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Best of LGBTQ LA

Best of LGBTQ+ LA 2024

Welcome to the 7th annual Best of LGBTQ+ LA! The Los Angeles Blade continues its proud tradition to celebrate the best of our community



Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – Welcome to the seventh annual special issue of the Best of LGBTQ+ LA! The Los Angeles Blade continues its proud tradition to celebrate the best of our community. The year for LGBTQ+ people and families has been a flood, both in weather and in the news that ruled us.

At home, we had to deal with physical floods, while cultural flooding came down on us as well from the death of ‘Friend’ Matthew Perry, to the local reality tsunami of Vanderpump Rules and “Scandoval.” 

Nationally, and in some local school board meetings, anti-LGBTQ+ forces got more aggressive and violent with LGBTQ+ families and our gender non-conforming population came under direct political and physical attacks. We saw dubious history being made with a former president being legally defined as a rapist, and subsequently being indicted on 91 criminal counts, all the while being the Republican’s frontrunner in this year’s election. 

The Los Angeles LGBTQ+ scene continues to thrill. Enjoy these highlights of Los Angeles living that demonstrate the best LGBTQ+ people experienced in 2023.  

The Blade readers nominated finalists; the top five vote getters in each category were then added to the final ballot. Twenty thousand readers then voted and the winners are presented here. The Blade congratulates each of this year’s winners and finalists.

Local Heroes Presented by The Ariadne Getty Foundation

Reverend Troy Perry

There were numerous foreparents of the LGBTQ+ movement. Individuals who stepped up and created part of the foundation on which today’s LGBTQ+ citizenry benefit. Reverend Troy Perry was one of those parents. Without him both the LGBTQ+ spiritual and pride communities would be without a significant legacy, if they existed at all.

Before 1968 there was virtually no Christian denomination of any kind that was not hostile, let alone tolerant or welcoming, to out LGBTQ+ parishioners. At that time, Troy Perry felt a calling after a dark suicide attempt. He says, “The Lord was dealing with me. My previous church taught that you couldn’t be both Christian and gay. After a suicide attempt while I was arguing with God that he couldn’t love me God spoke to me in a still small voice in the minds ear, ‘don’t tell me what I can do. I love you, Troy, and I don’t have any stepsons or stepdaughters. Reread my Word.’ And reread God’s word I did.” Shortly after that revelation, a close friend was arrested.

Troy Perry, right, and his spouse, Phillip Ray De Blieck
(Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Perry’s answer was to start the Metropolitan Community Church movement which extended loving principles of Christianity (Yes, there are some) specifically to LGBTQ+ people hungry for a spiritual community. He started with 12 people in his living room. Today there are several hundred congregations in 37 countries. He performed the first public same sex wedding in the United States in 1968, and filed the first ever lawsuit seeking legal recognition for same-gender marriages in 1970, many decades before even LGBTQ+ Americans recognized the heterosexist discrimination, and the understanding that we had the ability, and responsibility, to fight back.

Perry was one of the masterminds behind the very first Pride parades in the world, LA Pride in 1970, and throughout his life has garnered the attention of presidents. Jimmy Carter called him to Washington to discuss gay and lesbian civil rights, Bill Clinton sought him out about hate crimes and AIDS and Barack Obama called him to come and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.

In 2023, Perry and his husband celebrated the 55th anniversary of their church at the Founders Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles where he reports they had “great music, great sharing and great times seeing long-time friends again.”

Many voices around the world have paid tribute. Iglesia Casa de Luz thanked him “for having been the instrument that divinity inspired in your heart to begin this mission, this inclusive ministry where all people, without distinction, can have a sense of belonging to the family of God and of being in the place correct in a place of spiritual refuge where no one is condemned.”  

Stephen Schmidt was more to the point and said, “You have reshaped the world and made the Church a safe place for our people.”

The Los Angeles Blade is proud to identify him as one of our two Heroes of 2024.

Jewel Tais Williams

Perry shares the foreparent dais with Jewel Tais-Williams. If Perry laid the foundational planks for LGBTQ+ spirituality, Tais-Williams laid the foundation for POC, intersectionality and civil rights for healthcare for the most marginalized. Shortly after Perry launched into creating MCC Church in a space no other denominations wanted him, Tais-Williams bravely stepped into an arena where no others in the space wanted her either: she became probably the first black lesbian to own a bar in Central (or any other part) Los Angeles. 

She evolved the bar, Jewel’s Catch One, into a safe haven for the queer Black community. She was visible when she really was not “supposed to be.”  She told the LGBTQ+ History project, “If you were one of the browner people then, there were things that you couldn’t do. They were jobs that you didn’t even think about applying for. The darker-skinned, for instance, couldn’t work out where the public would see them.” Well. Screw that. She was and would be seen.  More importantly, she would be felt.

She had intended for the club to be “a nice place where we could go and be comfortable.” A fight between two gay lovers changed the bar’s brand and reputation. In the early 70s, West Hollywood clubs wielded their own level of discrimination and would not allow people of color or women. Undeterred, Jewel’s Catch One expanded as a dance club in 1975.

