The West Hollywood City council voted at a regular City Council meeting on Monday, to move forward with adding a WeHo Pride Parade event to the inaugural WeHo Pride weekend, to be produced by JJLA. West Hollywood’s first WeHo Pride parade is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, June 5, 2022, however, there will be discussions between JJLA and City staff to explore having the parade on Saturday evening or later in the day on Sunday.
During public comments at the meeting, Grant Turck, the Executive Director of Venice Pride, informed the council that Venice Pride will also host their own inaugural Venice Pride Parade on Sunday, June 5th from 11am, to 1pm. “We have celebrated on the first weekend of June since June 2016, when we began as a protest to the closing of the Roosterfish gay bar,” he said. “Unfortunately, the date for the Venice Pride Parade conflicts with the proposed date for the WeHo Pride parade you are now considering. To remedy this, we respectfully ask that you consider alternatives, including marching in the Venice Pride parade this year, scheduling the West Hollywood Parade to begin in the afternoon of June fifth, or having it on another date. We think competing parades will divide the greater LA Community’s response to either event.”
Council member John D’Amico said he was in favor of starting the parade later. He said he never understood why the parade started at 11am on a Sunday after people party for Pride on Saturday night. He also suggested JJLA explore having the parade on Saturday night. “It gives this event a signature difference,” he said. “It makes it a way of thinking about West Hollywood that it is different from another parade on a Sunday at eleven.”
D’Amico’s other concern is that agencies the city works with will be forced to do both parades, or choose one over the other. He said it wasn’t fair to the community of social providers. He asked that JJLA return in two weeks with ideas on how the WeHo Pride Parade will be different from the LA Pride parade taking place a week later.
Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne said she believes the parade should be on Sunday and start at 11am because that is the norm for pride. She pointed out the time crunch the city is under to make the parade work. She said she didn’t want to waste two weeks to continue the discussion when they should be planning and using the time to enroll sponsors. She said she’s open to exploring doing something different next year, but for this year, time is limited. “With respect to the public commenter from Venice Pride, and some of the things I’ve heard about CSW, and their feelings about us having a WeHo Pride Parade, there are so many people that want to celebrate,” she added. “People that go to Venice Pride are not going to necessarily come to Weho Pride and people that come to WeHo Pride are going to come to WeHo Pride and that’s it. We are far enough that people are going to choose, and that’s OK. There is a huge LGBTQ community and because we are so fabulous, we have many allies that will choose where they want to go.”
The Mayor Pro-Tem also suggested the City of West Hollywood have their presence at the LA Pride parade in Hollywood with a float as a showing of good will.
In her comments, Mayor Lauren Miester suggested JJLA explore getting a sponsorship from a local TV station that could televise the first WeHo Pride. She agreed with Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne that time is of essence. She said a nighttime parade would require a production, lighting and other factors that would have to be considered, and she wants to stay within the budget. “I think we should stick with staff’s recommendations and ask them to come back with any information they can and also see if we can participate in CSW’s Pride Parade, if they would have us” she said. “For this year, as fabulous as it sounds, it would require a lot of money, a lot of production time, which we don’t have right now.”
Council member John Erickson motioned to move the item forward.
Mayor Pro-Tem Shyne seconded the motion.
John D’Amico said he could not support the motion because the city did not know how the non-profit community would respond to what was being recommended. He stressed that the city would be wasting a million dollars if West Hollywood is having a parade one week before the LA Pride parade.
Mayor Pro-Tem reiterated that it would not make a difference if the parade was Saturday night or Sunday morning because nonprofits will have to make their choice based on their budgeting and other factors.
City Manager, David Wilson, asked for flexibility to move the parade to a later time and an opportunity to have a discussion with JJLA to see what works best based on what was discussed by the council.
It was decided that JJLA would have leeway to choose the date and time based on discussions with City Staff.
Council member D’Amico supported the option of flexibility and the motion passed unanimously.
The inaugural WeHo Pride Weekend will take place on Friday, June 3, 2022, Saturday, June 4, 2022, and Sunday, June 5, 2022, in and around West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (formerly known as the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival) will take place during 40 days from Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022, to Thursday, June 30, 2022, at various locations throughout the City of West Hollywood with some online programs.