World’s First BLGT Pride Parade Celebrates 45 Anniversary in June

Visibility_ElisaThe LA Pride celebration and the world’s first LGBT Pride Parade will take place this year June 12 through 14 in West Hollywood, Calif.

This June, the world’s first Pride Parade, LA PRIDE, will set the stage for an epic 45th Anniversary celebration in West Hollywood.  Originally, marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, LA PRIDE began as a way to honor the fight for equality, celebrate diversity and bring the TLGB community together as one voice.

Forty-five years later the organization’s core mission remains the same.  For three days, starting June 12th and ending June 14th, LA PRIDE returns with its signature Music & Arts Festival featuring live concerts, art & culture exhibits, community events along with the iconic PRIDE Parade which brings hundreds of thousands to the streets of West Hollywood.

In 1970, a year after the modern transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual liberation movement was launched by the rebellion at the Stonewall Inn on New York’s Christopher Street, activists around the country were thinking of ways to mark the anniversary. Los Angeles TLGB community leaders, Reverend Troy Perry, Reverend Bob Humphries and Morris Kight stepped up and created the world’s first Pride Parade.

“At the time we had no idea what we were creating, we just wanted to acknowledge a courageous group that stood up to being bullied by police.  It was a microcosm of what was taking place throughout the country and we thought, what better way to make noise, get attention and excite our community than by dressing up and putting on a parade,” said parade founding father, Reverend Troy Perry.

The original parade was met with many obstacles including permit denials and police hostility but the organizers persevered, along with the help of ACLU and several community organizations which helped to push the parade forward.  Originally taking place in the streets of Hollywood, the first parade included thousands of community participants who chanted “two, four, six, eight, gay is just as good as straight” down Hollywood Boulevard while holding signs calling for equality and justice.

Today, the annual LA PRIDE Parade attendance has grown to hundreds of thousands, regularly pulls in major celebrity participants and performers and takes place over a three-day period in West Hollywood. The celebration includes an unrivaled TLGB music and arts festival and incorporates a combination of both ticketed and free-to-all-ages experiences. With the celebration continuing to grow year after year it attracts some of the best performers from new up-and-coming acts to Grammy award winners and is supported by major brands such as Wells Fargo, Anheuser-Busch and Delta Air Lines.  While the mood of the weekend is celebratory, the non-profit organization, which produces LA PRIDE, Christopher Street West, continues to focus on supporting the community through various programs including grants, non-profit partnerships and sponsorships and even low-income housing for people living with HIV/AIDS with Casa Del Sol, an APLA partnership.   In addition to community outreach, Christopher Street West has used the massive exposure that LA PRIDE receives to raise awareness around social issues that affect the community from Transgender equality to community diversity and acceptance.

“While a lot has certainly changed for our community since the original Pride Parade took place, there are still many issues that affect basic TLGB equalities.  It’s because of these issues that Pride events are just as relevant now as they were when they started 45 years ago,” says Co-President Patti DiLuigi.   “What hasn’t changed is our ability to celebrate our community, our diversity and the core of what it means to be TLGB,” said Co-President Steve Ganzell.

Key LA PRIDE Event Dates:

June 12th – Lavender Menace – A celebration of women

June 13th/14th – LA PRIDE Music & Arts Festival

June 14th – LA PRIDE Parade

*Coming Soon –  A full schedule of event dates, times and descriptions can be found by visiting:  www.LAPRIDE.org

Christopher Street West has managed to bring the much-anticipated event to the streets of West Hollywood while drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees year after year. Last year nearly half a million people flooded the streets of West Hollywood during Pride Weekend and have participated in events leading up to the weekend’s anchor moment: the infamous parade down Santa Monica Boulevard. For days leading up to the festival, dinners with Los Angeles city officials and parties honoring notable TLGB personalities are scheduled throughout various venues in Los Angeles. Celebrity supporters in the past have included:  Demi Lovato, Kelly Osbourne and Chelsea Handler, comedian Kathy Griffin, Andy Cohen and NeNe Leakes, actress Molly Ringwald, rapper Lil’ Kim, and singers Danity Kane, Jennifer Hudson, Betty Who, Kelly Rowland and Kelis.

 

Mike Szymanski
Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.” Write him at [email protected]