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Royalty at Long Beach Pride inspires charity and visibility

Before there were Pride parades, AIDS walks or the LGBTQ Center Long Beach, there was the International Imperial Court of Long Beach.

“Here in Long Beach, we are one of the oldest (LGBTQ+) nonprofits to exist in the area, helping provide the seed money for the LGBT center, helping provide the first volunteers for the AIDS walk here in the city,” said Cory Allen, co-president of the International Imperial Court of Long Beach. “We’ve been going for 53 years fundraising and we are just shy of $4 million across those years.”

The organization crowns fundraisers with royal titles after they work to help raise funds for various LGBTQ+ charities in Long Beach and surrounding areas.

“I raised almost $4,000 for the United Way scholarship fund that helps LGBT people go to school,” said Natasha Hundreds, 2024 Miss Pride Long Beach.

“It’s about making sure kids can go to school,” said Ashlie Brady, 2024 Ms. Pride Long Beach. “It’s about making sure kids feel safe at school.”

Safety and visibility are two cornerstones for the organization that has expanded its titles to include non-binary recipients. “The bearded Martha Stewart” won the crown this year.

“I don’t have to be one, I don’t have to be other. I can be an amalgamation of both,” said Stewart. “It’s so important to have people who are looking first examples of people in the community who are out there and are proud to be who they are.”

“For us to provide that space for people to live authentically and show themselves authentically has really been a treasure for us,” said Allen.

“It’s not just about the crowns, it’s about advocating for queer rights,” Brady said.

“I think it is a cornerstone within the LGBT community,” said Hundreds.

A cornerstone that shines in crystals and rhinestones and delivers for a community proud to be who they are.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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