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LA Pride announces 2017 Grand Marshal, Alexei Romanoff

This year’s Grand Marshal, Alexei Romanoff
Photo credit:
LA Pride

LOS ANGELES - On the 47th anniversary of the world’s first permitted LGBTQ+ parade, LA Pride and Christopher Street West, remain where they began, at the intersection of activism and celebration of our diverse community.

For decades, the greater Los Angeles community has strived for equality only made possible through the endless efforts of activists like this year’s Grand Marshal, Alexei Romanoff.

In 1967, 50 years ago LGBTQ+ activists assembled in front of Silverlake’s Black Cat tavern to protest numerous incidents of police targeting local gay bars, where use of excessive force was a common occurrence, all hidden under the guise of upholding laws on “public lewdness.”

An obvious infringement of human rights, the community had never stood up publicly against these injustices until concerned members of the community like Alexei Romanoff stepped up, organized and protested.

Preceding the Stonewall Rebellion by two and a half years, hundreds came together and took to the streets of Los Angeles to protest as a community. What happened next was a series of protests which helped to propel the issue of gay rights in the United States.

Born in the Ukraine, Romanoff immigrated to the United States during War World II, moving to Los Angeles in 1958 where he became an active member of the city’s activist and leather communities.

As his level of engagement increased, so did his arrest record for ‘civil disobedience’ in organizing protests against unfair police raids.

Romanoff has founded several LGBTQ+ organizations, including the Santa Monica Bay Coalition for Human Rights and the Avatar Club of Los Angeles.

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Romanoff also fought long and hard for the funding of research and assistance programs as well as the rights of AIDS victims.  

“I have spent a majority of my life fighting for equality and standing up for the unalienable rights of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Romanoff, who will also be very active in this year’s #ResistMarch. “I have marched alongside the community in solidarity ever since the first LA Pride Parade 47 years ago, and will do so as long as I live."

Romanoff will be featured, along with many other local LGBTQ+ activists, in LA Pride’s 2017 ‘OWN YOUR PRIDE’ marketing campaign, launching today.

“This year’s LA Pride experience will be different from what we’ve seen over the past few years,” says Chris Classen, CSW Board President. “So, our campaign needed to be different, too. We are committed to honoring our community’s rich history of activism by encouraging everyone to own their pride this year. Our choice for the 2017 LA Pride Grand Marshal was easy. Alexei is a renowned activist, a champion of human rights, a long-time LA Pride supporter, and our friend. He represents the very best of what our community stands for as well as what it can be.”

Visit the ‘OWN YOUR PRIDE’ homepage to see the campaign video along with video vignettes of all those who participated in the campaign. ‘OWN YOUR PRIDE’ shines a spotlight on the people who are making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community every day. Share how you plan to ‘OWN YOUR PRIDE’ this year by using #OwnYourPride on social media.

While 2017 marks the organization’s 47th anniversary, it also marks a pride season of change.

This year, Christopher Street West celebrates the right to demonstrate with #ResistMarch, an all-inclusive march that will take place on June 11th.

The march begins at Hollywood & Vine and will work its way through the city, ending at West Hollywood Park where participants can continue celebrating at the LA Pride Festival. 

For more information on #ResistMarch, visit resistmarch.org.