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Los Angeles dedicates first rainbow crosswalks in Venice

Los Angeles Rainbow Crosswalk

Los Angeles’ first rainbow crosswalk was dedicated Friday in Venice. Photo: Venice Pride.

VENICE — Los Angeles’ first rainbow crosswalk was dedicated in Venice on Friday.

The crosswalk, which was unveiled in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, is located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in front of Roosterfish, the historic gay bar that closed in 2016, but re-opened last year with support from Venice Pride.

Venice Pride also helped organize the effort that brought the rainbow crosswalk to Venice.

Rainbow crosswalks

The permanent rainbow crossing is modeled after crosswalks in San Francisco’s Castro District and replaced a standard crosswalk on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

Rainbow crosswalks acknowledging the LGBTQ community also have been painted in San Francisco, Sacramento, New York, and West Hollywood.

Long Beach’s Alamitos Beach neighborhood, home of the city’s well-known gayborhood, also has the colorful crosswalks. They are located along the Broadway Corridor in four locations: the intersections with Orange, Falcon, Cherry, and Junipero avenues.

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Los Angeles gay history

Friday’s dedication recognized the Stonewall Uprising, but officials want people to know that Los Angeles plays a vital and pivotal role in LGBTQ history — Three events occurred in Los Angeles before Stonewall.

Cooper’s Do-nuts

In May 1959, an uprising took place at Cooper’s Do-nuts in downtown Los Angeles. Gay men frequented this late night coffee shop, and they were frequently targeted for arrest by Los Angeles police. One evening, as the police engaged in their regular terrorism of the patrons, some of them said enough is enough. Many historians regard the uprising at Cooper’s Do-nuts as one of the earliest acts of resistance by gay people against police brutality and harassment.

Lee Glaze

On Aug. 17, 1968, two bar patrons at The Patch, a Wilmington gay bar, were arrested by Los Angeles police because one of the men patted his friend on his buttocks. Lee Glaze, owner of The Patch, was accustomed to the police terrorizing his customer, organized a non-violent, “flower power” protest. Glaze and group of supporters went the police department’s Harbor Station, where the men were being held, and demanded their release. The two men eventually were released.

Black Cat

On Feb. 11, 1967, hundreds of protestors picketed in front of the Silver Lake gay bar the Black Cat and demanded the Los Angeles police stop terrorizing and arresting gay people.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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