This article was published on April 23rd, 2015
West Hollywood and organizers of the Christopher Street West LA Pride Parade are preparing for what will become an epic celebration marking the 45th anniversary of the very first gay pride parade, held in West Hollywood.
The very first LA Pride parade began as a way to honour the fight for equality and celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community following the Stonewall riot in New York City. It was the beginning of the modern liberation movement, launched as a rebellion from the riots at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York. The LA Pride parade began in 1970, a year after the riots, when Reverend Troy Perry, Reverend Bob Humphries and Morris Knight took the initiative to start the very 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,” said parade founding father, Reverend Troy Perry. “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,”
“Two, four, six, eight, gay is just as good as straight,” could be heard being chanted down the streets of Hollywood at the very first pride march. But it wasn’t without obstacles. Permit denials and police hostility threatened the event, but the parade proceeded with thousands of participants, thanks to the support of local community organizations.
“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,” says Co-President Patti DiLuigi. “It’s because of these issues that Pride events are just as relevant now as they were when they started 45 years ago.”
Forty-five years later, and the mission is still the same. Today, the LA Pride parade attracts hundreds of thousands of people who line Santa Monica Boulevard to participate in the celebration. Major celebrities, LGBT community leaders, and performers all participate.
“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.
LA Pride is a three day event, held June 12-14, which includes the incredible parade, along with live concerts, art and culture exhibits, and community events.