When the non-profit Christopher Street West put on the planet’s first-ever permitted parade advocating for gay rights in June of 1970, it was just a year after the police raid of Greenwich Village gay bar the Stonewall Inn, which led to days of escalating violence, protests, riots, and the beginnings of the gay liberation movement. You may very well not have been around back then, but you can imagine that the country was a very different place, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride events now take place around the world to help raise awareness about equality and inclusion, because while times have changed, they still haven’t changed enough. The result is an over-the-top fun and fabulous festival -- filled with parties, parades, music, revelry and rides -- to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community along with its friends and supporters. Everyone (and we mean everyone) is welcome.
All of June is LGBT Pride month in LA, and thus you can expect a roster of activities and festivals throughout the city. (Santa Monica is hosting its first-ever SaMo Pride fest this year and Van Nuys hosts Valley Pride at the end of the month.) Then there are the endless freebies, discounts and themed products -- from edibles to ice cream -- businesses are rolling out, many donating a portion of proceeds to LGBT non-profits. Of course, the granddaddy of them all is still the LA Pride Festival in West Hollywood, a big old bash taking place this weekend with live music, dancing bars, food vendors, carnival rides, and more, all capped off with the mega party/parade on Sunday. Plus, this year the organizers are also throwing in a Pride on the Boulevard block party that’s free to the public. Here’s everything you need to know to get in on the Pride party and parade.