a pride festival with a long line of visitors

Pride Season

We have all seen during Pride this month, more rainbow colors on things ranging from socks to shirts or stickers to coffee cups. I do appreciate the change in all the colors that are now being represented. I feel that now there is way more visibility for other communities because not everyone sees themselves in the six rainbow colors.

Even though each color on the rainbow represents something like life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony (blue), and spirit (purple), many do not so themselves in these colors.

I appreciate that now we have white, light blue, and light pink on the flag to represent trans and non-binary individuals. As for myself, I never really made a connection with the pride flag or the pride colors at least, until the colors brown and black were added which were for marginalized people of color and meant diversity and inclusivity.

Before I start to vent about my opinion on Pride season, I want to express that these are my own personal feelings and that my experiences or opinions do not demean any of your own feelings about pride.

I have been an out and proud gay man for ten years now. I remember going to my first pride in 2012 and being super excited to walk in the Los Angeles Pride Parade with my community and allies.

My first experience with Pride

At first, I was very nervous being a newly out young man but over the years I started getting more comfortable with myself and my identity. As the years passed by, I started to see a change in the overall pride experience. I started to see less of a family-oriented pride and more of gay men having a day or weekend to get extremely drunk. I will admit that at first when I was a lot younger, I would invite my family to come with me but as I got older it was more about hanging with my friends and partying.

This pandemic really got me thinking about the importance of community because there was a lack of it in my life due to not wanting to be social or worrying about the spread of COVID-19.

History of Pride in LA

The very first L.A. Pride Parade was held in 1970 in Los Angeles, California. During this time, no city had ever had that many LGBTQ people openly marching in the community. In 1979, the parade moved from Los Angeles to West Hollywood. I personally feel that each year that passes by it is less about being proud to be part of the community and more about the partying aspect of it.

This year they are having both a Los Angeles Pride and a West Hollywood Pride. Due to the pandemic, pride was postponed for the last two years. The organizers of pride expressed that they are moving pride back to the original location to honor the history of how it all started.

I am excited this year to see Los Angeles pride moving back to its original location from decades ago but am not very excited for West Hollywood Pride. I am also a person that frequents West Hollywood from time to time for a drink or to hang out with friends but the idea of West Hollywood still having its own pride in addition to Los Angeles pride is not impactful.

What is Pride really about?

I see West Hollywood Pride as a way to increase revenue and push out all the people who may not be able to afford it. On a regular given weekend, West Hollywood can be very pricey especially when it comes to drinks and food. This year I looked at how much the West Hollywood ticket prices are and a single-day entry ticket cost roughly seventy dollars. I remember ticket prices ranged from twenty to thirty dollars a few years ago. I do understand that due to the pandemic many places could not bring in money but how can anyone enjoy pride when they are spending that much money to be out and proud.

The prices of parking in West Hollywood that day usually range from twenty-five dollars to about fifty depending on how lucky you get. You still need to take into consideration that you also need to pay for food, drinks, or small souvenirs that they sell inside of pride. I can already foresee that attending this event, I will be spending a good chunk of money so I can only imagine how much more families will be spending.

What does Pride mean to me?

The way I see it is that in the future once I am married with a family and kids I would love for them to experience pride with me. I want them to see the community and family that they are now a part of and the community that their fathers were a part of for so long. If the prices for one ticket are now about seventy dollars, I can already see myself having to pay over three hundred dollars just to get my family into pride and that is if the ticket prices do not increase over the years.

This does not even include any other things we may buy throughout the day at pride. I do know Los Angeles pride tickets are roughly the same amount as West Hollywood. I am hopeful that the planning committee has some great new ideas for the activation of pride this year and new innovative ways to bring the community back together after years of a pandemic.

I am truly hoping that removing pride from West Hollywood and putting it back in its original location will rebuild that sense of community, identity, and love. I am looking forward to the pride parade this year and I hope to celebrate with my community once again and see my community thrive as I did before.

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