Jewel Thais-Williams, right, and spouse Rue Thais-Williams. (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

In the early 80s, the AIDS crisis hit Los Angeles. As the LGBTQ+ community realized that no one was coming to save us, AIDS Project LA took hold with its growing support from the Hollywood community. Tais-Williams quickly realized that the total community was not getting their needs addressed and sought to rectify it by co-founding the Minority AIDS Project. APLA asked her to be on their board, and she only agreed if they would make their “face more friendly” so black community members would feel welcome to come get food and health services. In 1989, she also co-founded Rue’s House with her partner Rue. Rue’s House was the first housing facility for women with AIDS and their children in the United States.

2023 marked the 50th anniversary of Jewell’s Catch One, and Tais Williams has been featured in several documentaries including Jewell’s Catch One and Commitment to Life. She has lent her voice and wisdom to The Lavender Effect.

For those who follow after her, she advocates for “loving yourselves.” She tells us “Look in the mirror every day, and say I love you just as you are. There’s a universal plan for everybody’s presence here on this planet. How did I happen to go to this place? Why did that idea come into mind? … I just think that everything goes according to plan. The important part is you just being willing to carry out whatever you wish in the end.”

The LA Blade’s wish is to honor her as one of our two Heroes of 2024

Game Changer Award

The LA Blade is pleased to award pharmaceutical company Gilead with the 2024 Game Changer Award. This year, Gilead Sciences provided a total of $3 million in grant funding to eight organizations to provide services to communities disproportionately impacted by HIV in rural areas in the United States. (While HIV is prevalent in both urban and rural communities in the United States, resources are heavily concentrated in urban centers, and lack of public health infrastructure and heightened stigma in rural communities create barriers of access to necessary care.) These grants are part of Gilead’s ongoing Zeroing In™ program to help end the HIV epidemic by supporting organizations working to improve the overall health and wellness of communities most impacted by the HIV epidemic. Gilead selected the grantees due to their strategic, community-driven approaches toward dismantling the systemic barriers that prevent people in rural communities from accessing quality HIV testing and treatment.  As Jane Stafford, Gilead’s executive director of public affairs, states, “Gilead is proud to go where the need is greatest.” From our perspective, that is the key to being a game changer.  


Best Drag Performer

Sasha Colby

Sasha Colby/Facebook
(Photo Credit: Preston Make-up)

In 2023, Sasha Colby was crowned winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race – Season 15. As an acclaimed drag performer, actress dancer, Trans advocate and activist living in West Hollywood, LA Blade readers claimed her as their own, and their favorite. Colby started her transitional journey at age 17, became a drag daughter of the legendary Cassandra Colby, and won the pageantry circuit’s Miss Continental 2012.

Angelenos will have their chance to show her even more love in March when the Sasha Colby: Stripped Tour lands at our own Palace Theater on March 9 (tickets here).

Editor’s Choice: Rhea Litre

Best Drag Show

Showgirls at Micky’s, West Hollywood

Promo poster/Morgan McMichaels Sept. 2023

Hostess Morgan McMichaels seals the deal on the popular Showgirls at Micky’s. Great food, friendly service and convenient parking were called out as factors making this the best, but the talent of McMichaels is the coup de grace in the eyes of LA Blade readers. “Morgan McMichaels is an amazing host that will take you into the wonderful world of drag with magnificent characters,” says Julie H. “Morgan McMichaels went out of her way to make me feel special,” reports a birthday celebrant.  

Editor’s choice: Brunch with the Brunchettes at Hamburger Mary’s

Favorite Influencer

George Takei

George Takei appearing on The Shuttlepod Show, Dec. 2023. (Screenshot/YouTube)

As we enter a vitally important election year, LA Blade readers have shown that they revere the guidance of one of the great LGBTQ+ voices, George Takei. It feels reductive to even remind people of his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek. For queer people, he is so much more. He’s an actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, New York Times bestselling author, and subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.

Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign, chairman emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees and a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation Board of Directors. In recognition of his contribution to the Japan-United States relationship, Takei was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, by His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.

In 2023, Takei urged participation in our democracy, he wrote, “A Democrat was in the White House when my family was sent to the internment camps in 1941. It was an egregious violation of our human and civil rights. It would have been understandable if people like me said they’d never vote for a Democrat again, given what had been done to us. But being a liberal, being a progressive, means being able to look past my own grievances and concerns and think of the greater good. It means working from within the Democratic party to make it better … There is no leader who will make the decision you want her or him to make 100 percent of the time. Your vote is a tool of hope for a better world. Use it wisely, for it is precious. Use it for others, for they are in need of your support, too.” Clearly, his LA Blade fans know how to vote. They voted him the best.

