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LOCAL

08 • JUNE 22, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

What’s next for LA Pride? CSW’s new intergenerational leaders want to hear from you By KAREN OCAMB kocamb@losangelesblade.com The annual Los Angeles LGBT Pride celebration has threatened to go off the rails at several junctures during the past few years in a roller-coaster ride of internal conflict, public discord and political machinations. But Christopher Street West survived, enabling tens of thousands of people to come together for three days in June to proudly, authentically and safely celebrate LGBT uniqueness in the world. Perhaps one of CSW’s proudest moments came two years ago when organizers summoned the courage and determination to defiantly and joyously march anyway, despite the horrendous Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando the night before and knowing a man with a car full of guns had been arrested in Santa Monica on his way to West Hollywood for the parade just hours earlier. The #ResistMarch last year was the colorful political LGBT reflection of the #WomensMarch. Organized by Brian Pendleton and friends when CSW seemed too crippled by ego to remember their larger responsibility, the march felt like a 21st century homage to Stonewall and Black Cat, only this time with Hollywood stars and some of America’s most powerful political allies marching, too. What would CSW do for an encore? Would they carry on behind closed doors, bound by curious Non-Disclosure Agreements to remain silent about internal operations? Or would they engage with the community as activist caretakers of both a legacy and a dream? The 2018 LA Pride parade and festival will probably best be remembered for the surprise appearance by singer Christina Aguilera at a drag competition, the large transgender contingent leading off the parade before the Dykes on Bikes and the upset over the first-ever Saturday night festival ticket sellout. CSW apologized for that surprise overcrowding and said it is issuing refunds by emailing help@seetickets.us. The refund request will be processed by their ticket vendor, See Tickets.

CSW co-founder Rev. Troy Perry, his husband Phillip Ray DeBlieck with Estevan Montemayor and Madonna Cacciatore Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

“Historically, CSW has sold more tickets because what we have found is people will come to the festival for a few hours and they will leave. They don’t stay for the whole day,” new CSW Board President Estevan Montemayor told the Los Angeles Blade. “For the first time in CSW’s history, people got there right when the gates opened and they never left….I think that positivity and the thirst to be around like-minded people and to celebrate us, to be proud of us, was really necessary for a lot of people.” But, he adds, “We need to do better and we are working already to insure that next

CSW Board President Estevan Montemayor with wedding cake on June 10. Los Angeles Blade Photo by Karen Ocamb

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