Gay Los Angeles - true Pride Pioneers

Gay Los Angeles - pride pioneers of gay history

Gay Los Angeles summons intoxicating images of stardom and otherworldly decadence. The always blue, palm-strewn skies and subtropical climate draw millions each year. And then there are the men - impossibly beautiful, with the faces of angels and bodies of warriors. They await you in droves in Gay Hollywood, where you'll find one of the liveliest LGBTQ scenes in the world. The most famous gay bars are in West Hollywood (WeHo). But there's something for every taste across the city. Here’s all you need to know about cruising the long, winding boulevards of this most mythic of places.

The history of Gay Los Angeles

The City of Angels has always been awash with sex and scandal. In 1850, when LA was part of Mexico, the Tongva were one of LA’s first tribes. And they were firm advocates of gay marriages and trans lifestyles.

Reminders of Gay Los Angeles' past are everywhere. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel was a gay-friendly watering hole from 1923. And the late-Victorian-era Downtown LA became a popular spot for so-called ‘She Boys’.

The stage was also set in Gay Los Angeles for activism. In 1948, Harry Hay founded the gay rights organisation the Mattachine Society. Visit the Mattachine Steps off Silver Lake Boulevard to pay tribute to a movement that swept the U.S.

Despite virulent homophobia, gay men always found one another. Pershing Square was the hot spot for cruising and hustling from the 1920s to the 1960s. And by the end of the swinging sixties, queer LA culture became more visible as people pushed back in frequently violent clashes with the L.A.P.D.

The city hosted the world’s first Gay Pride in 1970. And for a little over a decade, gay men enjoyed the mirage of freedom. This all changed in the 1980s with AIDS. But yet again, communities mobilised and held out magnificently in the face of the most terrible loss and trauma.

Bountiful Gay Bars in Los Angeles

West Hollywood remains the epicentre of Gay Los Angeles. But you’ll also find hip bars in Silver Lake, Downtown LA. And beyond. Here are some of our favourite Gay Bars in Los Angeles.

The Abbey Food & Bar on N Robertson Boulevard is not only one of the most famous bars in Gay Hollywood but the world. Get flirty over cocktails in its bustling lounge.

Who could resist a bar with the intriguing name Tramp Stamp Granny? Located on N Cahuenga Boulevard, it’s the go-to 1920s themed establishment for live music lovers. And is owned by Gay Hollywood star Darren Criss.

Feeling intimidated by the endless bevy of beauties at Gay Bars in Los Angeles? Head to Akbar on W Sunset Boulevard. It’s refreshingly unpretentious, sometimes rowdy but always friendly.

Prefer you men butch ‘n burly? LA caters to the leather and Levis crowd with the iconic Eagle on Santa Monica Boulevard in Silverlake.

The must-visit Gay Clubs in LA

Welcome to the party city where the sun never sets. Fulfill your friskiest fantasies in these Gay Clubs in LA.

Legendary DJs and non-stop dancing abound at LA’s beloved after-hours club RELOAD on N Cahuenga Boulevard in the pulsing heart of Gay Hollywood.

Turn the temperature dial to scorching at Sunset’s TigerHeat. DJ Ray Rhodes dominates the decks every Thursday from 10 pm in one of the most celebrated Gay Clubs in LA.

Visit Nightingale Plaza on La Cienega Blvd in Gay Hollywood on Fridays for EVITA. It’s the latest big party, attracting a young, exuberantly queer crowd.

Sun and sea breeze at the beach

After all that partying in glamorous Gay Hollywood, you’ll want to chill. There’s no better spot than Will Rogers State Beach, naturally nicknamed ‘Ginger Rogers’ by WeHo residents. For boys, bliss and banging beachside dance parties, head to 14,801 Pacific Coast Highway.

Mercury rising: Gay Bathhouses in Los Angeles

LA’s gay guys just can’t seem to get hot enough. And who can blame them? Fortunately, there are numerous Gay Bathhouses in Los Angeles catering to discerning gentlemen in need of pampering. And much more besides. These are amongst the most popular.

FLEX on Melrose Avenue is part of a US chain of saunas. Its Gay Bathhouse in Los Angeles features a pool and a fully-equipped gym.

The cruisy basement and big mattress make the Midtowne Spa Gay Sauna in Los Angeles the perfect orgy destination. It’s located on Kohler Street. And provides stunning views of Downtown LA from its big sundeck.

Pride pioneers

The world’s first gay Pride Parade was held in Gay Hollywood on June 28th, 1970. 2,000 courageous LGBTQ people participated in the March. Today, the LA Pride Parade is one of the largest and most inspiring events on the international gay calendar. Dates have been announced for 2022.

The city is also home to the largest LGBTQ research library. The ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive is a vital resource on queer history. It’s housed in a museum that also serves as Los Angeles’ Downtown gay community centre. Step into Culture Central.

Our summary of Gay Los Angeles

Lush, extravagant, and often crazy, Gay Los Angeles and Gay Hollywood have earned and retained their reputation as beguiling tourist destinations. Lie back, sip your cocktail, watch that fiery sunset as you too sample the Tinseltown dream in all its outsized glory.

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