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Why L.A. Needs Two Pride Celebrations

Why L.A. Needs Two Pride Celebrations

DTLA Proud

Is there room enough for two Prides in a single American city? The organizers of DTLA Proud believe so.

This Sunday we will be hosting our first annual DTLA Proud Festival. The daylong event, which takes over Pershing Square, is a community-organized celebration of downtown Los Angeles and the people who live, work, and play in our neighborhood every day. Anyone who attends can expect a full program of live performances from talent representing the entire LGBTQ spectrum, the opportunity to explore more than 40 community booths, plus a host of other experiences, including Summertramp with its wildly popular pop-up water park. If that weren't enough, we have arranged for the fabulous Boulet Brothers to keep things interesting as our masters of ceremonies.

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Of course, downtown L.A.'s recent revitalization has been widely publicized (at least among Angelenos). It began a few years ago with an unprecedented influx of new residents -- many of them LGBTQ -- and was immediately followed by a boom of world-class restaurants, trendy bars, well-respected galleries, and myriad other entertainment venues, all coming together to transform downtown L.A. into the vibrant city center it is today. As the new downtown emerged, a call to organize high-profile LGBTQ event started to percolate, bubbling up in many different pockets of the community. Naturally, it didn't take long before those conversations organically came together and inspired a handful of local residents, business owners, and community leaders to act. With a shared vision to establish a new and original event unique to downtown L.A., we immediately reached out to as many local groups as possible, to get their input and enlist their participation. We received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response.

Making this a truly community-driven event became especially important to us in the wake of the recent Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando. Forty-nine people -- most of them LGBTQ -- were taken from us. And even if we had never met any of the people there that night, they belonged to us. Collectively we felt grief for their friends and families and anger because what had happened was unacceptable. We feel it is more important than ever for us to come together as a community and be proud of who we are, be proud of our diversity, and welcome anyone who identifies with us.

To that end, we have worked very hard to create a truly accessible, inclusive event. This is why we set ticket prices on Eventbrite at $10, so that anyone who wants to join us, can. We didn't start this event because we wanted to profiteer from it, we created DTLA Proud because we love our neighborhood and all the LGBTQ things it has to offer. We hope it's a success because we plan to use all of the proceeds toward organizing next year's festival.

And hope to see you then too.

OLIVER ALPUCHE is the owner of the Redline bar in downtown Los Angeles and an organizer of the DTLA Proud festival. RAQUEL CASTANEDA was a castmember of The Real L Word and is also an organizer of DTLA Proud.

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