In the 1960s, Main Beach in Laguna Beach was not only a major tourist destination, but also known as the epicenter of the city's gay culture, which was home to
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In the 1960s, Main Beach in Laguna Beach was home to two beachfront gay bars, Dante’s and Barefoot, making it the epicenter of the city’s gay culture.
With time, things shifted to the 1400 block of South Coast Highway, which was at one time, home to The Coast Inn, Boom Boom Room and other LGBTQ establishments. Today, with a shift in tides nationally, and the LGBTQ community going more mainstream, the blending of communities coming together and sharing spaces is overtaking the necessity for niche neighborhoods or areas, although Laguna Beach is still home to Main Street Bar & Cabaret, it’s lone ranger all-welcoming nightclub and of course West Street Beach, the unofficial “gay beach”.
Laguna Beach’s long history of being a safe haven in Southern California, and proud proclamation of being Southern California’s original gay beach, has helped make Laguna Beach what it is today. During a time when LGBTQ folks were fighting for acceptance, Bob Gentry became the first openly gay elected official in Orange County when he became mayor of Laguna Beach in 1982. Fast forward to the present, locals are still ensuring that the history and presence of LGBTQ culture is being preserved. In May of 2017, the City of Laguna Beach presented the LGBTQ Heritage and Culture Committee with a proclamation recognizing the month of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Heritage and Culture Month in Laguna Beach.
As the evolution of Laguna Beach continues to take place, the city will keep priding itself in being everyone-inclusive, and will always pay tribute to the LGBTQ history and heroes that made it that way from the start as well as support all of its visitors and residents that continue to make Laguna Beach the wonderfully accepting place that it is today.