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Pride Special

LA Pride returns to its roots; Parade map, festival & talent lineup

The parade which returns to Hollywood Boulevard June 12, where it began five decades ago, will be a bit more star-studded than the last time

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The cover of this week's print issue of the Los Angeles Blade 'LA Pride' special

LOS ANGELES – Paula Abdul, iconic recording artist with six number one hit singles, former host of American Idol, longtime LGBTQ+ ally, and one of the most influential choreographers in music video history, will be honored by Christopher Street West Association Inc (CSW), with the newly created Icon Grand Marshal title.

Sir Lady Java (Publicity still 1960’s)

Sir Lady Java, a trailblazing nightclub personality in the 1960s was targeted by LAPD for violating “Rule Number 9,” a ban on “impersonation by means of costume or dress a person of the opposite sex,” will be celebrated as Community Grand Marshal. She will be accompanied by Hailie Sahar, a former cast member of Pose, who will portray Java in an upcoming feature film about her colorful life, in a vintage convertible to experience the full parade route.

“It was very important to LA Pride that we lift history and legacy as a part of the parade this year, so this is a new and exciting moment,” says Gerald Garth, CSW’s Vice President of Community Programs and Initiatives.

Out actor Mark Indelicato, remembered for his portrayal of a gay teen on the hit comedy Ugly Betty and who is currently appearing as a gay assistant on the HBO series Hacks, will be honored as this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshal.

The parade is presented by LA Pride title sponsor TikTok. It will begin in Hollywood Sunday, June 12 at 10:30 a.m. on Hollywood Blvd and Cahuenga Blvd heading west, then south onto N. Highland, then turn east on Sunset Blvd, ending at Sunset Blvd and Ivar. 

L.A. Pride has announced that people who were interested in its former June 10 Community Day can now enjoy Pride Village, a community-led, free street fair at Hollywood Blvd. between Cahuenga and Vine St. in Hollywood. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Parade Sunday, so people can enjoy Pride Village before, during, and after the LA Pride Parade with music, art, booths, food and drink, and the famed Ferris wheel. 

For more information, go to lapride.org.

2022 LA PRIDE PARADE PARTICIPANTS
ABC7, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Accenture, ACLU of Southern California, Advance Auto Parts, AEG / LA Kings / Galaxy, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Amazon/Glamazon, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. /PRISM, Angel City Derby, APLA Health, Athleta, BELLA + CANVAS, Bienestar Human Services, Bimbo Bakeries USA, BuzzFeed, Inc., Cedars-Sinai, Celebrity Grand Marshal: Mark Indelicato, Cheer LA, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Christopher Street West/LA Pride, City of Angels Pipe Band, City of LA, City of Long Beach, City of West Hollywood, Classroom of Compassion, CLUB TEMPO / JASERED, Community Grand Marshal: Sir Lady Java, Congressman Adam Schiff Constant Contact: [email protected], Coolhaus + Brave Robot, Corona (Constellation Beer), Deloitte West Hub LGBTQIA+ & Allies Community, Delta Air Lines, Dignity Health, Discovery+, Disney, Enterprise Holdings, Equality California, Equity Residential, Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, GoodRx, Google, Grindr, GumGum Inc, H&M, Headspace Health, Henkel Beauty ERG, Hollywood Teamsters Local 399, Hollywood United Methodist Church, Hot Topic, Inc, IATSE, Icon Grand Marshal: Paula Abdul, iHeartMedia, Insomniac Events, InVision LA, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Johnson & Johnson ERG, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Keck Pride/Keck Medicine of USC, Kim Chi Beauty, LA28 – 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, LAC+USC Medical Center Foundation, LAFD with Chief Crowley, Lambda Legal, LegalZoom, Lionsgate, Los Angeles Blade, Los Angeles City Attorney Pride Association, Los Angeles Controller, Ron Galperin, Los Angeles County Public Defenders LGBTQ Group, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Los Angeles Football Club, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, Los Angeles Public Library, MAC Cosmetics, Macy’s, Men’s Health Foundation, Microsoft, Miss Los Angeles County Scholarship Organization, Motorcycle Contingent for Equality, National Gay Pilots Association & Unusual Attitudes Flying Club (Affiliated Groups), NBCUniversal, NFL, Nordstrom, Omnicon OPEN Pride ERG, Open Door Shakespeare, Optum (formerly Healthcare Partners), OUAI Pacific Center Groups and Events LQBTQ, Pepsi, Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats (PALAD), Planned Parenthood, Project Angel Food, Providence, Raise A Child, Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corp, Riot Games, Saban Community Clinic, Senator Ben Allen, Sheppard Mullin, Society for Senior Gay and Lesbian Citizens (“Project Rainbow”), Sony, SpaceX, Starbucks, Stonewall Democratic Club, SVEDKA Vodka (Constellation Wine & Spirits), System1 #Pride, TGirl Nights, The AMAAD Institute, The Leather Contingency, The [email protected] Coalition, The Trevor Project, Tiffany & Co., TikTok, Toyota, Traditional Aztec Dancing, TruFusion, U.S. Bank, UCLA Health, Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, United Airlines, Univision, UPS, VA Greater Los Angeles Heathcare System, Warner Brothers  Discovery, Wells Fargo, WERLDEF (Women’s Equal Rights Legal defense & Education Fund), WWE Superstar Sonya Deville
The very first LA Pride parade June 1970, Hollywood Blvd (Photo credit: UCLA Collection, Archives of the Los Angeles Times)


