The fourth annual “Sizzle,” an alcohol- and drug-free celebration, will take place this weekend as part of the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood.
This year there will be a “Take a Sober Stand” contingency — a coalition of LGBT people in recovery and their allies gathering to demonstrate that they can lead fulfilling free from addiction — participating in the Resist March on Sunday “Take a Sober Stand” is being organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Sizzle is a co-sponsor.
“The celebration of pride has so many meanings within our LGBT community,” said West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran. “We wanted to make sure that a space existed within the festival for those community members who wish to remain alcohol and drug free during the festival and parade. We’re all honored to see how the broader community has embraced and promoted Sizzle as that space within the pride celebration.”
“While we still see significant drug use in the gay community, having a dedicated drug- and alcohol-free section of pride is symbolic of the transition away from substance abuse,” said Jimmy Palmieri, a member of the West Hollywood Human Services Commission. “The joyous carnival atmosphere of Sizzle gives people a fun and inspiring experience within the pride celebration, while putting alcohol and drugs on hold.”
Sizzle is hosted by the West Hollywood Project in partnership with the City of West Hollywood, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Institute for Public Strategies and Christopher Street West.
The event includes carnival-style games (including ring toss, pluck a duck and a high striker) and prizes, seven popular DJs from across the LGBT spectrum, as well as attendees playing games, winning prizes and dancing.
West Hollywood, like other communities across the U.S., experiences many preventable crashes, injuries, deaths and other problems related to abuse of alcohol and other drugs. The City of West Hollywood is proactively working to advance public health, safety and quality of life by implementing a set of strategic initiatives, including events like Sizzle which seek to curb injuries, fatalities and overall dependence on substances.
Sizzle is one of several high-profile West Hollywood events billed as alcohol- and drug-free. Other examples are the alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration known as Boom as well as a recent business mixer with the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Organizers note more work is still needed. According to Harder + Company, an independent community researcher, in a survey of past attendees, 44% think alcohol abuse is a problem at LA Pride. The same survey found that a strong minority of attendees also believed that minors were being served alcohol at L.A. Pride, and most respondents think methamphetamine (meth) use is somewhat or very prevalent at L.A. Pride.
Sizzle is located within the L.A. Pride at West Hollywood Park at the intersection of San Vicente Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. The event is open to the public on Friday from 7 to 11 p.m., and from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets to the Pride festival can be purchased online.