Just two weeks after the weirdest Pride season in history, LA Pride has announced that it will be moving out of the gay watering hole that is West Hollywood after almost five decades of celebration. The event has been organized by Christopher Street West since 1979.
On July 14th, the organization sent a letter to West Hollywood City Council indicating several reasons why they will be moving the festival elsewhere:
These include construction in West Hollywood Park, the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles, our commitment to being responsive to the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs, and our allyship and collaboration with other movements for social change.
We are grateful to the City of West Hollywood for our many years of partnership and collaboration in presenting LA Pride. West Hollywood has been a successful home for the parade and festival, providing millions with a unique and incredible experience centered in this city. The community we serve and our organization have grown during our collaborations with West Hollywood, and we have been grateful to support the city and its business community by bringing hundreds of thousands of diverse visitors to the city and highlighting West Hollywood on the world stage.
There has been no announcement as to where LA Pride will be moving the festival and parade.
Every year, millions from the LGBTQ+ community flock to West Hollywood’s bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and cafes. West Hollywood is one of the biggest gay-centers in the United States and LA Pride is the huge driving force for the city’s economy during Pride season.
On Monday, West Hollywood City Council will begin discussions on how to select an organization to produce LGBTQ+ events in West Hollywood during Pride season, reports Los Angeles Times.
LA Pride has been under scrutiny in the past for the lack of diversity in its board members and initiatives.
Most recently, after the murder of George Floyd, LA Pride attempted to organize a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration on the weekend that would have been LA Pride weekend since this year’s festival and parade were cancelled due to COVID-19. But this quickly was shut down when people discovered the demonstration was not planned in conjunction with the Black Lives Matter movement and it was believed that this was a ploy to bypass the cancellation of Pride and still hold somewhat of a “mini pride”.
Listen to this episode of Big Dipper and Meatball’s podcast, Sloppy Seconds, for some real tea about the failed organization of this protest. In it Meatball digs deep into how the planned Black Lives Matter march transforms into the All Black Lives Matter demonstration that took place on June 14th with hundreds of thousands of attendees. This new demonstration was planned completely by Black LGBTQ+ Activists for Change, BLAC, whose board is composed entirely of Black LGBTQ+ people.
West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran shared on social media:
WEHOANS.CSW announced today it is leaving Weho next year. But WEHO pride will continue every June like we have for…
WEHOANS.CSW announced today it is leaving Weho next year. But WEHO pride will continue every June like we have for the past 49 years.Four weeks ago, my colleague councilmember D’Amico and I suggested that we open up the bidding to other possible producers for our annual pride event besides CSW. Their announcement was their response to our comments.The organization has struggled for years now to gain the trust and support of the community. This year’s mishap trying to hijack the Black Lives Matter movement was just the latest example of the clumsy missteps by the organization. Trying to hijack a protest march during the middle of a pandemic and turn it into gay pride was a serious error. Trying to make it happen without the participation of Black Lives Matter and without working with the City of West Hollywood shows disrespect for BLM and the City.Weho Pride in June will happen next year. And every year as it always has on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Just not with CSW.
I look forward to the new creativity, innovation and excitement that will occur for June 2021 (pandemic permitting!) and the years that follow! Pride is the historic Boystown district and Santa Monica Boulevard. And there is plenty of room for other Pride events in other places – just like Long Beach Pride, Valley Pride and Pride on the Beach have always existed.I wish CSW well. But Weho Pride goes on! As it always has for 49 years! See you on Santa Monica Boulevard next year!
The City of West Hollywood has raised their financial support for LA Pride exponentially over the last decade and this year security measures would have been over $2 million dollars, reports WEHOville. A firm hired by the city noted that it cannot be certain if LA Pride will create a large positive financial impact on the city as the fiscal responsibility from the city has grown so much.
Others speculate that Christopher Street West has decided to pull out of West Hollywood because they have not responded to West Hollywood’s bid for next year’s event:
Pride will continue to be in West Hollywood as always. Today’s announcement appears to be a publicity stunt by the CSW organization who has refused to competitively bid on next year’s event so another operator will be selected instead. So cheer up, everything is just fine!
— Gay Los Angeles West Hollywood (@Gay_LosAngeles) July 15, 2020
So what is the real reason Christopher Street West has decided to pull out of West Hollywood?
Does the departure of LA Pride/Christopher Street West mean that a more inclusive and diverse Pride celebration can take place in West Hollywood?