Long Beach Pride Draws 80,000

18 May

As the second-largest event in the city, the 31st Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival and Parade attracted about 80,000 people this weekend. The two-day festival along Shoreline Drive was headlined by former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, New York hip-hop artist Cazwell, and pop singer Dev.

A lot has changed since the first parade that lasted just 30 minutes, and the two-day festival drew 5,000 people to Palm Island, which was located at the end of Pine Avenue in what is now Shoreline Drive. During the second parade, pride co-founder and president Judi Doyle wore a bulletproof vest after receiving an anonymous, threatening message on the Pride office answering machine.

For many in the crowd, the public’s acceptance of the parade, and of gays and lesbians in general, could not be more evident. The event draws named performers. The city itself is more diverse. The City Council has two members who are out: Vice Mayor Robert Garcia (who is a candidate for Mayor) and Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske.

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