DTLA Proud Festival 2019 returned to Pershing Square for the fourth year with three days of LGBTQ art, history, activism and some trampy fun thrown in the mix. The festival was lit with drag performers, comedy, music, food and drink, interactive exhibits and the Summer Tramp pool party was back with it’s notorious pop-up inflatable water park.
This year’s event included 16 food trucks, community booths, a queer marketplace, the works of 20 local queer artists, and three live art installations that express Los Angeles’ diversity. There were also plenty of photo opportunities with interesting back drops and floaties all over the festival. This year, DTLA Proud partnered with the One National Gay and Lesbian Archives to curate a tribute to Los Angeles’ queer history, dating back decades before the Stonewall Riots.
DTLA Proud Festival 2019 continues to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and diversity in the heart of downtown. Thousands of LGBTQ+ folks from all corners of the Greater Los Angeles area hit up Pershing Square to join hipsters, drag queens, and half-naked men wearing skimpy speedos, or something bright, shiny and see-through. You had Silverlake hipsters, Downtown artist and just about every type of living being under the LTBTQ+ umbrella and the allies who love and support them.
Over 100 local queer performers hit the stage that weekend. Some of them included: Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles; Black Girl Magic: Los Angeles, Miss Shalae, Ongina, Vander Von Odd, Bitqch Puddin’, Abhora, and Vancie Vega, the most popular Dolly Parton impersonator.
Pershing Square is rich in queer history dating back to the 1920s through the 1960s. It was once the heart of what was then known as “The Run,” a large collection of gay friendly cafes, bars, and cruising areas along the Fifth Street corridor, stretching from the Los Angeles Central Library to Los Angeles Street. The Fifth Street area had many queer businesses and spaces during World War II. It was so gay, that the U.S. Army and Navy gave military personnel made a list of more than two dozen places that service men were not allowed to visit.
DTLA Proud is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by a grassroots group of downtown Los Angeles residents, business owners, community leaders and nightlife promoters. We were born from the idea that together we could create an all-inclusive community that represents the diverse LGBTQ population that lives, works and plays in LA’s fastest-growing gayborhood. We strengthen and empower the local LGBTQ & ally community in downtown Los Angeles through visibility, volunteerism, partnerships, events and festivals. Their mission is a commitment to celebrate everyone’s story, spreading optimism, growing the LGBTQ community and expanding the definition of diversity.
To learn more about DTLA Proud Festival 2019, visit: dtlaproud.org.
Photos by Al Fielder for WEHO TIMES