The inaugural Seal Beach Pride parade took place early Saturday afternoon, June 6. Billed on social media as “Evolved Residents for Equality in Seal Beach 1st annual Pride March,” the event featured a Seal Beach Police escort.
An SBPD patrol car led the way with flashing lights while an officer followed on foot.
The event was organized by the founder of Evolved—Residents For Equality in Seal Beach Chase McCants Farrell.
In an email, she said the event was put on through the group, though she did the leg work.
The officer driving the car was driving with her wife, according to event organizer Chase McCants Farrell.
Lt. Nick Nicholas, public information officer for the SBPD, said Officer Enos came up with the idea for SBPD officers to wear the LGBTQ patch for June. June is LGBTQ Pride month. The letters stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer.
A few car horns honked, apparently in support. People stopped to take photos and videos on their cell phones. The marchers included “Aunt Gertie” (also known as Karen Hadley) in a purple dress with an “Aunt Gertie Loves Pride” sign in her hand, a woman with a sign saying she was proud of her gay son, individuals carrying small U.S. flags, one man carried a rainbow variation of the California flag. Adults pushed small kids in strollers. At least one teenager rolled along on skates.
“It was flawless,” Farrell said.
She described it as a family-friendly event.
The group marched from Main and Electric Avenue, to Electric and 10th Street, to 10th and Central Avenue, to Central and Ocean Avenue, and from there to Eisenhower Park before speeches began. Participants included the Gay Straight Alliance and the Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Los Alamitos.
“Everybody was able to march peacefully, happily, and safely,” Farrell said.
“I was so stoked there were no haters yelling,” she said.
Farrell said some parents had expressed concern about a possible backlash. She said she reached out to Seal Beach Police Chief Phil Gonshak and extended an invitation to participate.
“It was in part because of them that it was a safe event,” Farrell said.
“They were incredibly respectful,” she said.
She gave credit to the Seal Beach Police Department.
According to Farrell, when lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender youth are supported by the community and in their homes, they succeed.
The event was scheduled to gather at 1 p.m. under a tree at Electric and Main. They got started around 1:30 p.m.