THE ultimate pop diva Christina Aguilera is set to grab more than headlines as the big name on stage during the June 11, 2022 LA Pride Concert at LA Historic Park. She’s as well known for grabbing LGBT hearts and souls as she is for her big voice, over-the-top wardrobe and pop hits like “Genie in a Bottle” and “Fighter.” But the superstar is set to prove her status as a gay icon all over again. She is beloved by our community for advocating for LGBTQ equality and representation over the course of her career. Christina has called her LGBTQ fans her fighters, heroes and the reason she loves what she does. “The LGBTQ community has never had it easy,” she wrote in Billboard. “The struggles each one of you faces daily on an individual level and on a broader political and cultural level are unimaginable, yet you keep fighting, you keep moving forward trailblazing and beating all odds with love always in your hearts.”In 2002, Christina delivered a special single called “Beautiful” to the LGBTQ community, earning a GLAAD Media Award. She stands up for us and “anyone who’s been discriminated against or unaccepted, unappreciated or disrespected just because of who [they] are.” She’s gonna deliver.

Since breaking through in Brazil six years ago, Anitta has become the leading artist of a new generation of Latin American music. As the biggest ever global female popstar to come from Brazil, she has amassed 55 million Instagram followers and over 15 million YouTube subscribers garnering more than 5.6 billion views. Anitta has been named among the world’s 15th most influential musicians on social media by Billboard. In July 2013, she released her self-titled first album, Anitta, which consisted of 14 new tracks, most of which were written by her. Anitta’s second album, Ritmo Perfeito, was released in July 2014, followed by her third album, Bang, in 2016. The album contained 15 original tracks and the music video for the album’s title song, “Bang,” has garnered over 412 million views since its release. Her latest album, Kisses, was released in April 2019 and marks Anitta’s first trilingual album with songs in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Kisses was nominated for “Best Urban Album” at the 2019 Latin GRAMMY® Awards. This year she also won “Best Female Artist” at the Latin AMAs. Most recently, Anitta released her new single, “Faking Love” featuring Saweetie. 

A Golden Globe®-winning and Emmy®-nominated actress, singer, and activist, Rodriguez will next star in Apple TV+’s new workplace comedy LOOT opposite Maya Rudolph premiering this June. In 2021, Rodriguez became the first transgender woman to earn an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as “Blanca Evangelista” in FX’s critically acclaimed series POSE. Earlier this year, Rodriguez won the Golden Globe® Award for Best Actress in a TV Drama Series, making her the first transgender actor to win a Golden Globe® award. Most recently, Rodriguez appeared in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s feature film TICK, TICK… BOOM!. She will also appear in ‘GIRLS CAN’T SHOOT (AND OTHER LIES)’ alongside Beanie Feldstein, Jameela Jamil and Kat Dennings. In June 2021 she released her debut single, “Something to Say” via Access Records.

