Large numbers of people participated in the 40th Annual LA Pride celebration… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)
With President Barack Obama announcing he supports same-sex marriage, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has a lot to celebrate at this year's 42nd LA Pride party. The annual outpouring of love and resistance takes the form this year of a Sunday parade and a three-day festival beginning Friday with music on six stages in West Hollywood Park, a water park and about 200 exhibitors including activists, artisans and activities.
"Our message for 2012 is '… and proud of it,'" says Rodney Scott, president of nonprofit event organizer Christopher Street West. "I am a gay man and proud of it. I am a transgender activist and proud of it. I am a mother of a gay son and proud of it. We really wanted people to have their own experience of who they are authentically and uniquely and be proud of it."
The newest addition to the LA Pride celebration is a water park called SummerTramp with a 100-foot water slide, two above-ground pools and its own DJs. This will be adjacent to the festival's main stage, on which headliners Lil' Kim, Belinda Carlisle, Dev and Karmin will perform, along with 12 local, up-and-coming acts.
Another new addition to the festival is the Latino Carnival stage, which will feature Ivy Queen and Maria Jose. "About 50% of the total guest attendance at LA Pride is Latin, similar to the demographic of Los Angeles in general," LA Pride event producer Jeff Consoletti says. "And it's time for us to really start paying attention to our Latin guests and our Latin consumers."
Other festival stages include the Country Pavilion (dance lessons!), the Hip-Hop and R&B Stage, and the Underground Dance Stage, built in a parking garage. At Erotic City, guests can satisfy their desire for fetish gear, leather and erotica.
Glitter aside, Scott emphasizes that the event is important for the LGBT community. "From the questioning youth to the 85-year-old lesbian, you are not alone," he says. "And to the greater community that includes our allies, and even includes those who don't support us: No civil rights movement has ever failed — and we will not fail."
Sunday's parade follows a 1.2-mile route, beginning at Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards and ending at Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards. For info, see http://www.lapride.org.