Here’s a nice piece of news: For the first time ever, the organization that produces LA Pride has named a Black transgender woman as president of its board.
Sharon-Franklin Brown is taking the reins of Christopher Street West as the organization prepares to leave its West Hollywood home for a new location to be determined, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“It’s never been a more important moment for the LGBTQ-plus community and its allies to continue fighting for all of us,” Brown said in a statement. “As a robust community across Los Angeles, we value inclusiveness and diversity.”
Pride has been a West Hollywood staple since 1979. In a July letter to the West Hollywood City Council, Christopher Street West wrote that,
“The board of directors decided to take this approach for several reasons. These include construction in West Hollywood Park, the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles, our commitment to being responsive to the LGBTQIA-plus community’s needs, and our allyship and collaboration with other movements for social change.”
The Times reports that the organization has recently faced criticism for being too white, corporate, and not inclusive of transgender people. In 2016, Pride was derided as “gay Coachella” after Christopher Street West tried to rebrand the event as a music festival.
In a statement, outgoing board president Estevan Montemayor called Brown “an exceptional leader, and I could not be more proud to pass the baton to her,” adding that, “I have no doubt she will lead with inclusiveness and passion for our entire LGBTQ+ community.”