The Los Angeles LGBT Center estimates that over 2,000 participants hit the streets of West Hollywood for Drag March LA to protest the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023. More than 40 LGBTQ+ organizations, faith groups, queer and trans activists, drag artists, and hundreds of supporters of all ages gathered at West Hollywood Park by Robertson Boulevard for speeches, performances and presentations, followed by a march on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Speakers at the rally included Rev. Keith Mozingo of Founders Metropolitan Community Church, who came right from Easter Services dressed in drag to bless demonstrators before the Drag March began.
Additional speakers included Trans Wellness Center program manager Mariana Marroquin, Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne, Jazzmun Crayton of APAIT, Bamby Salcedo of the TransLatin@ Coalition, Tony Hoang of Equality California, and Rev. Keith Mozingo of Founders Metropolitan Community Church.
RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Kerri Colby and Honey Davenport performed for the crowd along with the drag king Twinka Masala. A resource fair was available on site to connect attendees with local service providers and community organizers. There were also artist memorial shrines honoring three drag entertainers who recently passed this year, Darcelle XV, Heklina, and Crystal Woods.
West Hollywood Mayor presented the LA LGBT Center with a City Proclamation calling April 9, Drag Day 2023.
The Mayor also presented David Cooley and The Abbey Food & Bar with a city recognition for their support of drag entertainers.
Drag March LA was supposed to start at West Hollywood City Hall, but that was changed to host a larger gathering a West Hollywood Park. Earlier posts also stated that the March would move from WeHo Park to City Hall, however, it was shortened and the crowd turned back to the park at Westmount Drive. Marchers were also escorted by West Hollywood sheriff deputies for safety and traffic control.
Here’s what it was like on Santa Monica Blvd for Drag March LA in @WeHoCity, hosted by the @LALGBTCenter – read/see more at: https://t.co/ir2AVFDgzp #wehotimes #wehonews #weho #WestHollywood #DragMarch #DragMarchLA pic.twitter.com/NKQcyWjQ9l
— WEHO TIMES (@WEHO_TIMES) April 10, 2023
“We stand together united by our unwavering belief in the fundamental right to love and be loved, the right to be recognized and respected, the right to live our lives authentically without fear or discrimination—and do with our bodies what we wish,” Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner said at the pre-march rally. “Like those who came before us, we are not just fighting for ourselves. We are here to fight for the generations to come. We owe it to our youth to create a world where they can grow up knowing that they are loved, respected, and valued, no matter who they are or whom they love. And we owe it to our elders—the people who fought for our hard-earned progress—to fight back against these evils when they rear their ugly heads.”
In the first three months of 2023 alone, more than 400 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation were introduced or passed across the United States, most of them targeting transgender and gender nonconforming people. Drag March LA was formed to serve as a reminder of the strength of the LGBTQ+ community—and a call to action to continue fighting in defense of free self-expression, bodily autonomy, and equality for all.