Proudly Yours

Long Beach residents talk about their professions, their love for their city and what Pride means to them.

PHOTOS BY DUSTI CUNNINGHAM

0515_ProudlyYours_PorterPORTER GILBERG

Executive Director, The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach

“I have lived in Long Beach for 12 years. I grew up near Temecula, CA and was itching for a bigger city with a vibrant LGBTQ community. Long Beach fit the bill so when I turned 18 I made the move…

I have been working for The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach for almost 5 years. Before that I volunteered here for three years. I started out as an undergraduate intern and have worked my up to the top of the organization. I love working here and can’t see myself doing anything else…

To me, Pride is about celebrating rebellion and the exhilaratingly political aspects of our community. Of course there’s always parties, but every Pride season I like to take time to think about those who made our movement possible; the drag queens and butches that rebelled at Stonewall, the folks who fought back at the Black Cat riot,  and the fierce queers who said “no more” at Compton’s Cafeteria riot…

I’m fiercely proud to be a queer person and Pride season is one of my favorite times to blare that from the hills.”


 

0515_ProudlyYours_LandanLANDON CIDER

Drag King / Entertainer

“I’m an LA native, living in Long Beach for 10 years. I LOVE Long Beach! As a member of the LGBTQ community I recognize there are harsh realities with living in certain areas of the country/world, that keep us locked up in our closets. Long Beach has a friendly energy overall, and I’m proud to raise my rainbow flag!

I studied acting and musical theater in college… but “normal” theater didn’t fit my discovered androgyny.

At one point, I was a regular at Hamburger Mary’s “Starlette Revue,”—I loved the theatricality the Queens brought every week. So I figured… why not do that, but my way!

After recovering for my bout with cancer, I returned to the stage with my debut as Landon in February 2009, and now fortunate to do it fulltime. I host and produce 4 monthly King shows across SoCal, including here at Hamburger Mary’s [in Long Beach] the 2nd Saturday of every month.

Pride to me means Living your truth. However that falls on the sexual identity or gender spectrum, is embracing yourself for who you are. Whether you live in an environment that forces you to keep your truth locked inside your home, or in an area that embraces rainbow flags and leather chaps….living your truth is Pride!

One of the more important things about me is my partner Gabi Luna. We were brought together by Myspace in 2007, and are engaged to be married this November!”


 

0515_ProudlyYours_RyanJonesDJ RYAN JONES

Professional DJ

“I am not from Long Beach originally, but when I was 16 and first got my driver license – Long Beach was where I spent every single night that summer. It was the closest gay community I could drive to and therefore I grew up here as a baby gay in a lot of ways. Hence when I moved back here from New York in 2007, I decided to move to the Long Beach instead of defaulting back to the LA East side. I’m so glad I made that decision. It felt like coming home…

Essentially I became interested in DJing the day I first became aware of electronic music. I’ll never forget hearing the first clang come out of the speakers of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People” one day in 1984 and even at that young age I had to know more. I became obsessed with exploring all kinds of catalogs of electronic music and telling my friends they needed to hear it. That’s something that has never stopped for me…

I currently hold three residencies that I’m quite proud of. One being resident DJ at Eagle LA and another being a resident DJ for Bearracuda, which runs in 40 cities and 10 countries around the world. I’m also a resident DJ for a San Francisco based DJ/art/performance collective called SQURRRL. For LBC Pride I’ll be playing at Bearracuda Friday night at the Executive Suite. As for Eagle, you can find me there on most Sundays as long as I’m not out of town, and occasional Saturdays, as well as their regular bear night “B-Bar.”

You can always keep up on my Twitter (@djryanjones) or my Facebook (/djryanjones).”


 

0515_ProudlyYours_JewelsJEWELS

Entertainer / Drag Queen

“I grew up in a small town outside of Death Valley, in the middle of NO WHERE  but moved to Long Beach when I was 17 years old and have been in this amazing city ever since…

My first experience with drag, or even being in a movie theater, was at the age of 17 seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show. All the crazy characters with their eccentric personas fascinated me and sparked my curiosity. The Glamour has been flowing freely ever since!

… I am lucky to say I can do drag as my full time job. I host, produce and market shows and events throughout Southern California. The ability to do what you love is an astounding blessing…

Pride to me is an expression of freedom! It’s the outward embodiment of love, joy, compassion and creativity. The pride season gives us all an occasion to celebrate how far we have come as a community, and to regroup and focus on the many challenges we have yet to face in our battle for equality…

Aside from that, come out and see what the buzz is about. Join us for amazing DRAG shows at Hamburger Mary’s Long Beach and West Hollywood. You can get all the information about our crazy escapades by following me: facebook.com/JewelsLongBeach.”


 

0515_ProudlyYours_GinaGINA SMITH

LGBTQ Center Board, St Mary Medical Foundation Board

“I was born in Long Beach and I love this big little town. It is a unique and special community where everyone is welcome…

I serve on the LGBTQ Center Board and St Mary Medical Foundation Board both in Long Beach.

Because of my board affiliations I’m on numerous committees, among them for the LGBTQ Center The Senior Services Committee, The Annual Black and White Gala Committee, The Spring and Summer Social Committee.

For St Mary I’m on The Angel Committee, The Annual St Mary Foundation Gala and Auction committee, and several committees for the C.A.R.E. Program (St Mary HIV/AIDS Program). I help produce the Spring To C.A.R.E. Event, The C.A.R.E. To Dine Kickoff, and The  C.A.R.E. To Dine Event. One of my favorite committees is the Easter Walk—a fund raiser for the C.A.R.E. Program where I have the privilege of working with the fabulous  and amazing Jewels.

Pride, to me, is a celebration of who we are… how far we have come … and hopefully reminds us that we still have work to do. It celebrates our value, worth, importance and dignity…and  reminds me of how many generations fought for our validation and rights.”