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Thousands line Santa Monica Boulevard for L.A. Pride Parade

Thousands line West Hollywood streets for L.A. Pride Parade
'It's happier this year,' longtime L.A. Pride Parade attendee says
West Hollywood celebrates first L.A. Pride Parade since gay marriage allowed again in California

In the crowd watching the L.A. Pride Parade on Sunday, Raymond Sylvester smiled.

He's been coming to the annual parade since it began in 1970, when it was such a bold statement that members of the Los Angeles Police Commission attempted to prevent it, citing the potential for a violent reaction from bystanders.

On Sunday, there were families with children -- some with two dads, some with two moms -- all around Sylvester. There were kids in the parade. Smiles in the crowd. It was the first parade since the Supreme Court's landmark decisions last summer that allowed gay marriage to, once again, be legal in California. 

"It's happier this year," said Sylvester, 74. "People are happier. They can get married now. You see a lot of people pushing around their kids."

Sylvester was one of thousands of people who lined Santa Monica Boulevard, cheering at rainbow-colored floats, wild costumes and cheerleaders in drag. 

The parade has long been a sign of the times for issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. 

Four families marched with a banner reading "Scouts for Equality," saying they were demanding equal treatment of gay Boy Scouts, troop leaders and gay parents of Scouts. 

Before the parade, a transgender preacher, Dr. H. Adam Ackley, led a morning Holy Eucharist service on the street for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. 

"We praise you for being who we are, who you created us to be -- gay, trans, bi, lesbian, genderqueer and in so many other ways -- with greater beautiful diversity than we can ever imagine," Ackley said in prayer.

Church leaders said they put on the pre-parade service each year to show that there are people of faith who support LGBT equality -- and that there are people of faith who are themselves LGBT.

The parade featured 130 entrants, including grocery stores, banks, politicians, television news stations and advocacy groups.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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