400,000 Celebrate LA Pride Parade

Some 400,000 people were expected Sunday at the 43rd LA Pride Parade to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

People lined the route along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. NBC4 was a media sponsor.

We'll be scouring Instagram and Twitter for photos with the tag #PrideNBCU. You can also email us at isee@nbcla.com.

Both the outgoing and incoming mayors of Los Angeles took part in the event.

"LA is a place that's very important in gay history," said Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti. "The first parade done west of the Missisippi was done here in LA."

Some parade participants were anxious about the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Prop 8, which could bring back same sex marriage to California or make it legal nationwide.

"We're not going away," said Rodney Scott, the LA Pride president. "This community is not going to hide. It's not going to go back in the closet. It's not going to be quiet."

The parade traveled west along Santa Monica Boulevard to Robertson Boulevard.

A moment of silence was held at noon "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.

Maria Menounos, a host of the syndicated entertainment news magazine "Extra," was the grand marshal.

She was selected "for her dedication to the LGBT community and her continuing efforts using her platform for equality,'' organizers said.

"The LGBT Pride Parade represents something truly American," Menounos said. "It's a celebration of community, a celebration of uniqueness, diversity and progress and it's the celebration of a new United States where we do more than tolerate or accept our gay brothers and sisters, but embrace and celebrate them."

The community grand marshal was the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which trains activists and helps state and local organizations build campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT ballot measures and advance pro-LGBT legislation.

Christopher Street West, which organizes the parade, annually chooses an organization to be the community grand marshal. Rea Carey, the task force's executive director, and Russell Roybal, its deputy executive director or external relations, led its contingent marching in the parade.

The parade prompted the closure of Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to Doheny Drive; Crescent Heights Boulevard from Romaine Street to Fountain Avenue; and streets one block north and south of Santa Monica Boulevard from Fairfax Avenue to La Peer Drive from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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