Rossi

When it comes to Rossi, all you have to do is press play. Rossi transcends social norms and compels the masses to join his party. With a sound that is uniquely his own, there is no denying that underneath the glam and glitter the music speaks for itself. 

Rossi’s debut single “7 Minutes” is a glossy and catchy tune that will have you wanting to spin the bottle, and the song, again and again. He is here to bring the fun of dance music back, with a cheeky, queer, and nostalgic approach. 

SAN CHA

SAN CHA is a singer-songwriter, based in Los Angeles, increasingly known for her visceral and explosive live performances. Her name, derived from the Spanish word sancha, which translates to ‘mistress’, is a mischievous reference to the title of ‘San’, given to male saints in the Catholic tradition. Fans of cumbia and punk, bolero and electro, flock to see San Cha’s emotional renditions of traditional Mexican rancheras and original songs that queer conventions of identity, power and love. Her striking stage presence is accompanied by the one-of-a-kind garments she adorns, aesthetic reflections of the years spent performing in drag and club scenes in the Bay. San Cha was the headlining act at the kickoff of the 2019 Red Bull Music Festival, with recent performances at the Getty Museum, TBA Fest, Levitt Pavillion, HOCO Fest, Sonido Clash Music Festival and Santa Monica Pier. Her latest album, La Luz De La Esperanza, is written in the form of a surrealist telenovela and sounds like what

Pitchfork described it as ‘modernized ranchera with a rock edge and goth sensibility’. Effortlessly mixing Spanish and English, La Luz De La Esperanza calls for a bold confrontation of tradition while respectfully honoring it.

For emerging alt-pop icon Zolita, every song begins as an elaborate movie in her mind, irresistibly rooted in both riveting drama and viscerally real feeling. A truly multidimensional artist, the L.A.-based singer/songwriter/filmmaker matches her fiercely honest musical output with self-directed videos, each revealing the singular aesthetic she honed in part through her studies in film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Recently signed to AWAL after earning massive success as a D.I.Y. creator (including over 120 million global streams to date), Zolita wants to elevate LGBTQ+ visibility with her music through songs like “Somebody I F*cked Once,” a video that went viral immediately after its premiere, amassing five million YouTube views in its first week alone. “One of the most mportant things for me is to normalize queerness, and to show happy endings for queer people. I never thought of that as a kind of activism before, until I saw firsthand what it can actually do.”

2021 is the year Rebecca Black put her stamp on pop culture with her song “Girlfriend” and she’s still having a major moment with her new release which  PAPER and Billboard highlighting her GLAAD Media Awards performance as the “best musical moment” of the night, notably “bubbly…fun… and… the exact kind of pick-me-up that so many of us are looking for.” Vulture said “she’s now serving up queer pop anthems.” The 23-year old singer, songwriter and creator, followed up the reviews by delivering a post-breakup bop “Personal,” to unapologetically cry and dance to; a song that melts bubble-gum pop and hyperpop glitches as smooth as The Secret World of Alex Mack! To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her song of the zeitgeist, “Friday,” Rebecca, who has racked up 1.5 Million YouTube subscribers and 1 Million Instagram followers (@msrebeccablack), released a “Friday” remix featuring an array of electro-poptasm, including Dorian Electra, Big Freedia, 3OH!3 & produced by Dylan Brady of 100 gecs. Rebecca advocates for anti-bullying, mental health initiatives and the LGBTQ+ community, across recent partnerships with the AdCouncil, GLAAD, and Best Buddies.

MIKE TAVEIRA

He could be called the pansexual Portuguese pop singer. But look a little closer and you’ll see a fully-rounded artist with a distinct point of view, a razor-sharp ear, and triple-threat talents that have already begun to win the world over (with over a million streams and a combined 150k followers). Taveira’s sonic references are rooted in his childhood: the booming Springsteen percussion from his Jersey suburb and the microtonal melodies he’d dance to in the summers of Northern Portugal. Turning to performance to escape abuse and instability, Taveira spent his teen years becoming a student of Prince and Bowie, learning to write and dance from late legends. After moving to New York City at 19, Taveira dove headfirst into acting (and starred in a few independent films, one of which accumulated over 50 awards and counting), but it wasn’t until 2018 – 4 years later – that he set out to record his own music. Between 2019 and 2020, Taveira independently released a string of singles – Heart, Curious, and Karma – racking up over 500,000 streams from his own hustle. Taveira explored themes of heartbreak and queer attraction over contemporary pop-R&B arrangements and won features from Billboard, Gay Times, Instinct, and Attitude. 

