LA Pride 2012 proved to be a truly inclusive festivity where every segment of the LGBTQ community was able to show their true Pride. The festivities for 2012 started a few weeks back, with different types of receptions and dinners, including the one held by the Mayor of the City of West Hollywood Jeffrey Prang and The Mayor of the City of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigoza, where he opens his home so that members of the LGBTQ community can come and celebrate their own Pride. Other receptions included the 2012 honorees dinner.
The week leading up to the weekend of events included screenings of films and panel discussions around the Los Angeles area. On Friday June 8th, a wonderful celebration for the trans community took place, where there were more than 250 attendees. At this event there was dancing, hors d’oeuvres and drinks for those who were over 21. During this event there was amazing entertainment including a mariachi band where the lead singer was a trans woman named Natalia Marie and a rock band called Lora G. That same day, there was an event where the lesbian community was celebrated through the honoring for a hero and advocate to our community and who truly is a Latin@ historical monument in our movement. Rita Gonzales was presented with The Etheridge Award for her leadership and the movement in our community.
On Saturday June 9th, the festival of pride started where many different organizations participated providing different booths of information, vendors and food. The entertainment at the Latino carnival stage was taken over by different known figures from the Latin@ LGBTQ community including Andrés Cuervo, Banda Cielo, D’Manti, Norka and Shyra Sanchez. In my opinion, Banda Cielo took the day and had tod@s moviendo el cuuuuuuerpecillo de un lado a otro bailando como loc@s.
On Sunday June 10th, the LA Pride Parade started promptly at 11:00 AM with a press conference where young people spoke about the celebration of LA Pride with the LGBTQ community but also making an announcement to the larger community about the importance of ending bulling in our communities and in our schools. The parade followed after the press conference where there were many different and colorful floats from all different types of community based and private organizations, elected officials and celebrities like Gloria Alred, Chaz Bono, Jenna Talackova, Alec Mapa, and Fortune Feimster among others who came to support the parade festivities. After the parade, many people went to celebrate to the festival where there were many different booths providing information and education, promoting services, giving people some goodies and gifts and selling great food to the public who came to the festival. This year, LA Pride had a specific youth space where different organizations that provide specific services to LGBTQ youth could promote their services and information to them. Although there were comments about how the youth space needed to be more youthful, the fact is that LA pride started to provide a space which in my opinion is the first pride organization that has provided a specific youth space, I know it was not perfect, but nothing is perfect. I am sure the youth space will improve in the future.
The Latino carnival stage was off the hook on Sunday! Featuring artist like Andres Cuervo, Banda Cielo, D’Manti, Norka, Shyra Sanchez, Maria Jose who was a member of the Mexican group Kabah and La Caballota Ivy Queen who rocked the stage and had every single soul singing and dancing with her old and latest hits.
Over all, LA Pride demonstrated to be the greatest and biggest pride in the country, not only because it is the oldest and the biggest, but because it has diversity in their programming and the educational and inclusive events that they are including as part of having Pride. I was very happy and proud to be part of an event that it is truly inclusive of the community and show cases the diversity and uniqueness of our community.