Though complicated, Long Beach has a long-standing history in the LGBTQ+ community (see page 9). From the iconic “Gayborhood,” to the plentiful classic gay bars, it seems a natural fit for the city to have its own Pride celebration.
Long Beachers love their community, and the gays and allies of the International City arguably love it even more. Each year, turn out is strong and everyone has fun. Even Mr. Mayor. Being the youngest, the first Latino and the first gay mayor in Long Beach, most residents know Robert Garcia pretty well. But do they know his favorite part about Long Beach Pride? The Pride L.A. does! Read all about Garcia’s Pride experiences here:
Are you excited for Long Beach Pride?
Very much so. It’s one of the best events of the year and we get a lot of people that come down to the city and check it out, so it’s always fun.
Do you prefer the parade or the festival?
You know, I like both. I mean they’re both very different. I march in the parade every year. But I really liked the festival. I mean, the festival is, um, you know… I love the music and I love seeing all my friends, so I mean they’re both excellent, but I probably lean towards the festival.
Is there anything new going on to festival that you’re looking forward to?
It’s pretty similar every year. I think what I look forward to is actually the tradition of it, kind of being the same note, good music, great dancing, good food, seeing friends. So I really like all that tradition that’s there.
Why does a city like Long Beach need a pride celebration?
Well, we have a huge LGBT population. And I think that’s really important. And so, it’s celebrated. It’s diverse, it’s large, so probably a great place to celebrate. It’s also a good way to meet new people and new friends.
Have you seen much of a change in Long Beach Pride since working for the City?
I mean it always seems to kind of get bigger and more folks from out of town come. But it still has the same energy and it’s still a lot of fun. So we’re excited.
What are some things that the city has done recently to support the LGBT community?
I think there’s always things going on. Just in the last couple years, the things that I can think of that stand out are that we’re doing a lot of work right now with with LGBTQ health and making sure that we’re focused on issues around PrEP and HIV and STI health. We continue to be very trans-inclusive. We have one of the best trans-inclusive healthcare programs and within the city where we just launched a small business preference for LGBTQ businesses.
What does pride mean to you?
Pride means an opportunity to celebrate with your community and to be completely proud of who we are and to create a space that’s free and open and welcoming for all people.
For more information regarding Long Beach Pride, visit the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc. website at longbeachpride.com