GESS

GESS is a pop/r&b singer-songwriter-producer. Self-identified love child of Zayn Malik and Sabrina Claudio, GESS delivers atmospheric, contemplative music that’s been described as “a heartbreaking and sexy exploration of self.” GESS hit the scene in 2018 with the single “Spilled Milk” & EP “Plastic City.” In that time he has accumulated 2.5 million streams on Spotify and appeared on Billboard 9+ times, with work featured on 4 of their LGBTQ playlists. His quarantine EP “Psyche” premiered in Gay Times Magazine and received rave reviews by Paper Magazine and others.  Aside from solo releases, GESS often produces and writes for LGBTQ acts globally, frequently collaborating with Shea Coulee (Rupaul’s Drag Race winner). Most recently, their song “Collide” premiered on VH1.  GESS has performed at major venues throughout California including the notorious Viper Room, as well as renowned events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Amsterdam.

MALIBU BABIE

The 808s pack a punch and so does the vision: to be the first female producer/artist to top the charts. Collaborating with multi-platinum, Grammy award winning songwriters and producers Theron Thomas and Sam Sumser, Malibu Babie is armed & ready to take over the music industry in a lane all her own. The viral hit-maker is already garnering attention from Billboard and Idolator, and has song placements with MTV, Netflix, Apple and Sephora. Malibu Babie promises to not just be your new favorite artist, but a whole damn brand.

 JASMINE INFINITI

Born in the Bronx and based in Brooklyn, Jasmine Infiniti’s sound is a mesh of underground styles that New York City artists have long-shaped. Her DJ sets and original music oscillate between ballroom, hip-hop, house, industrial and techno; racing between fury and euphoria to create cathartic moments. While playing in just about every underground scene in North America – Jasmine put out releases with homegrown labels such as Club Chai and Molly House. It wasn’t until pandemic times, when she self-released her hard techno opus “BXTCH SLÄP,” that her sound truly took form. Starting as a bandcamp only release, it was reissued on wax by acclaimed label Dark Entries and quickly sold out. Jasmine also founded New World Dysorder: a label, collective, and club series that has been running strong for over seven years. In late 2020 they released “WW1,” an expansive compilation that showcased the dark corners of American club music. Jasmine Infiniti has been an integral part of modern North American club culture, and will continue spreading her message globally in the near future.”

GRAG QUEEN

If you were lucky enough to watch Queen of the Universe (which aired on Paramount +) then you’re well aware that on the season’s finale 26-year-old Grag Queen was crowned (literally!) the first winner of the competition.  Part RuPaul’s Drag Race, part Eurovision, ‘14 queens from 10 countries’ competed for the title in the 6-part series, which was an international success. The Brazilian singer wowed audiences with her show stopping performances of Andra Day’s “Rise Up” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” among others. Grag was thrilled with her victory. “I feel SO accomplished! This award symbolizes a dream come true. I am sure my family and my country are proud of me.”  She’s been lauded by fellow singing Queens Alaska Thunderfuck who said, “Grag is one of the most technically skilled singers out there, but it’s her stage presence, sense of humor, and charisma that make her an absolute superstar.”  Trixie Mattel added, “She’s a star before the song even starts, and then when she begins singing – it’s over bitch.” Her new single, “Party Everyday”, which she co-wrote and already has over 600,000 views on Youtube.  Grag will also have a track on the forthcoming “Love, Victor” soundtrack. The show’s new season premieres on HULU in June. A staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community in Brazil, Grag – born Gregory Mohd – say she’s very well-aware of how many young people are afraid to come out to be their true selves. “We live in a country that kills LGBTQ people more than any other, and our transgender people’s [life expectancy] is only 35 years old and it’s not fair. We are still trying to find some place of peace….I really want to use this platform to make people know that this situation is crazy and it’s real.”

