Lights: Pride events in Santa Monica include several lighting displays in Downtown. Courtesy photos

After a muted 2020, Santa Monica Pride is back with a colorful bang offering a range of in-person and virtual experiences to celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Residents can expect the month-long lighting of City hall in rainbow colors and ‘Miles of Pride’ art and light installation along the Promenade. Community members are also invited to attend a series of panel discussions focused on building understanding of the range of experiences and gender identities within the queer community.

SaMo PRIDE, now in its third year, is produced by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. Santa Monica Place and the Santa Monica Pier, in collaboration with Santa Monica Travel & Tourism and the City of Santa Monica.

This year’s programming places a strong emphasis on intersectionality and is centering events around black, indigenous, and people of color as well as trans individuals.

“We really want to raise their voices up this year in recognition of the unique experiences those communities have within the LGBTQ umbrella and the need to better tell their stories,” said Christopher Smith, City Chief of Staff and LBGTQ+ Liaison.

The celebrations will kick off with City Council’s annual proclamation of Pride Month on June 8, including a recitation of an original work by local poet Terry Wolverton.

On June 10, there will be a virtual discussion of the joys, struggles, and barriers that are unique to the BIPOC Queer community. Then on June 15 there will be a live streamed and in-person event at the Annenberg Beach House featuring the work of five LGBTQ+ authors.

Later in the month on June 24, the City will host an online discussion on the political and personal attacks facing the trans community and ongoing efforts to advance trans rights.

“Trans people in particular are now a target of hateful fearful legislation in 33 states and are increasingly a target of hate crimes across the nation,” said Smith. “We’re living in a time where this idea that gender and sexual orientation is non binary is not broadly understood or accepted even though it’s something that we really stand behind here in Santa Monica.”

Presenting panelists will outline steps people can take in their personal lives and in their communities to create a safer and more inclusive world for trans individuals. The Santa Monica Public Library has also prepared Pride reading lists for kids, teens, and adults to help residents learn more about the trans and queer community.

On June 25 the Church in Ocean Park and the Gender Sexuality Alliance of Samohi will be hosting their annual Queer Prom event at the Annenberg Beach House in collaboration with the City and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism. This event meets another goal of the City’s Pride month celebrations, which is to build a stronger local LGBTQ+ community.

Santa Monica has a long history of being an inclusive city, with Ocean Park in particular being a center of a thriving queer artist community in the 60s and 70s. When Judy Abdo was elected as Mayor in 1990, Santa Monica became one of the first cities with an openly gay mayor. City Council was also an early adopter of domestic partnerships before gay marriage was legalized.

This year’s Pride program serves to celebrate this history, bring the community together and continue pushing for the inclusion and rights of all LGBTQ+ individuals. Smith said anyone interested in learning more about the events and how to register should visit

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