Long Beach to create an LGBTQ+ cultural district

Long Beach LGBTQ+ Cultural District

Long Beach will create an LGBTQ+ cultural district along the Broadway Corridor recognizing the community’s contributions and its history. Photo: Q Voice News file

Long Beach will create an LGBTQ+ cultural district along the Broadway Corridor recognizing the community’s contributions and its history.

Those efforts could include “signage, historic markers, and other enhancements to honor the efforts of activists, support local businesses, and attract visitors who want to spend time in a place that has been extremely important to the movement for full equality,” according to an item approved by the City Council Tuesday.

The motion passed 7-0, with council members Stacy Mungo and Roberto Uranga absent from the vote.

The  recommendation instructs City Manager Tom Modica to work with local stakeholders to create a community vision for developing and activating an LGBTQ+ cultural district recognizing and supporting the historic contributions of the community.

Stakeholders will include LGBTQ+ residents, business owners, historians, and the Long Beach LGBTQ+ Center.

It’s unclear how the stakeholders will be selected and when Modica will report back to the council with an update.

The Broadway Corridor is a significant part of the identity of the city’s LGBTQ+ community, and has been for decades. It’s located in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood, in an area lovingly called “the gayborhood.”

Many gay bars and LGBTQ+ businesses are located along the Broadway Corridor, which also has played an important role as an LGBTQ+ cultural district and space people to not only socialize, but also organize politically.

For example, on Nov. 7, 2008, demonstrators marched along the Broadway Corridor protesting the passage of Prop. 8. The California ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage.

At the end of the march, protestors peacefully gathered near the intersection of Broadway and Redondo Avenue. Long Beach police arrived on the scene in riot gear.

When the crowd, which was not causing a disturbance, would not leave, the police became confrontational and violent, arresting 15 people.

Eventually all of the cases were dismissed or the defendants were found not guilty.

The section of Broadway running between Alamitos and Junipero avenues has long been home to a strong LGBTQ+ community, including several businesses that have served our city for decades. Many of the bars, shops, cafes, and other businesses were among the only safe gathering spaces for gay, lesbian and trans Long Beach residents for many years.

The Broadway Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods of Alamitos Beach, Bluff Park, and Bluff Heights, and the East Village have been home to members of LGBTQ+ community, including many homeowners and business owners, artists, activists, and community leaders.

A few years ago, the city marked parts of the Broadway Corridor with rainbow-painted crosswalks.

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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