Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the LA Pride parade this year to celebrate the heritage and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community on a perfectly sunny day in Los Angeles. This year’s LA Pride theme – #JUSTBE – embodied the celebration of authentic expression to stand proudly in the spirit of unity and togetherness.
The LA Pride parade kicked off with a giant wedding cake. The cake, created by WeHo bakery Cake & Art, served as a giant reminder that the fight for equal rights did not end with marriage equality. Longtime transgender activist, respected female entrepreneur and parade Grand Marshal Michaela Mendelsohn cut the cake. Her partner and their young son took the first bites.
Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, West Hollywood Mayor Duran, Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico, CSW/LA Pride Board President Estevan Montemayor and Mendelsohn began with a press conference at the start of the annual parade – one of the nation’s largest and most storied Pride celebrations.
“It’s time to cut the cake for equality because we believe in having our cake and our equal rights too,” said Montemayor in a passionate speech denouncing the recent Supreme Court’s narrow ruling for the Colorado baker who refused a same-sex couple’s request for a wedding wake. “The Supreme Court may be telling our community that their civil rights are up for debate, but we say, let them eat cake!”
The parade was bright and colorful; it was loud (some are saying too long) and festive. A colorful assortment of floats streamed down a 1.5 mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. Familiar faces included the casts of Sense8 (Netflix), It’s Always Sunny (FX) and Pose (FX), along with other celebrities and dignitaries including Fran Dresher, Vicky from the Love Boat, Ketya from Drag Race, Marlee Matlin, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Attorney Gloria Allred was surrounded by several ladies dressed in “all red” (get it, Allred…?).
The LA Pride parade was founded in 1970 and incorporated in 1976. Christopher Street West Association, Inc. is a nonprofit service organization within the LGBTQ community was responsible for organizing the world’s first LGBTQ pride parade, which took place in Los Angeles.
The original intent behind this parade was to celebrate LGBTQ resistance during the 1969 New York Stonewall Riots and to provide an experience in which LGBTQ individuals could feel pride in their identities, see others like themselves in a public setting, and not feel alone.
The first pride parade took place on June 28, 1970, with approximately 1,000 people in attendance. The original route went along Hollywood Boulevard, starting at Hollywood and Highland, moving east to Vine Street, and then back to Hollywood and Highland to finish. The parade route has since moved to West Hollywood.
Since its beginnings in the early 1970s, the parade now known as LA PRIDE has had a mardi gras-like and carnivalesque quality, presenting political platforms and viewpoints in a fun and celebratory manner. Each year, the parade reflects current social and cultural happenings within the LGBTQ community.
to learn more, visit lapride.org
Below are photos of the LA Pride Parade 2018 taken by Mike Pingel and Paulo Murillo (click to enlarge).