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The ‘unity’ in community is Pride Why are you proud to be out? By SAMSON AMORE

Los Angeles’ LA Pride Parade is the oldest in the nation, and, some might say, the most diverse, drawing spectators from all corners of the earth, all ends of the gender, sexuality, race, nationality, wealth and age spectrum. The event is designed to attract a diverse audience and bystanders this year will no doubt notice a cross-section of LA represented in those marching and proclaiming their pride. It’s a time of celebration, interpersonal connection, and most of all, remembrance of the trailblazing civil rights activists that came before. But Pride can have complex emotional connections for some local queer residents. Most residents interviewed expressed mixed feelings regarding the corporate influence at Pride, and noted that the brands that are so quick to dye their logos rainbow and proclaim allyship are largely silent regarding queer issues during the remaining 11 months of the year. Some residents are skeptical of the costs of entering the Pride Festival in West Hollywood, which have been rising over the last few years. Still, Pride and the entire month of June remain an essential cultural touchstone and important community event for those who celebrate it and those on the periphery who come to witness. “To me, Pride Month means unity and solidarity, and that the community is here to stay and we won’t be taken advantage of,” said local resident Amy Osiason. NAME: Norman Nguyen AGE: 22 PRONOUNS: He/him GENDER AND/OR SEXUAL IDENTITY: Gay, cis male

Why are you proud to be out? “I didn’t have the luxury of ever being ‘in.’ I am hypervisible. You can smell the queer from a mile away and that used to be the worst. My existence as a very feminine male was questioned every day growing up, and it’s beautiful to know that my childhood shame has evolved into wisdom and confidence straight people could only imagine having in their late 50’s. I’m beautiful, I’m loud, and I’m stupid (and) to me, that’s hot.” What does Pride Month (and pride in LA) mean to you, and why is it important to the community? “I’m a gay Gemini. My birthday is on June 9 and always falls on Pride Week, so it’s nice seeing people be their fullest and most authentic self when I’m celebrating my own self. Pride is about being extra, it’s about realizing who you are and what values you have. Pride is both reflective and expressive, both inward and outward. I always

Norman Nguyen

Jay Broom

equate that duality with being a Gemini. The world is at balance during Pride.” Is there anything about Pride you wish would change? “We need to make it less about the money. Businesses need to do better jobs at donating their profits during Pride Month and cities should stop charging $50 to get into a festival. If you’re a business and you want to capitalize on Pride, hire a diverse group of queer people to handle your storytelling, branding, and marketing. If you have queer talent, make sure they’re getting paid properly. But let’s keep the angry homophobic protestors though because I love a good photo opportunity…” What’s your best/most memorable Pride experience, if you’ve attended? “At my first Pride in San Francisco, I was drunk on Svedka and saw Daniel Franzese, who played Damien from ‘Mean Girls,’ on a parade float. I was flailing and screaming, ‘she doesn’t even go here!’ He made eye contact with me and said, ‘But you go here!’ It pierced my heart in such a transcendental way no one could ever understand. Seventh grade me died. I bump into him at conventions and comedy shows now. He’s really sweet.” NAME: Jay Broom AGE: 22 PRONOUNS: They/them GENDER AND/OR SEXUAL IDENTITY: Pansexual,

nonbinary

Why are you proud to be out? “I am proud to be out because it feels incredibly liberating. As a non-binary actor being out also means that I get to work toward better representation through my roles.” What does Pride Month (and pride in LA) mean to you, and why is it important to the community? “Pride month is a demonstration of solidarity for the queer community. It acts as a reminder that we are here, we are active, we are loved, and we are ready to affect change.” Is there anything about Pride you wish would change? “I think Pride has become increasingly commodified. While some major corporations do provide year-round support for queer institutions I worry that many simply use this month as an opportunity to earn social currency and profit off of performed solidarity. I wish there was a way to curtail that without losing visibility.” What’s your best/most memorable Pride experience, if you’ve attended? “I lived in the Bay Area for a while and there truly isn’t anything like the San Francisco Pride Parade. Joyous, campy, grand, and utterly spectacular.” NAME: Kylie Kiyomi Obermeyer AGE: 23 PRONOUNS: She/her

32 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM • JUNE 07 2019

Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 23, June 7, 2019  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 23, June 7, 2019

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 23, June 7, 2019  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 23, June 7, 2019