Editor’s Choice: Gigi Gorgeous

Best Queer Artist

Guadalupe Rosales 

Guadalupe Rosales in the KCET-PBS Special: Archiving L.A.’s 90s Latinx Rave Scene. (Screenshot KCET)  

Last year’s runner up takes the top spot in 2023. Rosales’ work has been featured by Vogue, i-D Magazine, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, ArtNews, Artsy and Artforum, Univision and NPR. Rosales is a multidisciplinary artist and educator best known for her community generated archival projects, Veteranas and Rucas and Map Pointz, found on social media. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, Dallas Museum of Art and Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City. LA Blade readers are anxious for her forthcoming book East of the River coming out this year.

Editor’s Choice: Farrell

Best LGBTQ+ Bar

Heart WeHo

Heart WeHo (Blade file photo by Troy Masters)

Winning for the second year in a row, Heart WeHo is known as “where the night comes alive.” Key events in 2023 included Betsey Johnson and Miley Cyrus’ Pride Party. LA Blade readers called out its viewing parties and “phenomenal” music.

Editor’s Choice: The Abbey

Best Neighborhood Bar


Beaches in WeHo. (Photo Credit: Beaches/Facebook)

You will find Beaches in the heart of West Hollywood. Proud of its design and fashion, the hybrid restaurant and lounge is described as reflecting “nostalgia of 80’s Miami disco culture.”  The two-story space offers two full bars and VIP seating and specializes in “California Cuban Cuisine.”  LA Blade readers “love this bar!” Great music, good dancers and powerful drinks top some of the reasons why. 

Editor’s Choice: Hi Tops

Best LGBTQ+ Party

Fuego Fridays at Heart WeHO

Photo Credit: Heart WeHo

Fuego’s Friday events have people talking, and LA readers voting! Featuring Latin music, hot Latin gogos, drink specials and lasting until 4 a.m., patrons partied til morning light.

Editor’s Choice: Makeout Mondays at Rocco’s

Best GoGo Dancer

Dante Martin

Dante Martin (Courtesy of Hamburger Mary’s Long Beach.)

Regularly featured at Long Beach’s Falcon North, Dante Martin gets pulses racing and LA readers voting. He can be found online on Instagram, X and OnlyFans.

Editor’s Choice: Ernest Guillermo Borilla Espinose

Best Brunch

The Abbey

Diners at The Abbey.
(Blade photo by Noah Christiansen)

2022’s winner does it again. This year, LA readers called the “world famous” Abbey’s brunch “amazing.” Launched 32 years ago as a small coffee house by David Cooley as a safe space for the gay community. “Come as you are,” was their mantra. The stain glass window décor inspired the religious themed name and atmosphere. A 2023 review read, “Came here for brunch last Sunday, and it was everything I was hoping for and more. The food was great, the drinks were flowing, and the queens were perfection.” LA Blade readers love perfection and brunch toasted The Abbey as the best.

Editor’s choice: Beaches

Best Restaurant

Bottega Louie

Photo Credit: Bottega Louie Instagram

Winning Editor’s Choice for 2022, Bottega Louie served it up for LA Blade readers in 2023 and earned the Best-of spot! Opening its doors in 2020, Bottega Louie is known for its open kitchen and menu of pastas, salads, small plates, pizza and pastries. In addition, Bottega Louie runs a gourmet market where patrons can purchase packaged foods including confections, chocolates, pasta sauces, dry pastas and preserves. Our readers said “yum!”

Editor’s choice: Cecconi’s

Best Radio or TV Station

104.3 Pride on iHeart Radio

Photo Credit: iHeartMEDIA LA

Named the Editor’s Choice of 2022, 104.3 Pride elevates to the top spot, swapping with last year’s winner. The station considers itself the “pulse of LGBTQ+ America and plays upbeat Top 40 music (including remixes) and dance music targeted to the LGBTQ+ community. The service is also carried on the HD Radio sub-channels. The channel and accompanying online portal provide the LGBTQ+ audience with programming that aims to be entertaining, informative and uniting.

Editor’s choice: KTLA

Best Coverage of LGBTQ+ Issues by a Mainstream News Outlet


Winning for a second year in a row, KTLA featured SoCal LGBTQ+ pertinent stories that included the Dodgers uninviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Pride Night (they were subsequently re-invited, thanks to the backlash), hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ+ community and numerous stories of California schools fighting proposed anti-trans policies.

Editor’s choice: Variety

Best Cannabis Retailer/Lounge

Green Qween

Photo Credit: Green Qween/Facebook

2022s winner of this category showed that they were not done with the top spot, taking it again in 2023. Business partners Andres Rigal and Taylor Bazley launched Green Qween as “a queer-driven cannabis dispensary in an industry where LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation have been lacking.” Donating a portion of proceeds to the DTLA Proud Community Center, Green Qween sees itself as an incubator for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC cannabis brands and growers. Green Qween has declared, “We will reclaim, honor and sustain queer history in cannabis legalization by incubating LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, women-owned and marginalized brands.” LA Blade readers just see them as the best.

