LA Pride 2021: No festival or parade, maybe live events later in the year

LA Pride 2021

People lined Santa Monica Boulevard on June 10, 2018, and cheered the participants in the LA Pride Parade. Photo: Jon Viscott/City of West Hollywood

LA Pride 2021 will not have a festival or parade this year.

That announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since large, outdoor gatherings are still banned by the state. Los Angeles County just entered the yellow tier Thursday, but that designation isn’t enough to allow a Pride celebration. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that if the drop in infections, deaths, and hospitalizations continue — as they have for several consecutive weeks — the state will re-open at 100 percent capacity June 15.

That date falls just after the traditional time for LA Pride, the second weekend in June.

Officials with Christopher Street West, the nonprofit organization that has produced the annual Pride celebration since 1979, said in a statement Thursday that “potential in-person activations in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols and LA County guidelines” might be announced before June and that “LA Pride anticipates more annual programming beyond the month of June designed to ensure Pride can be celebrated all year,” but offered no details.

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LA Pride’s theme for 2021 is Thrive with Pride.

Live events aside, LA Pride organizers said they will launch a 30-day give back campaign to support local social justice and non-profit groups who have achieved equity, actionable change and stability.

Pride Makes a Difference will highlight opportunities for Angelenos to volunteer and donate goods and/or money to local organizations in Los Angeles County. Pride Makes a Difference is a new program in conjunction with Big Sunday.

Drop off locations will be set up all throughout Los Angeles, and a list of selected local organizations and drop off sites as well as the sign-up details and commitment will be available soon, the statement said.

LA Pride officials said they will kick off what would have been Pride weekend on June 10 with a live streamed concert on TikTok featuring pop diva Charli XCX and a showcase of up-and-coming LGBTQ performers across various music genres, organizers said Thursday in a statement.

On June 12 at 9 p.m., ABC 7 will broadcast an hour-long special “Thrive with Pride Celebration.”

“To thrive means to flourish and progress despite the circumstances. Pride this year is a moment for you to stop and breathe,” said Sharon-Franklin Brown, Christopher Street West’s first Black transgender woman president. “It’s a moment to remember you’re not just surviving one of the hardest years in recent memory, but growing into your truth.”

Goodbye LA Pride, West Hollywood wants a new Pride celebration

Last year also was a hard year for LA Pride. Christopher Street West announced that they would leave West Hollywood and find another location for the festival and parade. It’s unclear if the group has secured a new location.

One element that might complicate the matter is that since 2015, West Hollywood has spent several million dollars on LA Pride, most of it for subsidized security, public safety, and permits. It’s unclear if the group has found a way to cover those expenses.

LA Pride also was criticized last year for its bungled attempt at having a Black Lives Matter protest march.

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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