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LGBTQIA Pride Month: A Time For Commemoration and Celebration

Photo Friends,
Photograph caption dated May 27, 1983 reads, "Some of the 5,000 people who rallied at Westwood Federal Building in support of more AIDS research funds."
Some of the 5,000 people who rallied at Westwood Federal Building in support of more AIDS research funds, [May 27, 1983]. Herald-Examiner Collection

June is LGBTQIA Pride Month, a time to remember the challenges that the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community has faced and to commemorate the contributions they have made. The photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library features many images documenting the struggles and triumphs of L.A.’s gay community in their quest for recognition, respect, and equal rights, as well as showing them as simply our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members.

During the 1940s, Malcolm Boyd was a hotshot junior producer of radio and television. He founded PRB, a production company, with Mary Pickford (America’s sweetheart!) before leaving the business world to become an Episcopal priest. Boyd was prominent in the American Civil Rights movement, participating as a Freedom Rider in 1961, riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups to challenge segregation laws. He also actively protested the Vietnam War and was the author of 30 books. In 1977, Boyd came out and became the most prominent openly homosexual clergy person at the time. He became a spokesman for gay rights and served as writer-in-residence for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers are shown here with Malcolm (Mal) Boyd

Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers converse with Malcolm Boyd, their TV-radio production partner, who is beginning theological studies, having been admitted as a postulant for holy orders in the Protestant Episcopal Church, [May 7, 1950]. Herald-Examiner Collection

The Briggs Initiative, also known as California Proposition 6, was on the California State ballot on November 7, 1978. Named for its sponsor, John Briggs, a state legislator from Orange County, the initiative was designed to ban gays and lesbians from working in California’s public schools. The initiative was opposed by a diverse group of politicians including Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, Gerald Ford, and then-president Jimmy Carter. It was defeated by California voters.

Members of Los Angeles gay community march down Hollywood Boulevard July 2, 1978

Members and supporters of Los Angeles gay community march down Hollywood Boulevard on July 2, 1978, to protest the Briggs Initiative, [1978]. Ken Papaleo/Herald-Examiner Collection

In 1970, the first Gay Pride Parade was held in Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard. The parade was so controversial that the city’s police commission tried to stop it for fear that those who participated in it would be attacked. Today, LGBT pride celebrations take place in various venues and streets throughout Southern California, with the largest festival, LA Pride, occurring annually in West Hollywood.

Photo shows a float from the Country Western Community

A float from the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association is featured in the Gay Parade in West Hollywood, [June 23, 1985]. Paul Chinn/Herald-Examiner Collection

A mother supports her gay son while participating in the Gay Parade and Festival

A mother supports her gay son while participating in the Gay Parade and Festival, [June 26, 1989]. Steve Grayson/Herald-Examiner Collection

In 1979, Norman Laurila and George Leigh opened the bookstore A Different Light at 4014 Santa Monica Boulevard in the Silver Lake neighborhood in Los Angeles. The store specialized in gay and lesbian literature and publications, often hosting signing tours and reading from LGBTQIA writers. A Different Light eventually added locations in West Hollywood, San Francisco, and New York, becoming one of the nation’s largest gay-owned booksellers.

Two men in the gay bookstore, A Different Light

Two men (unidentified) in the gay bookstore, “A Different Light,” located at 4014 Santa Monica Boulevard in the Silver Lake district, [n.d.]. Gary Leonard Collection

In 1985, Marine Sergeant Rolf Lindblom, a computer programming instructor at the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, petitioned the Corps for an honorable discharge on the grounds that he was homosexual. The 25-year old Lindblom had an exemplary military record, had been named Marine of the Year in Los Angeles, and had two years left of service. The Marine Corps would not consider the petition until Lindblom provided proof of homosexual conduct, proof that Lindblom refused to give as he feared doing so would trigger a court-martial against him. After filing a second request, Corps spokesman said Lindblom had met all requirements for an honorable discharge and such discharge was granted.

Protesters march outside the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Los Angeles

A crowd gathered outside the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Los Angeles shows support for Sgt. Rolf Lindblom who is seeking an honorable discharge because he is gay, [October 21, 1985]. James Ruebsamen/Herald-Examiner Collection

The 2004 LGBTQIA Pride Parade celebrated gay life with lesbian bikers, Mr. Leather 2004 in a black convertible, stilt walkers, latex wearers, drag queen cheerleaders, and a contingency of Episcopalians quietly carrying signs with a powerful message.

Episcopalians quietly carrying love signs at the 34th Annual Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Pride Parade

A group carries the message in the 2004 Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood. Douglas McCulloh/Los Angeles Neighborhoods Collection

Written by Annie Murphy. Originally published on the Photo Friends Blog on June 6, 2016.


 

 

 

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