As I drove from Silverlake to West Hollywood this morning to the 41st annual LA Pride Parade, it began to drizzle. I was wearing shorts, didn’t bother to bring a jacket and began to fret that Mother Nature was going to rain on our parade.
But by the time I got to the pre-parade press conference at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights, the skies had brightened a bit and I knew we were in for a good time!
Attorney Gloria Allred, a parade regular who this year rode the route flanked by a posse of “Glorias,” first appeared before the press with her client, California corrections officer Andrew Johnson.
Johnson had complained very publicly that his department would not allow him to attend LA Pride in uniform. But once Allred got on the case, much publicity ensued. The department ended up reversing its decision and allowed Johnson
to wear his uniform.
The furor over comedian Tracy Morgan’s recent homophobic rant during a stand-up act was on the minds of some of those involved in the parade – especially his remark that he would stab his son to death if he were to find out he was gay.
Rodney Scott, President of Christopher Street West, the organization that organizes LA Pride, grew emotional when he talked about it. He stood next to a 16-year-old gay male and said tearfully: “Can you imagine him coming home, telling his parents that he is gay, and his father stabbing him?”
He added: “Tracy, you owe this entire community an apology. To make a statement that you would stab your own child. It’s not acceptable.”
When it was her turn at the mic, parade honoree Margaret Cho also talked about Morgan’s hurtful words: “We see how much homophobia pervades our culture with all of the things that have happened in the past week. What I’m so proud of is our community coming together and demanding an apology which came very, very quickly. Very earnestly and honestly and I think it’s so powerful. Our community does not stand still anymore. We act right away. I am so proud that we do that and I’m so proud to be here. This is such a beautiful celebration of who we are.”
I spotted parade honoree Andy Cohen standing near Margaret and thought he might have a few words for us.
But the Bravo executive and host of What Happens Live wasn’t feeling very chatty.
He merely gave us a wave when he was introduced as LA Pride’s person of the year. Guess Andy was saving his voice for those Real Housewives reunion specials!
But Grand marshal Johnny Weir, whose hair and outfit were quite a stunning sight (“My mom picked out my outfit today.”), was in the mood to talk and I was struck by how very proud the Olympic skater was to be there.
“I’m so, so honored to be here and privileged to be the grand marshal,” Johnny said. “It’s an incredible, incredible experience. I’m here representing my community and so many beautiful people that I’m proud of. I’m here representing my family for supporting me the entire way through my youth, my career as an Olympian no matter what.”
“[I'm] representing our brothers and sisters all over the world – and even in America – who are still discriminated against, still don’t have equal rights as Americans. I’m here with love for everybody. I’m so, so proud.”
Well said Johnny!
So, here are some snapshots I took during the parade including LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Miss Allred and her assorted Glorias, a hunky sheriff’s deputy, a hot guy with the Mickey’s float, a cutie pie promoting From Hollywood to Dollywood and me with friend and fellow journalist James Mills who was also covering the parade.
Had a great time and can’t wait until next year!