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A guide to LGBTQ-friendly L.A. this Summer

May 31, 2019 LGBT, Visit California No Comments Email Email

LA Pride Festival is held in West Hollywood during the first week of June each year. The famous celebration, which saw a record-breaking number of 170,000 attendees in 2018, draws tons of visitors annually, but many of them may not know that the City of Los Angeles proudly celebrates LGBTQ Heritage Month each June.

L.A. is home to a vibrant LGBTQ community with a rich history in support and development of the group’s civil rights. According to a series of case studies in the Second Global Report on LGBTQ Tourism by UNWTO and IGLTA, “destinations that make great places to live for LGBT people, make great places for them to visit.”

The LGBTQ celebrations don’t stop once June ends in L.A. Los Angeles Tourism has compiled a list of some of the best LGBTQ-friendly experiences in Los Angeles where everyone is welcome to visit and be their authentic selves for Aussie Travellers’.

Events: 

PRIDE IS UNIVERSAL at Universal Studios Hollywood 

For the third year in a row, LA Pride and Universal Studios Hollywood are teaming up to give the LGBTQ and ally communities an unforgettable, Pride-filled experience on June 1. Guests who purchased a ticket to the “PRIDE IS UNIVERSAL” event get daytime entry into Universal Studios Hollywood starting at 4pm for General Admission plus exclusive access to a private after-hours Pride celebration from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. This exclusive experience includes access to rides and attractions, Live DJ’s throughout the theme park, A Dance Club in the all new Sound Stage 29, Cash Bars and Character Meet and Greets. In commitment to giving back to the community, a portion of event proceeds benefit the Christopher Street West (CSW)/LA Pride non-profit organization.

OUT Under the Stars

OUT Under the Stars returns Friday, June 21, the first official evening of summer, at the iconic Hollywood Forever cemetery with a showing of the cult-classic film Hairspray. Moviegoers will picnic on the lawn prior to the film screening with live DJ entertainment, free amenities and plenty of photo opportunities. The Second OUT Under the Stars screening will be held on Friday, August 16 with a screening of Dreamgirls starring Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson.

DTLA Proud

Now in its fourth year, DTLA Proud Festival returns to the heart of Downtown L.A. from August 23-25 in

Pershing Square. A perfect itinerary addition to a late summer visit, the 3-day festival includes a diverse lineup of local stage talent, community booths, art installations, retail vendors, interactive exhibits, food trucks and a pop-up water park.

Los Angeles LGBT Center Anniversary

The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrates their “50 years of Queer” campaign in 2019, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the center. Running six centers throughout greater Los Angeles which provide support and services of all kinds, the anniversary will be celebrated with a series of events throughout the year available on their site.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ LGBT Night

In partnership with LA Pride, Dodgers’ LGBT Night will kick off Pride Month on Friday, May 31. This

special event ticket package includes a game ticket, an exclusive Dodger LGBT-themed duffle bag and access to the 2019 LA Pride kickoff party at Dodger Stadium beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Right Field Plaza Bar. The perfect event for sports fans and supporters of the community, the first pitch will be thrown out by Dodger Owner Billie Jean King who is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. King was the first female athlete and the first woman from the LGBTQ community to be receive the Medal of Freedom.

Outfest Los Angeles

Considered the preeminent LGBTQ film festival in the world and oldest film festival in L.A., 2019 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival returns from July 18 to July 28 for 11 days of world-class films, panels and parties. Each summer Outfest Los Angeles screens more than 150 feature and short films to an audience more than 40,000 people at venues across the city like The Orpheum, and Ford Theatres.

Exhibitions:

Skirball Cultural Center

A must-see, the Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center will present an in depth look at the ways in which the famed designer impacted fashion through his beliefs on gender identity, utilitarianism and body positivity. On view from May 9 through September 1, 2019, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich will feature more than eighty ensembles as the first exhibition to focus on the social and cultural impact of Gernreich’s vision. His vision of the future was brought to life in his Unisex Collection of 1970, in which he stripped away gender markers altogether. The section Unisex Solidarity will showcase garments that could be worn interchangeably by anyone, a revolutionary notion in gender fluidity and fashion at the time.

Autry Museum of the American West

From May 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020, Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca will run at the Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park. Featuring paintings, sketches, and lithographs, Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca focuses on the recurring figure of Coyote, a trickster, shape shifter, and storyteller capable of moving undetected between different worlds. This thought-provoking exhibition explores the complexity of Harry Fonseca, who had roots to Nisenan Maidu, Hawaiian and Portuguese cultures, art within the context of a contemporary world. As both a gay man and a person of mixed heritage, Fonseca used his work as a vehicle for self-discovery during a time when ideas about Native peoples were often driven by outside forces, like commercialism and stereotypical clichés.

Stay Packages:

Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown

The “Summer of Love” campaign at Hotel Indigo will be geared toward promoting LGBTQ friendly offerings and experiences around the hotel. Beginning in June and running through August, the package will include Indigo Blue Brunch, a weekly brunch menu with rainbow themed dishes and drinks where a portion of the proceeds are donated back to a to-be-determined LGBTQ charity, Practice for Pride, a

weekly yoga event on the hotel’s pool deck, and Walk in our Shoes, a LGBTQ self-guided walking tour of DTLA.

SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills

Conveniently located on the Westside of L.A. and just minutes away from West Hollywood hot spots, SLS Beverly Hills offers a prime location for travelers’ LA Pride Month visit. The “SLS has PRIDE” package starts from $309 and includes VIP access at The Abbey Food and Bar, Complimentary transportation to The Abbey, Complimentary WiFi to share all the highlights of the experience and a table for two at Tres SLS by acclaimed chef José Andrés. Prospective guests may book online with the promo code PRIDE.

DREAM Hollywood Hotel

In celebration of Pride month in Los Angeles, DREAM Hollywood Hotel will launch its “Dream with Pride”

package, which includes all the essential self-care for a successful Pride vacation. The package spoils guests with a body wrap from Sweatheory, 7-minute in-room workout from celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, Tan Towels, Sunscreen and Blowout or styling including color and glitter from Glam + Go, the property’s onsite blowout bar.

W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills

In support of W Hotels’ 20 years of commitment to the for the LGBTQ community and the brand’s dedication to inclusiveness W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills is a perfect LGBTQ-friendly hotel to stay at during LA Pride Week. To kickoff LA Pride, W Los Angeles will debut their new “Queer Me Out” global speaker series on Thursday, June 6 at 7 p.m. featuring LGBT advocate Jason Wimberly who is also a celebrity fitness guru and founder of THE WALL, LA’s newest boutique fitness hot spot. “Queer Me Out” is a free event open to both hotel guests and locals alike and will take place in W Los Angeles’ Living Room Bar.

Marriott Beverly Hills

The Marriott Beverly Hills will offer 2,000 bonus points for rewards member guests who book the weekend of June 7 – 9 and say they are in town to show their “Pride” when they check into the hotel. As

part of the larger Marriott Loves Travels LGBTQ initiative, the brand is making strides to always offer a welcoming and inclusive stay for members of the community.

Must-Visit Locations:

The Black Cat

The Black Cat in Silver Lake is warm and inviting, with attentive staff, handsome design, good food and cocktails, and a fascinating LGBTQ History. Stonewall Inn in New York is widely regarded as the flashpoint that gave rise to the pride movement. However, the original Black Cat was the site of a peaceful demonstration that took place on Feb. 11, 1967 – two and a half years before the 1969 Stonewall riots. In 2008, the City of Los Angeles recognized The Black Cat as Historic Cultural Monument No. 939. LGBTQ visitors can’t come to L.A. without seeing this stunning location in person.

The Lavender Effect

The Lavender Effect and Out and About Tours run two popular LGBTQ walking tours in the L.A. area: SunGay Brunch DTLA Walking Tour in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles and SaturGay Brunch & WeHo Rainbow Tour in neighboring West Hollywood. These boozy, educational and engaging tours are a perfect way to connect with new people and see

Bar Hopping in DTLA

LGBTQ focused bars aren’t just reserved to West Hollywood: Downtown Los Angeles is home to three notable locations. Visitors looking for fun nightlife should check out Redline, a lively 2,000-square-foot venue with a full bar and a gastropub menu, New Jalisco Bar for kitschy, Latino-centric drag shows, and Precinct which is a “rock n roll gay bar” spanning 10,000 square feet that often hosts themed nights like Ru Paul’s Drag Race viewing parties.

The Mattachine Steps

Officially dedicated by the City of Los Angeles as The Mattachine Steps in 2012, gay activist Harry Hay clandestinely began a group called “Bachelors Anonymous” in 1948 in a private Silver Lake residence at 2328 Cove Ave. By 1950, the collective of men had become America’s first official gay organization, the Mattachine Society. Mattachine was inspirational as a major force in the gay liberation movement – not only in Los Angeles, but throughout the country. The steps also make for a great, free workout, with sweeping views of the Silver Lake Reservoir, Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory and neighboring Glendale on a clear day.

Catch One

Located in Mid-City bordering Koreatown, Jewel’s Catch One was the nation’s first black gay and lesbian disco when it opened in 1972. During her club’s 40-year run, owner Jewel-Thais Williams welcomed legends like Rick James, Madonna and the “Queen of Disco,” Sylvester. This buzzing and welcoming night club presents a varied bill of dance shows and live music for a freeing, fun and nonjudgmental experience for visitors and locals alike.

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives is located on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) and a wealth of knowledge for any guest looking to immerse themselves in history. It is the world’s largest research library dedicated to honoring and archiving LGBTQ history and offers free admission and open access to the public. Visitors will also find their sister location, the ONE Gallery, in West Hollywood.

Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles

Opened in 1923, the Millennium Biltmore hotel in Downtown Los Angeles has long been a LGBTQ-friendly property where gay patrons could congregate freely and without judgement in the downstairs bar. Now, 96 years later, visitors should stop at the decadent Gallery Bar and Cognac Room for a classy cocktail. The property is also a TAG Approved hotel, a program launched in 1997 by Community Marketing, Inc which adds hotels that hit their criteria to a directory that targets LGBTQ travel consumers throughout North America.

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