Jerick Jake LeBlanc shares about his first pride in West Hollywood in 1990, when he marched at the pride parade alongside “beautiful, sexy, handsome, hot, smooth, chiseled-bodied men.”
A long, long time ago I can still remember my first West Hollywood gay pride. The year was 1990 and the dawn of the new decade. Madonna’s Vogue was playing on every radio station, and images of sexy slender men dancing to it was in full view back when MTV was still known for showing music videos. I was 19-years-old and I lived in Inglewood, Ca. I didn’t really know anyone until I overheard some people at my temp agency talk about the South Bay Young Men’s Rap Group. It was for younger gays under 23 who met every Friday to talk, mingle, and to not feel isolated. It was here that I was asked if I wanted to go to West Hollywood Pride and participate in marching to represent with the group.
To say that I was young and impressionable will be an understatement. I was elated and full of exuberance as I’ve only heard whispers of what goes on in WeHo. That night I couldn’t sleep thinking about the next day and the adventures that would unfold. I remember getting there at 6am wearing our T-Shirts and my first reaction once we got there was… “Damn I’m overdressed!” I had never seen (growing up in Inglewood) more beautiful, sexy, handsome, hot, smooth, chiseled bodied men in my life. It was Disneyland with legs. Masculine men, effeminate men, old and young, white, brown, black, it didn’t matter. Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was happy to be there. Everyone was screaming, singing, and dancing all with one thought in mind. Proud to be there, proud to be accepted, proud to belong, proud to represent and proud to be seen.
As for me, that was the day that I knew I was gay and I am here to stay. I too am proud to this day to love, to live with gay pride and dignity. And although I don’t hear Madonna on the radio anymore, it doesn’t matter, because the foundation that started 30 years ago lives in me and in everyone around me. I can still remember and that music and that gay pride in WeHo always makes me smile.
(Jerick Jake LeBlanc has original content on YouTube. Follow him here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1PYmYCmf2paIEOu3YShLmA)
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