Editor’s choice: The Woods

Best LGBTQ+ Owned Business

Urban Pet

Photo Credit: Urban Pet

Winning Editor’s Choice in 2022, Urban Pet chose 2023 to shine as the LA Blade readers’ number one. Boasting celeb clients including  Amanda Seyfried, Jenna Dewan, Channing Tatum, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia DeRossi, Mila Jovavich, Pink, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Linda Resnick, Urban Pet is very much a reflection of its owner Zack Grey. After segueing from a 14 year career as a professional dancer, he worked as a personal assistant to a well-known dog trainer and transitioned into launching his own dog training company. He was quickly lauded for his innovative personal training and technique. Pet Product News has called him “one of the top 25 people to follow,” and Super Zoo, the largest pet industry trade show, awarded him the Retailer of the Year Award. LA Blade readers just call him “the best.”

Editor’s choice: My 12 Step Store

Best LGBTQ+ Social Group

Somos Latino Outreach and Understanding Division

Photo Credit: Latino Outreach and Understanding Division/Facebook

The Latino Outreach and Understanding Division (LOUD) is a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) that addresses the social and health disparities that threaten the Latino community through innovative programmatic, marketing and direct-action strategies. Founded in 2013 by Latinos determined to make a difference in their communities, LOUD works to fight the fight against HIV/ AIDS in underserved communities and supports critical Latino issues. Their marketing initiatives are culturally relevant and effective at encouraging positive behavioral change in Latino communities with direct action strategies throughout the United States.   

Editor’s choice: Impulse Group LA

Best House of Worship

Tie: Congregation Kol Ami and InVision Church LA

Congregation Kol Ami

Photo Credit: Congregation Kol Ami/Facebook

2022’s winner and Editor’s Choice tied this year for the top spot. Kol Ami is an important leader in the Jewish, LGBTQ+ and West Hollywood communities since its founding in 1992. Rabbi Denise L. Egers, who plans to retire in 2024, broke barriers that resulted in more LGBTQ+ inclusion at synagogues worldwide. Kol Ami describes itself as “a progressive, Reform congregation rooted in a rich Jewish tradition, with commitment to social justice, diversity and a world in which all individuals are honored and connected. Our congregation celebrates an LGBTQ+ core at the center of a profoundly diverse community.” (1200 N La Brea Ave, West Hollywood)

InVision LA

InVision LA graphic

“The worship was amazing and the pastor delivered an amazing message,” says one visitor. “I can’t tell you how priceless that message is to the LGBTQ+ community especially,” says another. InVision believes in “the demonstration of spiritual gifts given by God.” They seek to promote excellence in all things in the “pursuit of a relationship with Jesus” and proclaim a steadfast, bold decree of acceptance, affirmation and inclusion for every child of God in their midst and “every person that is to come, regardless of race, gender, class, background or sexual orientation.”

Editor’s choice: Hollywood Boulevard Episcopal

 Most Committed Activist

Chelsea Byers

Vice-Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers being sworn in on January 16, 2024.
(Photo courtesy of the City of West Hollywood)

The new vice mayor of West Hollywood, Chelsea Byers, has impressed LA Blade readers with her 17 years of social impact strategies and community organization initiatives. She has worked tirelessly with nonprofits, grassroots and activist groups. Installed in her new role on Jan. 16, Byers said, “I’m looking forward to the year ahead, full of meaningful opportunities to advance issues most important to the West Hollywood community.” LA Blade readers look forward to her growing impact as well.

Editor’s choice: Michael Weinstein 

Favorite Public Official

Lindsey Horvath

Lindsey P. Horvath became the youngest-ever Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as she took the gavel Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023.
(Photo provided by the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath)

Our 2022 Editor’s Choice, Horvath was named the favorite for 2023. As chair of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, she credits Supervisor Sheila Kuehl for supporting her to become the youngest elected woman to serve on the board. Under her leadership, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on June 6 to expand healthcare services for Transgender people and to establish for the first time a LGBTQ+ commission to advise the board on related policies and programs. Horvath has laid out her additional ongoing objectives for her tenure. She states, “Voters chose a new path forward — a path where we humanely and effectively solve our homelessness crisis, a path where we invest in meaningful public safety solutions, a path where we fight unequivocally for full reproductive freedom, and a path where we urgently protect our environment and create a sustainable future for generations to come.” LA Blade readers are on board and chose her as their hope for the future.

Runner-Up: Adam Schiiff 

Most LGBTQ+ Friendly City

West Hollywood

Border sign, City of West Hollywood, California in1985.
(Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood)

The city of West Hollywood was born out of a determined campaign by LGBTQ+ activists, seniors and renters on Nov. 29, 1984. The city has a rich history and can be credited for launching iconic rock and punk musical acts. It boasts celebrity-owned bars and restaurants, unparalleled nightlife and shopping. It hosts world impacting events like the HBO Emmy Party, Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party, WEST HOLLYWOOD PRIDE and the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, the largest Halloween street party in the world. With approximately 39,000 residents, it has been called “Los Angeles’ hottest destination for the entertainment industry.” Many feel that West Hollywood sets a standard for super creative individuals representing the state-of-the-art on trends and new ideas.

