While it was a move understood as we were winding down from the pandemic—when Long Beach Pride moved its festival from May to July in 2022—many in the community found it outright egregious when the festival was moved to August this year.
And why? Well, Long Beach was historically the national kick off-er for Pride, its celebration for nearly four decades starting at the end of May and welcoming West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Pride’s celebrations come June.
“I don’t care their reasoning—they shouldn’t have moved the event to August,” said longtime community supporter and Long Beach resident Mark Waters earlier this year, echoing that Long Beach kicking off Pride nationwide was, well, pride-inducing.
Well, Long Beach Pride has listened.
“We’ve listened to our community and we’re thrilled to announce that our upcoming 2024 Pride celebration is moving back to the third weekend in May,” the organization announced in an Instagram post.
The move comes after community meetings were held following a lack of attendance at this year’s festival according to organizers—and all of this follows the fact that Vice Mayor Cindy Allen partnered with local advocate and LB Living leader Sal Flores for a “Long Beach Proud!” fest that would have, otherwise, been part of the bigger, formal Pride.
So what was the reason behind the initial shift?
There are many explanations but the one that seemed to be the most obvious in 2023 was a sense of clutter.
For one, Los Angeles’s own Pride scene has been split into two: Following the Black Lives Matters protests in 2020, the LA Pride organization, Christopher Street West, removed itself from the City of West Hollywood for the first time in its history, feeling that West Hollywood’s largely white, cis, gay male crowd was not fitting for a city as diverse as Los Angeles. Therefore, Angelenos now have LA Pride taking place in Los Angeles proper and Outloud, West Hollywood’s Pride festival, taking place in Boystown; these two are taking place on back-to-back weekends…
…and that means that, if Long Beach were to stick to its historically aligned May launch, that would be three major Pride festivals in the span on nearly three back-to-back weeks.
Hence August—which had left some with a bad taste in their mouths.
But fear no more: Come 2024, we’re back in May, we’re back as the city that kicks off Pride nationally, and we’ll be prouder than ever (even with the overcast).