It’s time to convey out the glitter and rainbow gear! Congratulations everybody! This was not all the time the case however in the present day all types of organizations and civic businesses rejoice Pride; Just test the place the native parade might be. It took a while to make Metro’s involvement official, and key to this pivotal second was Jody Litvak, Metro’s interim govt director of neighborhood relations. Of course, he did not have a elaborate title on the time. However, as a younger Community Relations Manager, she determined to go along with her guts…and helped Metro take an essential step in the direction of equality within the office.
by Jody Litvak
I prefer to assume that I attempt to be an ally to anybody who’s a part of a marginalized neighborhood, at the same time as a straight, white, cisgender girl. However, in follow the chance to do that doesn’t come on daily basis. However, a while in the past, I used to be unexpectedly offered with the place of getting to do exactly that.
Since 1999, Metro has participated within the annual Pride Parade. It is seemingly the primary transit company within the nation to take action.
Metro’s participation within the Pride Parade was all the time carried out from Metro Division 7, which is situated within the coronary heart of West Hollywood. This specific bus division is way older than the Metro, which has been round since 1896.
In 2004, I began a brand new position with Metro because the Community Relations Manager for Westside. There, I used to be liable for representing the company earlier than civic leaders and organizations all through the area. And as a part of this position, I made a decision to affix our bus within the Pride parade and see what it was all about.
Today everybody is aware of about “Pride”. But on the time, Pride’s participation in Metro was not very public and details about the parade was shared on a need-to-know foundation or by particular invitation. But despite the fact that it was simply me and the operator, the occasion was plenty of enjoyable, with plenty of individuals cheering for us and our bus. Some of the Division 7 staff adorned the bus with many do-it-yourself decorations. The work was extremely artistic. The conductor had coated the bus with many small silver squares that glistened within the daylight. On nearer inspection, I noticed they have been packets of condoms!
I had a good time that day. And I wished to enhance my participation.
So when it got here time to arrange for the 2005 parade, I made a decision to make Metro’s participation extra seen. I labored with our design studio to develop our flagship “Ride with Pride” indicators—which ran alongside the facet of the bus—and a banner that ran alongside the entrance. The occasion formally marked the company’s participation for the primary time in Metro’s historical past.
I additionally offered an electronic mail inviting all staff to affix us within the parade and symbolize the company. My solely anticipated necessities have been that you simply:
- a subway employee
- Friend or member of the family of Metro worker
- somebody keen to symbolize us pretty
We received many constructive responses. But there was additionally a disapproving response. In my progressive and liberal naïveté, I had not ready myself for the hateful and downright nasty messages I’d obtain. (Honestly, I selected to overlook plenty of them, however many questioned the ethics of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, and by extension, our participation in an occasion that supported them.)
I used to be shocked. Metro participates in all types of occasions all year long and all through Los Angeles County, such because the Kingdom Day Parade, which honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. I have never seen, and nonetheless do not see, the way it was totally different. After all, I mentioned, “Everyone can ride our buses and trains as long as they pay their fare.”
Maybe I should not have been shocked. After all Metro is a superb company. It is probably going that each one attitudes current in society are current amongst our staff. While we have been engaged on the interior hearth, a Metro official requested me a query that had not crossed my thoughts. Were you inviting solely homosexual staff to take part?
“How will I know?” I replied.
Well, my initiative stood agency. Metro participated in that yr’s parade and dozens of Metro staff joined us on a bus adorned with our banner. We proceed to take action in the present day. Several dozen Metro staff and their pals go to yearly. For this event, now we have greater than 100 registrations. Thousands and 1000’s of individuals are lining the streets to say hiya and cheer and they’re very, very blissful to see us. In the early days of TAP playing cards, many individuals proudly waved their playing cards to point out us that they use and assist public transportation.
I’ll by no means know what it means to be “closed”; It could be presumptuous of me to start to grasp that ache. However, as a Jew, I come from a individuals who – all through our historical past – have needed to conceal their id and even go into hiding as a way to survive. And just like the LGBTQIA+ neighborhood, we’re experiencing a rise in hate speech and actions directed in opposition to us. While our rapid experiences have been totally different, these shared patterns and tales proceed to resonate with me.
At a crucial juncture in Metro’s historical past, I’m proud that the company has executed, and can proceed to do, the precise factor. And I’m proud and grateful for the small half I performed in it.
This is the primary yr that Metro is the official transit associate of LA Pride and might be supporting the 4 main occasions. be a part of us!
- Pride is Universal – June 8
Connect to Metro Line B (Red) and get off at Universal City/Studio City Station. For straightforward and secure entry to Universal Studios Hollywood, use the METRO pedestrian bridge situated on the nook of Lankershim and Universal Hollywood Drive.
- Pride within the Park Concert – June 9/10
Connect to the METRO L (Gold) Line and get off at Chinatown Station, then stroll N Spring Street in the direction of LA State Historic Park. You can park and switch to the L line. Union Station has over 2,000 METRO parking areas. Megan Thee Stallion will headline the present on June 9 and Mariah Carey will achieve this on June 10. We can even have a Metro Pride Selfie Tent within the Pride Village!
- 53rd Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade (Pride Parade) – June 11
Take the Metro B (Red) Line and get off on the Hollywood/Highland or Hollywood/Vine station. If you are heading to the parade, cease by the Metro Pride Selfie Tent in Pride Village!
- LGBTQ+ Night at Dodger Stadium – June 16
Take Metro to Dodger Stadium by connecting to the Stadium Express at two handy places: Union Station or South Bay. The “Ride With Pride” bus will be a part of the Dodgers Express Shuttle for tonight. Be positive to cease by the Metro Pride selfie sales space too!
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