LA Pride parade: More than 400,000 expected

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C.J. Dablo/KPCC

Several gay rights supporters waved rainbow-colored flags at the L.A. Pride Parade on Santa Monica Boulevard on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Organizers expect more than 400,000 people to line Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood today for the 41st L.A. Pride parade, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

The parade will kick off at 11 a.m. at Crescent Heights Boulevard, and continue west along Santa Monica Boulevard to San Vicente Boulevard.

At noon, the parade will stop one minute for a "Silent Celebration" where "all are invited to quietly remember those who are no longer with us, to honor those who cannot be with us today and celebrate those who are oppressed and continue fighting for pride and the freedom we will achieve," organizers said.

Three-time national figure skating champion Johnny Weir will be the grand marshal, while the lesbian, gay and bisexual community members serving in the armed forces will be the collective community grand marshal, at least in name.

Because the "don't ask, don't tell" policy forbidding openly lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals from serving in the armed forces remains in effect, the community grand marshal car will be empty, following the military tradition of the riderless horse.

The parade has been held every year since 1970, except for 1973 when infighting over crude displays the previous two years left the organizers in disarray. The parade was held in Hollywood until 1979, when it moved to West Hollywood.

The festivities will prompt the closure of Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to Doheny Drive; Crescent Heights Boulevard from Romaine Street to Fountain Avenue, Norton Avenue from Laurel Avenue to Havenhurst Drive; and all other streets one block north and one block south of Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to La Peer Drive from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 41st annual three-day L.A. Pride Festival will conclude with a festival at West Hollywood Park from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with the singers Estelle, Sam Sparro, Kat Graham, Kaya Jones, a former member of the Pussycat Dolls, Justin Utley and TranzKontinental among the scheduled performers.

Comedian Margaret Cho is also scheduled to perform and receive the Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award.

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