The Human Rights Campaign has scored West Hollywood as earning 100 out of 100 possible in terms of LGBTQ+ friendliness. LA Blade readers already knew that as they name West Hollywood the friendliest city for the fifth year in a row.

Editor’s choice: Palm Springs

Best Local Pro Sports Team

LA Dodgers

LA Dodgers graphic

Earning the top spot was not an easy feat for the Dodgers this year. Sure, they had a lock on it going into their 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night. For that event, they announced their intention to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence activist organization. Then the fires of hell, as some evangelicals might have predicted, broke out. Right wing homophobes clutched their pearls in protest. Shamefully, for five days, the Dodgers caved, and dis-invited the Sisters. Then, as the LA Times describes it, the Dodgers “Did the right thing by bringing them back.” As the Sisters were honored inside the stadium, thousands protested outside. The LA Times commented, “They didn’t listen. They didn’t run. They didn’t cave. The Dodgers, who caved once, didn’t cave again.” For that, LA Blade readers thank them, and have declared the Dodgers the best local team for the fourth year in a row.

Editor’s choice: LA Lakers

Best Realtor

The Collective

Photo Credit: Bryan Danna – The Collective Realty

The Collective bills itself as the “hippest Boutique Real Estate Agency with some of L.A.’s most experienced real estate agents.” At the heart of the Collective is the vision to be guides to building wealth through real estate. The team says it is not your average set of agents who simply search for homes or lists them on the MLS. They have created a company that is education driven through webinars and events, both for their own agents, and their clients.  LA Blade readers were impressed.

Editor’s choice: Rodeo Realty

Best Ally

Hilda Solis

Los Angeles County First District Supervisor Hilda Solis speaking at a Jan. 3, 2024, press briefing as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and California Gov. Gavin Newsom look on.
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Hilda Solis, the daughter of immigrants, was raised in her San Gabriel Valley working-class family. As a county supervisor, United States Secretary of Labor and lawmaker, Solis has always been an effective champion for expanded quality health care, new solutions to the homelessness and housing crises, reimagining public safety, cleaner air and water, immigrant rights and better jobs and economic opportunities for all. Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. This year she advocated for the move to expand Transgender healthcare services and establish a LGBTQ+ commission. Soils stated that the actions were to counter anti-LGBTQ+ bills being promoted and passed around the nation. For that, LA Blade readers stated, “Thank you!”

Editor’s choice: Laura Morales Garcia

Best Salon/Spa


Photo Credit: Flex SPAS

FLEX Spas Los Angeles is a premier all male private club. Their facilities are an exclusive/private all male membership facility providing accommodations for full gym facilities, suites, cabanas, lockers, personal trainers and massage therapists.

Editor’s choice: Burke Williams

Best Car Dealership

Honda of Hollywood

Honda of Hollywood graphic

Honda of Hollywood is family. “Great staff, friendly service, feels like a small family-like environment” promises one customer. “At Honda of Hollywood, we strive for excellence during every visit. Our team of experts is here to help you with all of your automotive needs … Whether you’re from Hollywood, Los Angeles, or another city, get in touch with our team to experience superior customer service,” they state. “Amazing dealership. Recommend 100 percent,” is their usual customer mantra. LA Blade readers have test driven them into being the Best Car Dealership for the third year in a row.

Editor’s choice: BMW of Beverly Hills

Best Doctor/Medical Provider

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation graphic

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest provider of HIV/AIDS healthcare in the world. It currently has 1,725,070 patients in care across 45 countries. As a global non-profit, it provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy. In recent years, AHF has expanded its focus on global public health to include housing, food security, pandemic response and preparedness, and more. Their local fans, and LA Blade readers, agreed naming them the year’s best for the fourth year in a row.

Editor’s choice: One Medical

Best Fitness

LA Fitness, Hollywood

LA Fitness graphic

Founded in 1984, LA Fitness now has over 550 clubs across the U.S. and Canada. LA Fitness highlights their offerings this way: “LA Fitness offers many amenities at an outstanding value. Gym amenities may feature functional training, state-of-the-art equipment, basketball, group fitness classes, pool, saunas, personal training and more!” Its clients call out its wide range of equipment, friendly staff, great classes and convenient parking. For the third year in a row, LA Blade readers have named LA Fitness the best.

Editor’s choice: Equinox on Sunset

Most LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace

City of West Hollywood

Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

The city of West Hollywood strives to maintain a high-quality work environment with competitive compensation and benefits. They have publicly committed to engage, attract, develop, support and retain the best workforce to provide exceptional customer service to the West Hollywood community. The city government states, “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+. The city has advocated for more than three decades for measures to support LGBTQ+ individuals and has been in the vanguard on efforts to gain and protect equality for all people on a state, national, and international level.” This resonates with LA Blade readers who think they are the most LGBTQ+-Friendly around.

