Gabriela Leon and Teri Jay founded Indigenous Pride LA when they realized that current LGBTQ Pride festivals were not representing the experiences and identities of indigenous two spirit people. They convened a group of people, other LGBTQIA indigenous people to organize an annual event called Indigenous Pride LA. The first event was held at Barnsdall Art Park in October 2018 before Indigenous Peoples Day which now replaces Columbus Day in Los Angeles.
The Indigenous Pride LA festival is both a celebration of the multiple identities of indigenous queer people, and an opportunity to connect these communities to different mental and physical health services, in part based on the higher rates of suicide and alcoholism in indigenous communities. The event focuses on indigenous communities from North, Central and South America but is a welcoming place to indigenous communities from across the globe. Leon who identifies as Yaqui mentions that along with being a celebration, the event is a protest, a reminder that indigenous two spirit people exist, and a space to decolonize our understanding that they have always been a part of indigenous communities, and played roles as leaders and healers too. The events include traditional and modern dance performances, poetry, and reaches hundreds of people of all ages, creating a multigenerational space where young people can learn from their elders about how they’ve embraced all parts of who they are.
The aim of the festival - who we want to come and celebrate at Indigenous Pride LA - is anyone who identifies as Indigenous two spirit LGBTQ persons. There is no age specific group, however last year we had lots of youth - Gabriela Leon, Co-Founder