The 42nd L.A. Pride Parade, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, was held Sunday in West Hollywood.
Organizers expected more than 400,000 people to line the route along Santa Monica Boulevard.
The event was an opportunity to celebrate progress but also remind people of the challenges that lie ahead.
"When the President of the United States said he supports equality basic human and civil rights that's a major leap forward," said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who's openly gay.
But there's still progress to be made, marchers said.
As California's Proposition 8 heads for a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court, couples like Andy Cabrera and Ray Nu are waiting in the wings.
"I think for a long time a lot of LGBT people haven't had the same rights that everyone else has," Cabrera said as he marched in the parade.
A moment of silence was held "to remember those who are no longer with us or cannot be here today, to celebrate those that fought for pride and the freedoms we now enjoy and to think of those who cannot celebrate pride and remain oppressed," organizers said.
Actress and author Molly Ringwald was the grand marshal.
Ringwald, who plays the mother of the title character in the ABC Family drama "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," was selected for her long and unwavering support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, including appearing in a commercial opposing Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage, according to Sam Borelli, the L.A. Pride communications consultant.
Ringwald's upcoming second book, "When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories," includes a story about a 6-year-old transgender boy.
"Molly and crew told our stories in the '80s, helping so many of us dealing with all of the challenges of being a teen," Borelli said. "That she continues reaching young people, letting them know that their stories matter, that they are real, is why we chose her during this year of youth empowerment."
The community grand marshal was The Trevor Project, which seeks to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
The group, whose headquarters are on Santa Monica Boulevard along the parade route, operates a nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention hotline and provides online support to young people through its website.
The title of community grand marshal is given to a group that has been particularly effective in advancing equality and fostering better understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, Borelli said.
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.