Editor’s choice: Getty Museum

Best Non-Profit

Equality California

Equality California 2023 Palm Springs Awards. (Photo Credit: Equality California)

Fighting for full, lived LGBTQ+ equality, Equality California has numerous initiatives. These incorporate passing pro-equality legislation, electing pro-equality leaders, fighting for civil rights in the courtroom, reducing disparities in LGBTQ+ health and well-being, developing a pipeline of LGBTQ+ leaders and increasing civic participation within the LGBTQ+ community. LA Blade readers appreciate their leadership and have voted them the best non-profit.

Editor’s choice: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. (Screenshot/YouTube The Tonight Show)

Bradley Cooper is earning huge recognition for his self-directed performance in the film Maestro. The film portrays the life of the legendary Leonard Bernstein and his bisexuality. His performance has earned him nominations for Golden Globes, Bafta, Critics Choice and SAG awards. So far, he has not won any of those but, hey Bradley, with LA Blade readers, you’re a winner, Baby.

Editor’s choice:  Jodie Foster

The Getty

Photo Credit: The Getty

The Getty embarks on numerous philanthropic projects including several supporting the LGBTQ+ community. As this year’s winner, The Getty confirms that it is a Los Angeles treasure. In its two locations, it represents over 6,000 years of art. Besides a library collection of books, archives and services, the museum holds over 100,000 artwork images as well as special collections. The Getty Center, with its bird’s eye view of Los Angeles, is located in Brentwood and showcases European art amid modern architecture. Its second location is the Getty Villa Museum which lies along the coast and displays ancient Greek and Roman art in a recreated Roman house. LA Blade readers have shown their appreciation for the second year in a row by naming the Getty as the Best Museum of the year.

Editor’s choice: LACMA

Best Theater

LA Opera

Photo Credit: LA Opera

With six mainstage productions, the LA Opera kicked off its 38th season “offering illuminating interpretations of classic works through the extraordinary artistry of the world’s leading musicians.” The season’s roster included Alexander Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf, the LA Opera premiere of William Grant Still’s Highway 1, USA, the company premiere of El último sueño de Frida y Diego, Don Giovanni, La Traviata and Turandot. LA Blade readers were humming along and belted out a sincere “you’re the best.”

Editor’s choice:  LACMA

Best Music Venue

The Hollywood Bowl

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

Three years ago, the Hollywood Bowl won for Best Virtual A&E Events. Two years ago, they were named the Best A&E Venue. This year, marks their second win — for Best Music Venue. This can only lead you to conclude that live or virtual, artistically or musically, in the eyes of LA Blade readers, they are still perennially the best. Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the premier destination for live music, hosting everyone from Billie Holiday to The Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma under the iconic silhouette of its concentric-arched band shell. Janet Jackson opened the 2023 season and LA Blade readers were impressed.

Editor’s choice:  Disney Concert Hall

Best Hotel

Fairmont Century Plaza

Fairmont Century Plaza Pride graphic.

Fans cite the hotel’s great location, excellent staff and overall beauty as the secret formula the Fairmont commands over other hotels in the area. A recent reviewer said, “This is one of the nicest and most luxurious hotels my family and I have stayed at. The room was huge … The staff were exceptional and very attentive. This hotel is in a great location next to Century City Westfield in a very clean and safe part of Los Angeles.”

Editor’s Choice:  Sunset Tower

Favorite Musical Artist

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton with god-daughter Miley Cyrus Dec. 31, 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Last year, Dolly was our Editor’s Choice. Since she kicked off New Years 2023 with goddaughter Miley Cyrus, her popularity shifted into high gear. In defense of her Transgender audience she was quoted this year as saying , “How we are is who we are.” She ended the year releasing her rock album Rockstar at the end of 2023 and it shot immediately to #1 on the charts. LA Blade readers agreed and put her #1 in their hearts.

Editor’s choice:  Bad Bunny

Best LGBTQ+ Event

GLAAD Awards

GLAAD Media Award.
(Photo Credit: GLAAD)

Winning the top spot for the second year in a row, the GLAAD Awards has special meaning for the LA Blade. It, and sister publication, the Washington Blade won the Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ+ Media. The award honors a pioneering individual, group, or community media outlet that has made a significant contribution to the development of LGBTQ+ media. The award is named after Barbara Gittings in recognition of her groundbreaking work as editor of The Ladder, and for her appearances as an out lesbian on national news media throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The award program featured appearances by Christina Aguilera who was introduced by Club Q Survivor, Michael Anderson. Bad Bunny was honored with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award and was introduced by Ricky Martin; Jeremy Pope received GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award and was introduced by Gabrielle Union. As for best LGBTQ event, LA Blade readers honored GLAAD.

