Members of the Inland Empire queer and transgender community — and some elected officials — marched Friday afternoon, March 31, through downtown Riverside to further their “goals of safety, autonomy, and joy.”

The crowd, many of whom wore or carried gay pride and transgender pride flags walked from the Back to the Grind coffee shop to Riverside City Hall, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, transphobia’s got to go!”

March 31 has been designated as the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Riverside’s march was one of about 150 nationwide as part of the March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy. Other Southern California marches and events took place in Pomona, Santa Ana and Hollywood.

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Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride has two events coming up: a Mother’s Day brunch and a June awards ceremony.Braunwyn Windham-Burke, of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” is set to appear at the May 8 Mother’s Day Brunch fundraiser at VIP Nightclub, 3673 Merrill Ave., Riverside. The event will include food, entertainment and the chance to meet the reality TV star.

The organization’s June 25 awards ceremony will honor those who have supported the Inland LGBTQ+ community. The group’s first such ceremony will be at Riverside Pride’s Masquerade Gayla at Crestmore Manor in Jurupa Valley.

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Maulding, 30, who identifies as a queer male, found that clubs and bars were pretty much the only places in the city where he could go and feel like he was part of the LGBTQ community.

“We needed something else,” he said in a recent interview. “We need open and out LGBTQ events to help lift the community, events that would give families a way to celebrate who they are. We need family-friendly options other than bars and clubs.”

In September 2020, in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, Maulding founded Riverside LGBTQ Pride, an organization he hopes will fill that need in the community. In late May 2021, the group became a legally incorporated organization in California.

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