WEST HOLLYWOOD — The LA Pride Parade — which some critics say has become too commercialized — will return to its roots and be replaced by a human rights march, event organizers said.
The 3-mile protest march, called the Resist March, will start at Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. Marchers will turn south onto La Brea Avenue, then head west on Sunset Boulevard before turning south onto Fairfax Avenue. From there, they will turn west on Santa Monica Boulevard and march into West Hollywood to reach the final destination at the LA Pride festival, which will take place June 10 and 11.
“Our rights are in jeopardy. Forces are gathering in government that intend to take away our hard-won basic human rights.,” LA Pride posted on its Facebook page. “We are calling on everyone to peacefully march with us on June 11th. Just as we did in 1970’s first LGBTQ+ Pride, we are going to march in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity,” the post said. “Not just LGBTQ+ people but all Americans and dreamers will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized proclamation. We #RESIST forces that would divide us. We #RESIST those who would take our liberty. We #RESIST homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism. Together we #RESIST.”
PARADE HISTORY, CRITICISM
Los Angeles organized the nation’s first gay pride parade in 1970; the festival started four years later. The parade marched down Hollywood Boulevard, but eventually moved to West Hollywood for several reasons:
- The enclave had a large gay and lesbian population and was considered more gay friendly than Hollywood
- The festival had outgrown its Hollywood site
- The continuing hostility of the Los Angeles Police Department.
But for more than a decade, parade organizers have faced mounting criticism that it has become a glorified showcase for commercialized floats and embarrassing grand marshals (remember Paris Hilton?).
Parade and festival organizers announced the parade would be replaced by a protest march during a March 8 meeting at the West Hollywood Library Community Room.
They also said the festival will be facing some changes — especially because 70 percent of the location at West Hollywood Park will be closed due to three-year construction project that began in January.
Pride officials floated the idea of moving part of the festival onto Melrose Avenue between Huntley Drive and Robertson Boulevard, but the West Hollywood West neighborhood association oppose that idea.
As a result, city officials are in the midst of negotiations, on behalf of Christopher Street West (the nonprofit that produces LA Pride), to see if part of the Pacific Design Center parking lot and/or the adjacent L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metropolitan Transportation space can be used for the festival.