Home #Hwoodtimes Finding PRIDE in West Hollywood, CA

Finding PRIDE in West Hollywood, CA

By Alex Banx

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 6/2/23 – If you’re already onboard, you can skip to the end of set times.

As I sit here in Mexico on an unpaid vacation from my day job, in town for Puerto Vallarta PRIDE, my mind can’t escape all the division within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community continuously escalating in the “United States”—it’s beyond time to change that name is a country thriving on division, bigotries, and separatism.

In addition to the classic longstanding, never-ending oppressions of LGBTQ beings, flip-flopping corporate performative allyship (like Target, Budweiser, and the LA Dodgers, to name a few) profiting off Pride month have made it even harder for many LGBTQ folks to remember why we still need PRIDE.

It’s too easy to repeat recycled generic rants about how “rainbow capitalism” is bad. It’s harder to have the deeper conversations about what is actually happening. Capitalism means different things to different people. When I see people who choose to spend effortless gained money on partying, clothes, and drugs guilt the hard-working people in their lives or guilt strangers and acquaintances on their social media channels into funding their bad habits, I see form of broke capitalism. They do not care who they have to take advantage of to get what they want. Companies giving 0-10% to LGBT-centric orgs for a rise their sales during PRIDE month may help those orgs more than they raise most months, but it’s not enough when it helps the companies more than they usually profit as well, especially when those companies invest in politicians attacking LGBTQ+ human rights.

So, which companies can invest in PRIDE events, and which can’t?

While we’re all expecting to stay on top of what every business, organization, person, and politician is doing at all times; that’s not possible. Dwelling on what others are doing wrong, can sometimes be a excuse to not step up and take action. Having PRIDE to me means leading by example. Finding the balance between working with every willing to work towards making positive change happen.

This means companies stepping up, this means individuals showing up, this means organizers holding each other accountable for who and why PRIDE is for.

Mainstream exposure has help raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, struggles, and accomplishments; it gets the message that you are not alone to more people in more less diverse areas in desperate need of more diversity. More more more! Events, marketing, and branding offer perspective. Not all perspective are true, as we know. It takes funding to get messages out there.

The mainstream world can unshelter people trapped in doomsday bunkers. I know hundreds of people that came out thanks to lives they were exposed to via Tumblr. The internet isn’t free, someone else is just paying for it. Social media isn’t free, it’s paid for by advertisers. A not from the Tumblr generation and I don’t want to know the TikTok generation is being exposed to. People need perspective, they need to community engage, they need to see support for people they admire; this is what PRIDE is great for. Get out there and get to know individuals.

Those open to it, can learn to appreciate other people’s journeys, whether they relate to them or not; real people, real stories—and that can help create self-love and independently financially beneficial opportunities for LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations that help more of us reach our dreams; even if they dream is simply having a comfortable place to call home.

Ally support and raising general awareness get human rights laws passed.

Fighting homophobic and transphobic attacks on our livelihoods is expensive and time consuming. That being considered, we cannot expect corporate America or LGBTQ+ non-profits to save us, not all of us. Especially when corporations withdraw their allyship as we’ve seen this year. Not every LGBTQ+ person wants every LGBTQ+ person to thrive. The infight and endless finger-pointing within the “community” is no secret. Generalizations and bigotries seem to be human nature.

PRIDE is meant to bring us back to together. We can hold individuals and organizations accountable without expecting the results we want, without expecting life to be fair, and we should be able to check ourselves, and acknowledge that not everyone has to fit into are definitions of what a acceptable LGBTQ person should look and act like. To Hell with new binaries.

We need to come together and show ourselves and the world how we celebrate our differences and celebrate the many obstacles we have overcome.   

With PRIDE, we celebrate the lives of those who came before us, past and present, who will be remembered.

LGBTQ+ contributions to the world, worldwide, are unapparelled.

Stormé, Marsha P, Sylva and all the freedom fighters that came before and after them deserve a parade!

Big city PRIDE events across the US have been shamed for becoming too corporate. With the ever growing divisions within the community, new terminology, bigotries, egos, and insecurities, an earned lack of trust in organizations that built themselves up the backs of women and minorities while centering masculine white men while claiming to be for the everyone, a lack of education, a lack perspective, the understanding that other people’s identities need not invalidate our own, cishet appropriation of “Queer” identities, envy, and so with much more dividing us, we need PRIDE celebrations just as much now as we always.

We are stronger together.

LA Pride in West Hollywood was the first Pride event I attended approximately 20 years ago. I’ve attended almost every year since then and many other Pride celebrations around the world. No regrets.

