L.A. Pride, which has taken place in West Hollywood since 1979, will be moving out, citing changing demographics and community needs.
Next year’s L.A. Pride parade will take place somewhere other than West Hollywood for the first time in four decades.
Pride organizers Christopher Street West informed the West Hollywood City Council that they’ll be moving today via email, WEHOVille reports. Their reasons for moving include “construction in West Hollywood Park, the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles, our commitment to being responsive to the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs, and our allyship and collaboration with other movements for social change.”
Obviously, every large-scale real-life event was canceled this year due to COVID-19, and that included Pride. In a world without COVID, this year’s event would have taken place on Sunday, June 14. It would have also been the 50th anniversary of L.A. Pride, which was first held in Hollywood on June 28, 1970, a year after the Stonewall rebellion in New York City. L.A. Pride moved to an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County in 1979 that, in 1984, would become the city of West Hollywood.
But in modern times, there has been some Pride drama. Critics have argued that L.A. Pride has become too commercialized over the years. In 2016, the hashtag #NotOurPride formed in response to CSW’s higher festival prices, attempted musical festival rebrand and shorter transgender and lesbian events.
And this year, in early June, CSW announced it would host a solidarity march with Black Lives Matter on June 14, Pride’s original date. That event did happen but without CSW. BLM said CSW never consulted with them, and CSW drew criticism when it was revealed they had sent a permit letter to the LAPD. CSW withdrew from the event and a new organization, Black LGBTQ+ Activists for Change, took over.
West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico called CSW’s planned march “reckless.”
“You don’t work with a partner by just dropping an event into the middle of the city with 10 days notice,” he said, according to WEHOVille.
On June 15, D’Amico and fellow West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran discussed the possibility of opening up the event to new promoters. Duran suggested that may have something to do with CSW’s decision.
“Four weeks ago, my colleague Councilmember D’Amico and I suggested that we open up the bidding to other possible producers for our annual pride event besides CSW. Their announcement was their response to our comments,” he wrote.
He noted that West Hollywood will continue to host its own Pride celebration, regardless of CSW’s involvement.
It’s not clear at this time where CSW will move its Pride event, but it certainly isn’t the first time a move has been suggested. LGBT Center co-founder Don Kilhefner and Jewel’s Catch One founder Jewel Thais-Williams advocated for moving the event downtown in a 2019 opinion piece for WEHOVille.