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LB Pride festival celebrates diversity

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pride-pic.jpgBy Brittanie Murch
Special to the Signal Tribune

The 25th annual Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration was this weekend in downtown Long Beach. It is a two-day festival and parade held to increase awareness and promote “PRIDE” -people respecting individual diversities in everyone-within the community.
“It’s my favorite time of year,” said Ryan Tabizon, a fourth year nursing student at Cal State Long Beach, referring to what he calls “Pride season.”
“Everyone is so accepting and full of love. What’s not to like?” he said.
In its twenty-fifth year, the organization has grown exponentially, donating almost a million dollars to charities since its inception. In addition to donating money to various children’s charities, the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, Inc. (LBLGP, Inc.) grants a number of youth scholarships and academic opportunities as well.
Entertainment at the festival included various artists and entertainers, both on a local and national level. This year the festival featured such headliners as The Bangles and KC & the Sunshine Band.
Many other artists and DJs performed on some of seven other stages set up throughout the festival, as well as various booths and food vendors.
The parade Sunday morning was on Ocean Avenue, which was blocked off for the occasion. It featured a variety of participants and dignitaries from all over the globe, as well as locally.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) resource center at Cal State Long Beach coordinated their second annual float entry representing the school for the parade.
“It’s an exciting opportunity and we love to be a part of it,” said Matt Cabrera, the coordinator of the student resource centers at CSULB.
“Everyone pretty much came together to make it happen,” he said. “Money was donated from President Alexander’s office, a flatbed truck was lent to us from the 49er shops and the decorations were designed by student volunteers from the LGBT artist collective.”
For more information about the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration and upcoming Pride Celebrations in nearby areas, visit its Web site at http://www.longbeachpride.com.

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LB Pride festival celebrates diversity