EUREKA- (They/Them) started as a small country child in the heart of East Tennessee. Raised by a single Mom, scraping by in poverty. Doing their best to survive and thrive is what created Eureka’s work ethic today. Now, standing 6’4” (and that’s without heels, y’all), Eureka represents all the big guys, girls, and gender-fluid beautiful beings, as the PLUS SIZE DRAG SUPERMODEL OF THE WORLD! One of Eureka’s goals is to give bigger people around the world the confidence to go out and live their  dreams. Their passion led them to compete on nine national stages before the age of twenty-six. Today Eureka continues to STOMP their way onto the national scene with television, music, videos, songwriting, singing, acting, and modeling. Eureka sees themselves as the Elephant Queen because of her passion for elephants – their dedication to family, loyalty, and strength. They regard those family-oriented and brilliant pachyderms as the best representation of size-positivity, kindness, and love. Their fight is for those traits in all of us to never go extinct – and to give inspiration to their “HERD” of followers.

EDWARD FRAME

Being in love with music pretty much his entire life, Edward first became interested in music production at the age of 18 with a passion that ranged from electronic dance music, house music all the way down to disco. In the 6 years he has resided in Los Angeles, he has become the co-creator of a massively successful summertime event called “PEARL” which reignited the passion for curating music for parties and events. He has since then been the music producer and DJ for this event which has in turn opened doors to DJing at other venues and spaces such as a regular Sunday residency at HEART in West Hollywood and pop-up gigs around town at the W Hotel Hollywood, Doheny Room West Hollywood, and the Sonoran in Palm Springs just to name a few. He has collaborated with many producers and DJs and hopes to keep the momentum on the rise this year. His love and passion for music and creating moments on the dancefloor for just about everyone is what fuels his drive to continue to learn and grow and become the top-level DJ he aspires to be!

D.I.Y.

On his debut D.I.Y., drumaq introduces an unforgettably bold new voice into today’s R&B landscape. An accomplished songwriter, having written for various artists including Ant Clemons on his GRAMMY® Award nominated album, drumaq’s lyrics radiate a raw honesty, the L.A.-based artist details his experience as a queer twentysomething finding himself through the beautiful chaos of love and lust and heartbreak. In a departure from the bedroom-pop introspection of 2019’s Vitamin D (a self-released mixtape that’s now surpassed five million combined streams), drumaq brings that truth-telling to a more opulent and high-powered sound inspired by strong-minded female R&B stars like Jazmine Sullivan, Jill Scott, and Keyshia Cole. And as drumaq reveals, D.I.Y. ‘s unbridled confidence has much to do with the profound personal transformation he’s experienced over the past year. “I just want people to really feel themselves, and to know that it’s possible to change your whole outlook,” he says. “Instead of letting someone else’s negative actions destroy you, you can let them push you toward becoming a better person—someone who’s completely comfortable in their own skin,” he says.

BOY UNLIMITED and BOY APOCALYPSE

Comprising Boy Untitled and Boy Apocalypse, BOY2K is a forward-thinking experiment in the connective power of dance music. After meeting at a show in 2019, the pair began making music together, eventually resulting in the birth of a collaborative project that celebrates radical queerness and challenges assumptions about what (and who) dance music is for. Fusing house, techno, and pop music, BOY2K is committed to making people move AND think about the world. Their music addresses a wide range of topics including technology, social media, sexuality, and more. Boy Untitled has been noted as an “artist to watch” by such publications as Billboard, Earmilk, Gaytimes, Nylon, and OUT! Magazine while Boy Apocalypse has been a featured vocalist on tracks with global dance acts including Adventure Club and Blem. Together, the duo combines years of experience and diverse perspectives that make for an electrifying sound. In addition to their upcoming debut release, BOY2K is diving headfirst into the Web3 space and is currently collaborating with outlets like Yung Crypto to develop projects in the generative space. 

