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Rainbow Reflections

A column about LGBTQ life in Laguna

By Craig Cooley

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Rainbow reflections Craig

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Craig Cooley

Laguna Beach Pride 365 wishes to thank the entire community for its support of of this year’s Laguna Beach Pride. The attendance was excellent and the venues superb. Thank you to Nirvana Grille for the Friday’s welcome on the Rooftop, and Main Street Bar and Cabaret for the Dance Party. Saturday, our thanks to Harry Huggins for our Laguna Canyon hike, the Royal Hawaiian for an excellent Drag Bingo Brunch, and especially to Mo and Hasty Honarkar for their generous contributions and excellent staff service for our main event at Seven7Seven. 

For Sunday, we wish to thank Mozambique for hosting our finale event wrapping up a long weekend. 

I also wish to thank the Laguna Beach Pride 365 team that worked so hard for the last six months to pull it all together and make it the great success it became. They are already planning for next year. 

Rainbow reflections trio

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(L-R) Gordon Gardner, Bill Atkins, and Harry Huggins 

It wouldn’t have been what it was without the dream team, Jonathan Colliflower, Michelle Volz, and Bonnie Matthews. Along with the dream team, we had a bevy of excellent volunteers. Without our committed team and our volunteers, the event would not have been possible…a warm and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. 

We are grateful for the financial support of the many personal donations and corporate sponsors that stepped forward when their support was very much needed for the event and continues to be as we move forward. We sincerely appreciate all the donations, from just $5 on up.

But, most importantly, I wish to thank all the attendees that came and shared the message of love and inclusion. Your support and admiration are the reasons we do what we do. 

Rainbow Reflections Rouda

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Laguna Beach Pride 365 receives Congressional Recognition from Congressman Harley Rouda: (L-R) Jonathan Colliflower, Michelle Volz, Craig Cooley, and Harley Rouda

As the rainbow flag of diversity continues to fly at City Hall for the entire month of June, we are indeed grateful to be living in a community that is so abundantly accepting and inclusive. We must temper that with the realization that in so many other locations around the world, this is not the situation. There is still abuse, hatred, and capital crimes being committed and directed at the LGBTQ members of the community. From exclusion with employment opportunities to being fired for being our honest selves, discrimination and hate manifest themselves in many ways. Indeed, many laws and punishments still exist today, globally, that are severe and that come with sentences that may include lifetime incarceration and execution.

Rainbow reflections at table

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Main event night at Seven7Seven 

So, it is with that perspective that I am so humbly grateful to our community. A community to be so very proud of – a community that can be an example to others, that can share the proud sense of love, and that helps many others as they struggle with being honest and who they are. A community that lights the path of love and acceptance, away from self-hatred, despair, and even suicide. 

Yes, I am indeed grateful, thank you Laguna Beach, thank you for being the best damn place on earth!

Happy Pride Month, everyone! 

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