It’s that time of year when the LGBTQ+ community and its allies celebrate Pride. The city of West Hollywood hosts one of the country’s largest and most vibrant Pride celebrations, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the world. Sunday featured the WeHo Pride Parade, one of the largest LGBTQ+ celebrations of its type in the world. The parade began around 12:30 p.m. at Santa Monica and Crescent Heights Boulevards and traveled west to San Vicente Boulevard. 

It featured vibrant floats accompanied by bands, drill teams, dance teams, and entertainment by local businesses and institutions, including Santa Monica College, Channel Q, Mistr, and the University of California. Both Cedars Sinai and Kaiser Permanente had impressive showings of what must have been hundreds of employees and family members marching. This year’s celebration also saw several celebrities and special guests out on floats and performing, including singers Lance Bass, Adam Lambert, Kylie Minogue, and Lizzo.

Public officials were also prominent, including the West Hollywood City Council members and dozens of deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Luna rode in the parade in an old 1960s patrol car. D.A. George Gascon walked with some of his employees, and Congressmember and U.S. Senate Candidate Adam Schiff rode by in a convertible Mustang waving a Pride flag.

West Hollywood has a long history of adopting progressive policies, including leading efforts to protect and promote LGBTQ+ rights. West Hollywood became an official city in 1984, and its first openly gay mayor was elected in 1985. This early recognition and representation of the LGBTQ+ community helped create a supportive environment for the community. These policies have included anti-discrimination laws, domestic partnership registration, and support for LGBTQ+ organizations. This supportive environment has encouraged LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to establish businesses in the city as well. 

This year’s parade also featured “Lifetime Ally Icon” Cyndi Lauper, selected for her path-breaking contributions to music, activism, and LGBTQ advocacy. “Cyndi Lauper embodies the spirit of inclusivity, unity, and vibrancy that has defined West Hollywood throughout its history,” West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson mentioned in a statement before the parade. “Her unwavering dedication to advocacy throughout the years, coupled with her unparalleled musical legacy, makes her a perfect fit for this moment in time as Lifetime Ally Icon as we celebrate WeHo Pride 2024.”

In attendance ​​at the WeHo Pride Parade were thousands of people from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Along with joy and celebration, there was a strong message of inclusivity, hope, and resilience.  

“We are happy, really excited, and are thoroughly enjoying ourselves,” said attendees Zev Allison and Kai Aiyub. “The parade makes us feel very proud of our city. We live and work close by, and it’s nice that you can walk outside and feel proud of who you are, which isn’t the case everywhere. We come from different religious backgrounds—Muslim and Jewish, and it’s so powerful for us to feel accepted here.”  

“I’m bisexual and non-binary, and to me, the WeHo Pride Parade is very special,” added Kitt Hall. “Pride has changed over the years. It started as a riot and it was supposed to be a very aggressive stance for freedom for our community. It’s changed to more of a party atmosphere, which is good because I feel like we’re celebrating the happier side of it all and sharing the love and joy that Pride is. Being here gives you a sense of community bigger than you can feel daily. Everyone feels safe and welcome, and it’s nice to feel that when you can’t always feel that in your everyday life.” 

“We absolutely love the WeHo Parade Parade. The energy is just unmatched. We live in the area, and this is one of our favorite things. You come here, and it’s a giant love fest. Everybody is so happy, and you get to see people expressing their individuality and being proud of who they are,” noted attendees Franny Maufras and Megan Lange.

The annual WeHo Pride Parade exhibited West Hollywood’s commitment to inclusivity and provided a platform for the local LGBTQ+ community and the many businesses that serve it. 

West Hollywood will continue celebrating the community with “40 Days of Pride.” “Pride Starts Here” kicked off on Harvey Milk Day (May 22) and runs through June 30 with programming that includes the WeHo Pride Weekend Parade, the Dyke March, the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, and more. Headliners for 2024 include Kylie Minogue, Janelle Monāe, and Diplo.

For more information on West Hollywood’s Pride Month celebrations, click here.

Photo of the author and her husband celebrating at the parade.

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