Editor’s choice:  OutFest

Best Regional Pride

WeHo Pride

LA Blade graphic

WeHo wins for the second year in a row. Last year, the City of West Hollywood presented its second WeHo Pride in early June, kicking-off celebrations across the nation during Pride Month. WeHo Pride Weekend celebrations in and around West Hollywood Park included an all-weekend music fest dubbed OUTLOUD with performances from Grace Jones, Carly Rae Jepsen, Orville Peck, Passion Pit, Santigold and Princess Nokia. LA Blade readers named it the best around again.

Editor’s choice:  LA Pride

Best Streaming Service


Revry graphic

Revry is the world’s first global queer TV streaming network. It offers free 24/7 live TV channels and on demand movies, and shows. The network launched in 2016 and only focuses on queer content and creators. It was founded by Damian Pelliccione, Alia J. Daniels, Christopher Rodriguez, Wadooah Wali and LaShawn McGhee. Revry releases original content, including the series Gayborhood, Before I Got Famous and Drag Roast.

Editor’s Choice: Amazon Prime

Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Entertainment Company


Featuring top caliber LGBTQ+ content such as Rustin, Nyad and Maestro in 2023, Netflix waved its rainbow flag loud and proud. Other queer content included, Heartstopper, The Young Royals, Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story and long timers like Orange is the New Black and Grace and Frankie.

Editor’s choice:  Paramount Pictures

Best LGBTQ+ Friendly Employer of 100+ Employees


Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Disney’s commitment to their employees includes investing in and supporting their people “through our focus on creating a collaborative and inclusive workplace culture, investing in their well-being, health and safety, and providing opportunities for their continued growth, development, and career mobility.” The company is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: Media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. DeSantis may hate them, but LA Blade readers love them.

Editor’s Choice: TikTok

Best LA Region Airport


Photograph courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Last year’s Editor’s Choice landed its planes in the Best spot this year. Providing enhanced travel experiences across Terminals 2 and 3 this year, LAX surpassed pre-pandemic passenger numbers on consecutive days. With more domestic travelers beginning or ending their trips at LAX than any other U.S. Airport, it has gotten both busier and better. LA Blade readers named it the best.

Editor’s choice: Hollywood/Burbank


Best of LGBTQ LA

7th Annual Best of LGBTQ+ LA, honoring our community

The ceremony was cohosted by drag queen Rhea Litre & LA Blade publisher Troy Masters featuring performances by Eloise Alterman & Damez



The 7th Annual Best of LGBTQ+ LA Awards ceremony was held at Heart nightclub in West Hollywood on January 27. (Photo by Jorge Barragan)

By Rob Salerno | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The 7th Annual Best of LGBTQ+ LA Awards celebrated the best that the queer community in Los Angeles has to offer with a ceremony and show at Heart nightclub in Weho Sat Jan 27, with local dignitaries and celebrities in attendance to pay tribute to the people and places that make us all proud.

The winners of the Best of LGBTQ+ LA Awards are chosen by readers of the LA Blade via an online poll, so the awards are a real honor bestowed by the community itself. 

The ceremony was cohosted by drag queen Rhea Litre and Los Angeles Blade publisher Troy Masters and featured performances by up-and-coming musicians Eloise Alterman and Damez.

A particularly emotional moment came when actress and author Mackenzie Phillips was honored with the Leadership Award for her work with Breathe Life Healing Centers as a director and substance use counsellor, and her podcast “America Recovers.”

Mackenzie Phillips (Photo by Jorge Barragan)

“I’m having chills right now,” Phillips said on receiving her award. “I get to work every day with our community. We have a dedicated track for men who struggle with meth use. It is incredible to see the change and do this work.”

West Hollywood’s Mayor John Erickson was on hand to accept three awards on behalf of the city, including most LGBTQ-friendly city, most friendly workplace, and best pride festival in the Los Angeles region. 

Erickson could barely contain his excitement about this year’s Weho Pride Festival, which will be happening May 31-Jun 2.

“I legally cannot tell you who is performing, but you won’t want to miss it,” Erickson said.

Erickson also acknowledged The Blade for its work bringing the community together. 

“Let’s give it up for the Los Angeles Blade! They’re doing such great work,” he said.

West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson (Photo by Jorge Barragan)

A recurring theme through the night was that the leadership that means so much to the community often started from humble roots.

Jose Ramos, who accepted the award for Best LGBTQ+ Social Group on behalf of Somos Latinos Outreach and Understanding Division (Somos LOUD), told the audience that the HIV/AIDS awareness organization started as a tiny group in 2013.


“It began in my kitchen, and we’re now fully funded with 26 chapters around the world in 14 countries,” Ramos said. “Thank you so much for recognizing us.”

Both of the Local Heroes Awards, presented by the Ariadne Getty Foundation, are longstanding community activists who led massive change from small beginnings. Reverend Troy Perry was honored for his work founding the Metropolitan Community Church, one of the first Christian denominations to welcome the LGBTQ community, and for his tireless advocacy for LGBTQ rights over the more than 55 years. Unfortunately, Perry could not attend the ceremony due to health reasons.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition. I realize that we’re in the fight for our lives once again, and I call on all our community to vote this year. We know who our enemies are, and we thank god that we know who our friends are,” he wrote in a statement that was read at the ceremony.

