Monday, June 11, 2018

Inclusiveness, Acceptance Celebrated At Diverse West Hills Gay Pride Festival

Staff photo.
By Blythe Moorcraft, Quilt staff


West Hollywood may be the epicenter for LA-area LGB 'pride' events, but don’t count West Hills out!

The second weekend in June is traditionally Pride Weekend here in the West San Fernando Valley and this year’s LGBT festivities didn’t disappoint.

Men, women and others of all shapes and sizes, clad in everything from oiled leather to cozy flannel, from tight tank-tops to loose overalls, flocked to the undisputed gay mecca of the West San Fernando Valley — Pride Center at Victory and Fallbrook, in West Hills’ inclusive, diverse, accepting Victorbrook neighborhood — to take part in a three-day celebration of inclusiveness, diversity and acceptance.

One of the event’s most popular venues was the main vendor tent — an outdoor marketplace where attendees could take a break from the hot sun, enjoy browsing or just see & be seen while shopping for unique items — many not available elsewhere and geared specifically for the area’s lively LGBTQ crowd.

“Check out these clamps,” one burly, bearded fellow said to an interested buddy. “Four bucks? Hell yeah — I got plans for these!”

At a nearby table laden with unusual wares and various esoterica, a woman contemplated a purchase with her gal pal. “Hey, Joyce, I think these attachments might fit your variable speed oscillating multi-tool.”

Pavilion of Pride: The event's popular vendor tent, offering gear for most every interest. Staff photo.
New connections within the LGBTQI community were made, too: A vendor personing the register at the festival evidently saw something he liked in a rugged, older gent buying a leather apron. "Can I have your phone number, please?" he asked as he began to ring up the sale. (Good news for romantics: the feeling was mutual because the attendee offered it up without hesitation.)

The three-day event of acceptance, inclusiveness and diversity celebrating the LGBTQIA community kicked off Friday afternoon and continued throughout the weekend, finally drawing to a close at six pm on Sunday, with the ceremonial taking down of the tent.

Though West Hills Pride may be officially over for another year, the lessons learned, the values embraced and the new friendships forged by the area’s LGBTQIAP population will last a lifetime.

Correction: What we presumed was a celebration of diversity, acceptance, and inclusiveness for the gay, lesbian, transgender and et cetera community was in fact Harbor Freight Tools' bi-monthly parking lot sale. We regret the error.