Long Beach approves start of discussions for a LGBTQ cultural district

Long Beach is moving forward with the initial phase of designating the Broadway Corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods as a cultural district to recognize the contributions of the LGBTQ community.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of having city management start discussions with residents, LGBTQ community members and historians on how to move forward with the potential designation.

Mayor Robert Garcia, the city’s first openly gay mayor, said the corridor has been a center of political activism, inclusion and a safe haven for the city’s LGBTQ community for decades and it was time to recognize the historical contributions and significance of the corridor.

“It was the one place you could go to and be open, come out and be with friends,” Garcia said.

The corridor was broadly defined in Garcia’s letter to the council as the stretch of Broadway between Alamitos and Junipero avenues and the adjacent neighborhoods, but the scope of any district is likely to be decided through community input.

Councilmember Cindy Allen coauthored the request and said that the corridor played a central part in the LGBTQ community’s history and that the city should stay focused on being even more welcoming and inclusive.

Allen echoed Garcia in pointing out the significance the corridor still plays for the community.

“They are homes away from homes, community centers and gathering centers and make people feel safe in our community when so many other communities do not feel safe,” Allen said of LGBTQ-owned businesses in the area.

It’s unclear how long the outreach process will be or how much designating the cultural district could cost the city. Part of the request asked for an initial feasibility assessment and for the city manager to identify funding.

The city typically starts its annual budget process in July, when the mayor and city manager release a tentative budget, followed by public hearings in August and September before the council adopts the full budget before the start of the fiscal year in October.

Broadway Corridor could be designated a cultural district celebrating LGTBQ history

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.