Christopher Street West (CSW), the non-profit producers of the LA PRIDE celebration, Thursday unveiled an important educational initiative as it gears up for the 44th annual event taking place June 6-8: “LA PRIDE: The TLGB Celebration.” CSW also announced it had formed a transgender coalition to determine ways to best leverage LA PRIDE to bring a better understanding of issues related to the transgender community.
“This year, Christopher Street West decided to make a bold statement about our commitment to education by leading with a capital T,” said Steve Ganzell, board co-president of CSW. “When you see the hate and ignorance directed towards the transgender community, sometimes even from within our own community, we felt compelled to use LA PRIDE as a platform to highlight issues surrounding the community as well as taking the opportunity to celebrate our transgender family.”
LA PRIDE Parade gathers hundreds of thousands of participants, spectators and marchers, with millions more able to globally view it online, while the LA PRIDE Festival attracts well over 50,000 attendees to West Hollywood Park to celebrate diversity and community from Grammy Award winning artists performances, to art & heritage installations and exhibits to community events and initiatives.
After consulting with the organization’s volunteer Transgender Coalition, CSW has committed to hosting specific transgender initiatives before and at LA PRIDE this year. These initiatives include transgender educational experiences like the transgender diversity trainings led by the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in our own backyard and LA PRIDE offers a great platform to continue the education process,” said Dr. Jaye Johnson, LA PRIDE Transgender Coalition member and President of Alpha Omega Nu, the NuMan Transgender Support Network and the Trans Wellness and Wellbeing Conference. “In addition to educating all CSW board members, staff, consultants and volunteers, diversity workshops will also be offered to all LA PRIDE exhibitors, sponsors and organizations participating in the parade and/or festival.”
The coalition includes a diverse range of voices from within the community, including trans students, community leaders, organizations and allies.
The coalition is currently in talks to co-host a “Transgender Stories & Terminology in the Media” event with the local chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association as well as a “Transgender History Tour” of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries.
“Our goal for the initiative is to be a resource to give the transgender community a larger platform and a louder voice. Our intention is not to re-invent the wheel or replicate work that is already being done. Nor are we urging other organizations to change their acronym. Instead, we hope to help identify areas where we can bring more trans visibility before and at LA PRIDE,” said Patti DiLuigi, board co-president of CSW.
Each year during the LA PRIDE Parade there is a “Silent Celebration” to remember those that we have lost. This year, at precisely noon, CSW and the Coalition will dedicate the Silent Celebration to members of the transgender community that we have lost due to hate crimes. It will be LA PRIDE’s tribute to the official Transgender Day of Remembrance in November. CSW and the Coalition will also be hosting “TranStation” which seeks to offer a safe environment for education and camaraderie within the festival.