Los Angeles’s 53rd annual Pride Parade is this Sunday June 11th. The festivities will kick off at 11am in Hollywood.

This year, the organizers have honored queer comedian, actor and activist Margaret Cho as the Icon Grand Marshall. The late Emmy award-winning actor Leslie Jordan is being honored as the Legacy Grand Marshall, and the ACLU of Southern California was chosen as the Community Grand Marshall.

Cho has been going to Pride events since 1978. She joined “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen to discuss how Pride has changed over the years.

“They were very different. They were much smaller, much less fanfare. Certainly less of a corporate presence,” Cho said. “But there were, of course, a lot of great, wonderful gay businesses that were showing off and having a great time with their floats.”

One thing Cho says has remained the same is the annual parade is led by the Dykes on Bikes motorcycle club. The sound of their motorcycles is something she cherishes at the beginning of the parade.

“When I hear that it’s just so reminiscent of what we do this for, so it’s a very special sound and a very special event,” Cho said.

This year’s Pride comes at a time when hundreds of pieces of anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country according to the ACLU.

“Of course, I’ve experienced homophobia over the years, but it’s never been as pronounced as this. So we’re going way back to a time that I’m not sure I even remember,” Cho said. “So it’s something that is alarming, but it’s also something that we as a community have experience with.”

She adds Pride is the LGBTQ+ community’s weapon to stand up for themselves and push back against hate.

Cho is also in the middle of her live comedy tour Live and Livid, which celebrates her 40 years as a stand-up comedian. She uses her stand-up as a way to get her message across to people in a more effective way.

“I think we, as comedians, have an innate ability to get through in a way maybe other entertainers can’t and certainly [sic] politicians can’t,” Cho said.

And the message she sends on stage on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community is simple, yet important.

“We just want to stay alive. We just want to stay here. We just want to be seen, and be here.”

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