Blade publisher Troy Masters speaking about Local Hero honoree Jewel Tais-Williams.
(Photo by Jorge Barragan)

The other Local Hero honoree was Jewel Tais-Williams, who established the Catch One restaurant and nightclub as a venue that would welcome Black and female members of the LGBTQ community at a time when many other gay bars would not. In the 1980s, she also cofounded the Minority AIDS Project and Rue’s House to take care of minority community members who were overlooked by the AIDS response.

Damez (Photo by Jorge Barragan)
Eloise Alterman (Photo by Jorge Barragan)
Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey P. Horvath accepting her award as Favorite Public Official as Blade publisher Troy Masters looks on.
(Photo by Jorge Barragan)

Editor’s Note: For more photographs and video of the event visit the LA Blade Facebook page:


Rob Salerno is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.

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Best of LGBTQ LA

Los Angeles Blade celebrates 2024 ‘Best of LGBTQ+ LA’ awards

LA Blade is set to celebrate its 6th Annual Awards with performances by rising new musical stars Damez and Eloise Alterman



Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Blade, LA’s premiere LGBTQ+ media outlet and nation’s only LGBTQ+ Media member of the White House Press Corps, partner newspaper of the venerable Washington Blade in DC, will present the 2024 Best Of LGBTQ+ Los Angeles Awards at Heart Weho on Saturday, January 27 from 8:00 p.m.

This glittering event will be emceed by noted Drag Performer and musical Artist Rhea Litre and Los Angeles Blade Publisher Troy Masters and promises to be a night of dazzling performances and important recognitions of some extraordinary pioneers of the LGBTQ+ community, its businesses, agencies, leaders and social life.

In 2021, Los Angeles Blade publisher Troy Masters honored Los Angeles based philanthropist Ariadne Getty for her landmark donation to Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) community. In 2023, the recognition went to former LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. 

This year’s Hero Award recipients are the Reverend Troy Perry, Founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, an LGBTQ+ affirming Christian Church that has a presence in over 20 countries, and on every inhabitable continent and reaching hundreds of thousands of people. He also established LA Pride, the world’s first celebratory Pride Parade. Also being honored is Jewel Thais-Williams, an extraordinary woman whose vision saved lives, establishing HIV services when there was very little to no support and who was a force in integrating the LGBT community by establishing safe-spaces and creating a vibrant alternative nightlife scene in Catch One, the LA version of Studio 54.

“For the past seven years, Los Angeles Blade has hosted the ‘Best of LGBTQ+ LA’ Awards and each year the event has become more powerful and more important to the community and to the future of the newspaper. “We are thrilled this year that we can celebrate at Heart Weho, a venue that is quickly becoming center stage to LA’s dynamic music scene,” Troy Masters stated.

With over 30 prestigious categories, the Los Angeles Blade “Best of LGBTQ+ LA” Awards will shine a spotlight on diverse stories and artists, activists and community notables and others who have championed critical LGBTQ+ issues and connected so powerfully with the community.

For the first time, the event will have a music focus, featuring two incredibly powerful performers.

Presenting a special honor to Gilead Sciences, performer Damez, a rising musical talent who has graced the 2020 cover of Out Magazine and others and who was celebrated by the GLAAD Media Awards for the past couple of years, will pay tribute to Gilead’s powerful role in prevention and treatment of HIV and their philanthropy to LGBTQ+ causes, including journalism.

And emerging star Eloise Alterman, a noted ally who has worked with Marin Morris and is a rising pop star, will honor the Ariadne Getty Hero Award recipients and other people awards with a musical tribute.

“We are profoundly proud to feature phenomenal new talent who are pushing boundaries and amplifying the voices and needs of our community. Amidst challenges and misrepresentations we increasingly face, their work ignites understanding, fosters love, and celebrates the extraordinary richness of our journeys,” added Masters.

With live performances, special presentations, and the electrifying buzz of recognition, it’s an event no LGBTQ+ Angeleno can afford to miss.

So, join us on January 27th as we raise a glass to the media trailblazers and storytellers who illuminate our journeys and light the path towards a brighter future. Let the Los Angeles Blade Awards be your beacon of hope, your anthem of pride, and your unforgettable night of belonging!

Stay tuned for further updates on nominees, presenters, and exciting surprises ahead!

In the meantime, mark your calendars, grab your glitter, and let’s prepare to celebrate the brilliance of the LGBTQ+ community at the 2024 Los Angeles Blade Best Of LGBTQ+ Los Angeles Awards!

The 2024 LA Blade’s Best of LGBTQ+ LA Awards are sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Visit West Hollywood, Equality California and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Heart Weho | January 27, 2024 | 8:00 p.m.

For more information for this free event go to [Link].

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