DERRICK CARTER

He is widely acknowledged as one of the best DJs in the world. With innovative productions, flawless technical skills and an effortlessly joyful attitude of rocking a crowd, his influence has infiltrated throughout the spectrum of dance music. Although known as one of the key players of Chicago’s house music wave in the ’90s, Derrick Carter began DJing at the age of nine, spinning disco records at family reunions. Raised in the western suburbs, Derrick was into music from a young age; during his teens Chicago’s house scene sucked him in for good and before long he became a strong presence in the city’s underground dance scene. “When I got my driver’s license at 16 my sneak ability was validated,” he laughs. “I was a fierce bedroom jock for a long time. After you mix for the love of it for six or seven years, you get it pretty tight and you can take it on the road.” Derrick’s sets are rooted in house, but he freely travels outside confirmative club tastes, seamlessly incorporating old-school disco, soul, jazz, and whatever else catches his fancy to jack the beat and rock the party.

Brooklyn based, singer-songwriter Allison Ponthier writes folk-pop music that’s auto-biographical in narrative, reflective of her queer identity and personal journey. Visually, the project lives in a universe where campy horror, lunar landscapes, and 80s westerns collide. It has a whimsical and theatrical feel to it, but embodies some darker humor and gracefully tackles some heavy concepts. Finding her own path from a conservative upbringing in Texas, Allison’s early records are reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers and Kacey Musgraves with a splash of Dolly Parton. In August 2021, Allison released her critically acclaimed debut EP “Faking My Own Death”. In September, she joined Lord Huron on his US tour and made her major festival debut at Austin City Limits in October.

Toronto native, Alexander Stewart is quickly becoming on of the top independent artists to watch out for in 2022! Previously breaking the top 20 Billboard charts in Canada with his single “Backwards”, he kicked off 2022 with his latest single, a new powerful pop ballad, “Echo”. “Echo” immediately amassed millions of views on his TikTok prior to its release along with a record number of pre-saves! He gained the attention of megastar Liam Payne of OneDirection who tweeted “Currently listening to a new unsigned artist I LOVE”. Alexander’s monthly listeners on Spotify have doubled in the first few months of 2022 to +2 million.”Echo” is now becoming his biggest record to date, and his catalog is now at an enormous 50 million streams across all platforms giving us a taste of what is to become a very exciting year for Alexander.

A drag performer and recording artist best known for winning the eighth season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. He has released various hit singles since his run on Drag Race (Purse First, Yet Another Dig) and appeared on television

(A Black Lady Sketch Show, We’re Here) and film (Cherry Pop, The Queens). He currently co-hosts the podcast “Sibling Rivalry” with Monét X Change and continues to inspire others with his iconic comedy chops.

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Pride Special

The pleasures of Palm Springs Pride are many

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Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

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.

Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

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.

Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

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.”

Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

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.

Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

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.

Photo by JPK/Los Angeles Blade

“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.

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Pride Special

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

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Photo by J.P. King

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.
Photo by J.P. King

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!

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Pride Special

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

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Courtesy of Long Beach Pride

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/

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Pride Special

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”

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South LA Pride Chair Jasmyne Cannick & event host Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. (Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

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. 

2022 South LA Pride Community Picnic at the Norman O. Houston Park in Los Angeles, California on July 1, 2022
(Photo Credit: Koi Sojer/ Snap’N U Photos)

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. 

Congresswoman Karen Bass and Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

Journalist and advocate Jasmyne Cannick chaired the planning committee which included a host of community organizations. 

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson presents Compton Pride founder Princess Murray with a certificate of recognition.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

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.

Drag performer Sole Valentine.
(Photo credit Raymond Kwan)

For more information, please visit southlapride.com.

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Pride Special

EN VIDEO: Marchas del orgullo LGBTQ+ en Colombia

Se realizaron celebraciones en Bogotá, Medellín y Pereira

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Miembros de Caribe Afirmativo participan en una marcha del orgullo LGBTQ en Bogotá, Colombia, el 3 de julio de 2022. (Foto cortesía de Caribe Afirmativo)

OrgulloLGBT.co es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Colombia. Esta nota salió en su sitio web.

BOGOTÁ

MEDELLÍN

PEREIRA

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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 Hope, can be seen jumping up and down dancing as they displayed their non-verbal disapproval of the protestors bullhorn-delivered messaging.

Sebastian Croft who plays Ben Hope (Center) with Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring (Just behind Croft’s left shoulder) trolling anti-LGBTQ+ protestors at London Pride 2022.
(Screenshot/YouTube)

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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