Is It Time To Ditch L.A. Pride?
See also "Is L.A. Gay Pride an Outdated, Adolescent Mess?"
Patrick Range McDonald
Insiders within Christopher Street West (CSW), the organization that produces an increasingly lame L.A. Pride event in West Hollywood, are considering a move to downtown Los Angeles, according to a recent WeHoVille article by Matthew Mullins.
But those gay power players are mostly fed up with West Hollywood's handling of L.A. Pride, not the substance of the event itself.
Perhaps it's time to ditch L.A. Pride and CSW altogether and start a new, back-to-basics event that's free to everyone and actually means something...
As many LGBTs have noted, L.A. Pride has been stuck in a rut for years, which costs $20 to enter the gated festival and feels as if it's just one big promotional party for corporate sponsors to push their wares.
CSW would undoubtedly bring that same corporate vibe to downtown if the organization moved L.A. Pride there.
But there is an alternative.
Already there's been chatter about starting a Queer Pride event in downtown that's independent of CSW -- check out Gavy Kessler's growing Facebook group called "Take Back L.A. Pride."
"Our city needs and deserves a Pride festival that is inclusive, centrally located, and FREE," Kessler writes on Facebook. "This is a forum to begin that movement."
A no-frills event with no celebrity grand marshals, no politicians riding in convertibles, no corporate-sponsored festival, and no annual awards given to insider friends seems like just the ticket.
Just march in the downtown streets, come up with a serious, relevant issue for the event to rally around (such as more AIDS funding from the Obama administration or equal employment rights), be out and proud so queer folks know they're not alone and other people understand we're here and not going away, and make Queer Pride once again an important statement of liberty and justice for all.