One City, One Pride: 2012 Pride Events Guide

Throughout June, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture, diversity and artistic community through One City/One Pride, a series of festivals, parades, films, art installations, concerts, plays and lectures. The expansive array of events will appeal to many different ages and cultural identities, making West Hollywood an exciting and vibrant destination for residents and non-residents alike. June is recognized worldwide by the LGBT community as Pride Month, commemorated on the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969, which most historians consider to be the birth of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. “The City of West Hollywood is known for embracing and celebrating diversity. As Mayor of West Hollywood I am proud of our City,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang.

LGBT Pride 2012 Arrives in West Hollywood

The City of West Hollywood and Christopher Street West will host the annual LGBT Pride 2012 celebration, “PRIDE 365: Power. Passion. Purpose.” from Friday, June 8, 2012 through Sunday, June 10, 2012. The annual Pride celebration will include the Dyke March Rally; the two-day PRIDE Festival 2012; and the annual PRIDE Parade 2012. Christopher Street West, the producers of LA PRIDE, have chosen 80’s teen-queen, and current star of ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Molly Ringwald, as the 2012 LA PRIDE Parade Grand Marshal.

WeHo Parish leaves Presbyterian Church over Gay Rights

LOS ANGELES TIMES – Well before the national gay-rights movement sprang from the Stonewall riots, West Hollywood Presbyterian Church started Los Angeles’ first gay men’s rap group. The year was 1965. The congregation launched the Lazarus Project in 1977, sending gay men and lesbians into Presbyterian churches across the country to share their stories of faith and family at a time when the denomination was poised to declare that “homosexuality was not God’s wish.” The small church just off the Sunset Strip was the faith’s first to hire an openly gay pastor — 27 years before the Presbyterian Constitution allowed homosexuals to be ordained. The Rev. Daniel Smith is still West Hollywood’s pastor.

Since Gays Can’t Wed, The Abbey Bans Bachelorette Parties

The Abbey Food & Bar, known as the best Gay Bar in the World, having won the title two year’s in a row from MTV’s Logo, announced that all Bachelorette Parties have been banned from taking place within its doors. A press release from the bar called bachelorette parties an “offensive heterosexual tradition [that] flaunts marriage inequality.” “Every Friday and Saturday night, we’re flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our gogos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials,” said David Cooley, Founder of The Abbey. “They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married.”

“Over the past 22 years, The Abbey has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and everything in between,” continued Cooley.  “We love our straight girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette parties.”

It has long been a policy at The Abbey to deny admission to groups in costume, including Bachelorette regalia, according to the bar.   Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed their costumes. The Abbey’s new “Bachelorette Ban” comes on the heels of a ban on Gay Marriage in North Carolina and a number of other states across the south.

City of WeHo Announces Events to Commemorate Harvey Milk Day

The City of West Hollywood will mark the third annual Harvey Milk Day with several special events on Monday, May 21, 2012 and Tuesday, May 22, 2012. On Monday, May 21, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., during the regularly-scheduled West Hollywood City Council meeting, the book, “The Harvey Milk Story” will be presented to local West Hollywood-area elementary schools in the Council Chambers at West Hollywood Park, 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Immediately following, a Jeff Tsuji-designed Harvey Milk banner will be unveiled. “Perhaps more than any other modern figure, Harvey Milk’s life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. “At a time when society forced many to lead closeted lives, Harvey Milk dared to hope for a time when LGBT people could live openly, freely, equally.

WeHo City Council Reacts to Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality

After more than 27 years as a City and fighting each day for the rights of the LGBT community, the members of the West Hollywood City Council today expressed their profound elation that President Barack Obama has endorsed marriage equality. The following are the statements from members of the West Hollywood City Council:“President Obama has done more for LGBT equality than any other President in history – Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and now, marriage,” said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. “His record over the past 3 ½ years in office has demonstrated a strong commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including equal rights for the LGBT community. “We, the LBGT community, must now show our strong commitment to ensure that he is reelected as our Nation’s leader,” added Mayor Prang. “It has always been our hope that the President would come to view this as the civil rights issue that it is,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land.

State Senate Subcommittee Rejects ADAP Co-Pays

On Thursday, March 8, the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the California Senate’s Budget and Fiscal Review Committee voted 2-1 to reject instituting client cost-sharing in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). The proposal would have forced low-income people living with HIV/AIDS to make burdensome co-payments for life saving HIV/AIDS drugs, creating significant risk of them falling out of care. “This vote was a significant step in ensuring that people living with HIV/AIDS in California will continue to be able to live longer, healthier lives through access to ADAP,” says Eric Gutierrez, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Health Policy Director. “On behalf of the more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS patients seen in our Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic each year and the approximately 42,000 people relying on ADAP in the state of California, I want to thank  Senate sub-committee chair Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and member Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose) for having the political courage to support this crucially important program.”

Senator Bill Emmerson (R-Riverside) was the sub-committee’s dissenting vote. Although the 2-1 vote effectively eliminates ADAP cost-sharing from the governor’s state budget proposal for the second consecutive year, the controversial cost-sharing measure now goes to the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Assembly’s Committee on Budget.   If it passes there, the issue could be raised again in budget conference negotiations.

Wanted Suspect Arrested for Knife Assault, Hate Crime

As we reported on Twitter on Tuesday morning, West Hollywood Sheriff’s Deputies took a suspect into custody at gunpoint near the CVS on Santa Monica Blvd and La Cienega on suspicion of being involved in an assault with deadly weapon. Additional details have now been provided to us by the Sheriff’s Department. On January 25, 2012, at 2:25pm, a man was walking near Crescent Heights and Fountain Ave when he was assaulted by a male who attempted to stab him with a knife. The lone suspect was described as possibly a black male with a light complexion, transient in appearance and about 35-45 years of age. The suspect made derogatory remarks to the victim regarding his sexual orientation.

MLB Commissioner Comments to Boy Scouts Protested

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig is scheduled to deliver a keynote address tonight at the annual Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Character Counts Gala in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center isn’t happy about it. While Selig has publicly stated that “Major League Baseball is a social institution that brings people together and welcomes all individuals of different races, religions, genders, national origins and sexual orientations into its ballparks,” the Gay and Lesbian Center says his appearance at a an event for an organization known for discrimination throws a major curveball at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In response to Selig’s scheduled appearance at the “Character Counts” Gala of the Los Angeles Area Council of the BSA, L.A. Gay & Lesbian CEO Lorri L. Jean issued the following statement:
“Mr. Selig’s participation and support of an event held by the anti-gay Boy Scouts of America only sends one message—that inequality and discrimination are acceptable. In the past, Selig has taken a hard stance against discrimination and fined MLB employees for using homophobic slurs. He has publicly condemned the hateful behavior of certain players and coaches like John Rocker, Ozzie Guillen, and most recently, Roger McDowell—and almost a third of Major League Baseball teams this year participated in the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign.

Gay & Lesbian Center to Honor Chaz Bono at Gala

Writer, actor, musician and transgender activist Chaz Bono (Dancing with the Stars) will be honored at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s 40th Anniversary Gala & Auction, hosted by Leslie Jordan (The Help) and featuring Jane Lynch (Glee) on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. As was previously announced, Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka will also be honored. Bono, who will be honored with the Center’s Board of Directors award, has been a trailblazer in transgender activism, publicly sharing his experience transitioning to male in the documentary Becoming Chaz. Since 1995, he has been a dedicated activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, having served as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign and Entertainment Media Director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).