The LGBT+ community has had an interesting past couple of years. The US, particularly, saw a skyrocketing of queer culture into the public consciousness. Call Me by Your Name received rave reviews from critics, classics like Torch Song Trilogy, The Boys in the Band and Angels in America inspired audiences on Broadway and the Magic Mike musical finally confirmed its release date.
On the other end of the scale, the US government had far less open arms for LGBT+ people and repealed rights across the spectrum. However, California, particularly LA, has continued to be a focal point for the community. The LGBT+ community accounts for a massive 4.6 percent of the city’s population of around 10 million. That’s only part of the story. That 4.6 percent translates into a lot of people. As of 2015 it was around the 590,000 mark, second only in the US to Greater New York’s 760,000 LGBT folks.
A driving force in LGBT+ rights
To go along with that sizeable queer community, LA has a long history of LGBT activism. Groups like the L.A. Gay & Lesbian center means that the city comes up just a couple of points behind San Francisco on the HRCME equality index, with a total score of 114.
L.A., then, is something of a hotspot for queer culture. It’s a place to celebrate your identity, appreciate the legacy left by members of the community who’ve gone before you or to just straight up have a gay old time. Here are some of the ways LA offers to let you do any of the above in 2019.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 50 Years of Queer
The Los Angeles LGBT Center, the largest LGBT organisation in the world, is celebrating a huge milestone this year. “Fifty years ago, a small group of volunteers banded together and decided to change the world,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Perhaps that’s not how they thought of it, but that’s what happened!”
Currently, the organization employs nearly 700 individuals, whose mission statement is to change the lives of members of the local LGBT community. They’ve announced that to celebrate their fifty-year anniversary, they’re holding two tentpole events which will see the grand opening of the center’s brand-new two-acre Anita May Rosenstein Campus on April 7th. To follow that up, they’re hosting a glitzy, star-studded concert at the Greek Theatre on September 21st.
Both are unmissable events that are worth catching if you’re visiting and can secure tickets.
L.A. Pride 2019
If you’re in town from June 8th to 9th, there’s nowhere else in the world to be than at L.A. Pride 2019. Details beyond the confirmed event dates for the main event are thin on the ground, but L.A. Pride always guarantees a party. It typically attracts upwards of 400,000 revellers and has a huge parade running from West Hollywood, with prime spots along Santa Monica Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and La Cienaga Boulevard.
2018’s edition saw 170,000 people involved with the parade. With the likes of Kehlani, Tove Lo, Icona Pop, Kim Petras, Eve, Keri Hilson and Natalia Jimenez performing at the festival. Christina Aguilera even made a surprise appearance during Sunday’s drag festival.
We don’t know much about it yet, but LA Pride 2019 is sure to be another massive, colourful celebration of all things queer. Check out Tove Lo’s set from last year on LA Pride’s official YouTube channel:
For those wanting to try something a little more offbeat while you’re relaxing in LA, you’ve got to do Drag Queen Bingo. Your grandma’s favourite game might not seem like the most obvious activity for the drag queen treatment, but Drag Queen Bingo is an institution and has deep roots.
Dating back to Seattle in the 1990s, the idea was conceived by the then Director of Development for Chicken Soup Brigade, a HIV support organization. The premise behind it, was to create a fun way for them to raise money that would enable them to help those in need in the community.
One such way they spiced up the bingo experience was by forming The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of drag queens dressed as nuns. On the very first night, queues were stretching round the block – and it wasn’t just members of the LGBT+ community, either. The attendees were a real cross-section of Seattle life.
Flash forward to 2019 and the Drag Queen Bingo events are still bringing together people from all walks of life – the events in Long Beach are popular with both the natives and tourists, ensuring you’ll have plenty of fun!
We couldn’t let this article pass without a shout-out to LA’s awesome LGBT+ nightlife. It’s a diverse scene that offers something for everyone. Whether you visit the hotspots in West Hollywood, get tingles from the energy in Downtown LA, or explore the historic Silver Lake area, LA will show you a good time.
The Abbey is, quite simply, breathtaking. LOGO’s “Best Gay Bar in the World” is an essential staple of LA’s gay nightlife scene. It used to be a busy coffeehouse, but these days you’re more likely to get an espresso martini than a flat white. You’ll find luxuriously chic fireplaces and cabanas, an unmissable list of martinis and mojitos and so much flair that it won’t take you long to see why The Abbey’s received so much press.
Micky’s is a real WeHo institution. Even a fire that shut the place down for a couple of years couldn’t keep it out of action permanently. It’s a great all-rounder. Those looking for a dancefloor to tear up are well catered for with Top 40 hits, but those just looking to hang out in style there’s the huge outdoor patio and fancy upstairs lounge.
Between a rich history of activism, strong community and booming nightlife, there is absolutely no reason to ever be bored in LA.