality and activism. The first hand is in a rising fist shape, symbolizing the fight against oppression throughout history. Next, a painter’s hand, symbolizing LGBTQ creativity and openness as a community. A hand holding a sunflower comes next, as a symbol for self-love and seeking light. And finally, a hand in a classic peace sign. The background color is a gradient bright blue sky, symbolic of the progress the LGBTQ community has made and will continue to make. Each hand is painted as a realistic representation of the diverse people of our communities.

LaToya D. Peoples is a BIPOC, queer, multidisciplinary artist, educator, and entrepreneur working in the realms of visual art, public/community arts, and design. Her work focuses on figuration, natural elements, color, and pattern, as a way of exploring identity and history. She carries these themes over to her mural and sculptural installation work, creating transformative pieces guided by youth and community engagement. Her commissioned works live in the collections of University Maryland Medical Center, Denver Urban Arts & Venues, Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts, and Baltimore Department of Parks and Recreation.

Peoples has also worked as an educator and coordinator for visual arts programming in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has served youth and adults through teaching partnerships with the Baltimore City Public School System, National Museum of Ceramic Art, Arts Everyday, Jubilee Arts Center, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the McDonogh School.

Our Pride’ will be on display through Sunday, April 30, 2023 at West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard.

The WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival runs over the course of 40 days from May 22 (Harvey Milk Day) through the end of Pride Month (June 30) in-person at various locations throughout West Hollywood, along with selected online programming. For full details about the Festival and for information about #WeHoPride weekend (June 3-5, 2022) events, please visit www.weho.org/pride.

For more information about the Our Pride mural, please contact Mike Che, Arts Coordinator, City of West Hollywood at (323) 848-6377 or [email protected]. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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