The State of LGBT OC

Essays by longtime activists on how gay life has changed in Orange County over the years

The State of LGBT OC
Photo: Riley Kern, www.rileykernstudio.com | Photo Assist.: Genevieve Davis | Models: MoSh, Nickie Jean | Styling: MoSh | Wardrobe: www.girdlebound.com | D

This weekend, downtown Santa Ana will host OC Pride, the county's premier celebration of LGBT everything. Its growth is a testament to the willpower of the community and its allies to carve a place for themselves in a county notorious for gay-bashing on almost every level imaginable. On that note, next year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the worst moments of that uneasy history: the holding of the first gay-pride event in Orange County (in Santa Ana's Centennial Park), a celebration marked by rancid abuse hurled at attendees by Christian fundamentalists, tolerated by the city's politicians and police department.

We'll do an oral history of that important OC moment for next year's Pride Issue. This time around, we wanted to hand the keyboard over to longtime activists and Weeklings who have seen OC evolve from a place with a vibrant—if deeply closeted—gay scene to a region where LGBT folks are more proudly out than ever before, no longer willing to take any abuse whatsoever. It's a beautiful set of remembrances by those who have fought at the front lines, along with a piece by the Center OC's Kevin O'Grady looking toward the future. And wondering what this important collection has to do with the salacious cover of two hot women kissing solely for titillating reasons? You'll have to go over to our Navel Gazing blog to read my essay on the matter. Enjoy, and see you at Pride!

ESSAYS BY:

Riley Kern

* Laura Kanter, Director of Youth Services, The Center OC

* Dave Barton, Contributor, OC Weekly

* Anahi Avila, Activist, Transgeneros en Accion

* Rosanne Faul, President, Orange County Lavender Bar Association

* Rich Kane, Journalist

* John J. Duran, Former Mayor, West Hollywood       

* Jeff LeTourneau, LGBT Caucus Co-Chairperson, Democratic Party of Orange County

* Joe Shaw, City Councilman, Huntington Beach

* Kevin O’Grady, Anti-Discrimination Activist, Executive Director, The Center OC

 
 
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