West Hollywood Pride became less appealing for many of us over time. West Hollywood became aggressively cis gay masculine “white passing” male-centric, and many made it quite clear they didn’t appreciate anyone that didn’t look like them around, without exception of a few straight women that idolized them.

As it is considered a safer space for the most part, West Hollywood’s “Boys Town” is often the first place LGBTQ+ individuals from all over the country and world flock to in hopes of building long-lasting friendship and a better life for themselves.

Last year, 2022, the City of West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles broke up and WeHo Pride was born. The necessary inaugural WeHo Pride remaining in West Hollywood Park was now the week before LA Pride which was held at Historic State Park in LA’s Chinatown on Saturday with the parade on Hollywood Boulevard Sunday.

The breakup made sense. LA is so much more than West Hollywood and many members of the community no longer felt welcomed in West Hollywood, but West Hollywood made progress in changing that too.

Fridays were always free and WeHo previously lumped Lesbian/Queer Women appreciation and the Dyke March, a small Trans Pride acknowledgement, and Youth Pride into that same evening. In its first year, WeHo Pride gave us the FREE Women’s Freedom Festival live on stage—TGNB inclusive. (IG) @lprojectla There was even a ferris wheel.

The Women’s Freedom Festival has been around for a while, but last year was the first year the event became an official Pride event. They’ll be back this year on Saturday, June 3rd with Madam Gandhi headlining a long list of performances at the Community Stage starting at 12 noon, followed by the WeHo Dyke March, Saturday at 6 PM.

Last year, JJLA and OUTLOUD brought us the talent for the paid stages which featured Lil Kim’ on night and Saucy Santana headlining the next.

It was amazing. JJLA and OUTLOUD made WeHo great again.

Teaming with OUTLOUD once again, the City of West Hollywood offered 2 VIP tickets, including hotel accommodations and roundtrip airfare and festival tickets to WeHo Pride 2023 because everyone deserves to be at PRIDE.

The party in the park still charges a ticket fee but it was worth every cent for those who could make it. Lil Kim headlined Friday and Saucy Santana Saturday. It was by far the best Pride in West Hollywood Park I’ve ever been too, and I’ve been to many.

This year OUTLOUD team is being GRACE JONES !!! to WeHo PRIDE.

While many of us are excited about Grace Jones’ return to La La Land at OUTLOUD, produced by JJLA during WeHo Pride 2023, OUTLOUD is bringing us a long list of beloved Queer talented artists and musicians to the stage and allies. 

“There will be something for everyone at WeHo Pride. I can’t wait to celebrate our amazing LGBTQ community!”

– City of West Hollywood Mayor, Sepi Shyne

While some artist may be more known the others, I emphasized those I’m most excited to see and hear live on stage, whether for the first time or again. I strongly suggestion you check them out and we hope to see you at WeHo PRIDE 2023.

The Line-Ups:
Friday, June 2, 2023: (free) – Idina Menzel (everyone’s favorite Ice Queen) / Jessie Ware (Disco Diva) / Shangela / Tinashe / JORDY / Tolliver / Venessa Michaels

Saturday, June 3, 2023: (free) 12 pm to 6 pm – Women’s Freedom Festival (check out the full line-up @ thelprojectla.org & (free) @ 6 pm -WeHo Dyke March

OUTLOUD: Grace Jones/ Orville Peck / Santigold / Kylie Sonique Love / Yung Bae / Cub Sport / James Barre / Rayvon Owen / Sizzy Rocket / Kentö / Eduardo Togi / Teyana Trendz

Sunday, June 4, 2023: (free) 12 pm @ WeHo PRIDE Parade on Santa Monica Blvd

OUTLOUD: Carly Rae Jepsen / Passion Pit / Princess Nokia / DRAMA / Luxx Noir London / Meet Me @ The Altar / Rubio / Jessica Wild / Black Belt Eagle Scout / Kat Cunning & SummerTramp’s gigantic waterslides are back at PRIDE Saturday and Sunday. Jump in!

General Admission: 18+ (21+ for WEHO PRIDE Passes)

General Admissions and VIP Tickets for Saturday and Sunday OUTLOUD still available.

WeAreOutLoud.com (IG) @officiallyoutloud || WeHoPride.com (IG) @wehopride

OUTLOUD @ WEHO PRIDE 2023, June 2-4, West Hollywood Park

West Hollywood Park

647 N San Vicente Blvd. from Santa Monica Blvd. to Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA, 90069

#wehopride #outloud #pride #humanrights #prideparade #westhollywood #lapride #gracejones #jjla