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TRAVEL Los Angeles' queer history: Living the legacy

Despite what gay people think, LGBT Los Angeles does not entirely revolve around West Hollywood. True, the neighborhood has long been a staple of queer culture in this sprawling metropolis, and it certainly boasts enough to qualify it as Boystown West. But beyond WeHo’s vibrant day- and nightlife, it’s time to shine the spotlight at some other points of interest.

Downtown L.A. can feel like a forgotten zone of an otherwise glamorous city. But its history is as dramatic as the eyes of a starlet on the casting couch. The city itself was founded in a now-landmarked part of downtown called El Pueblo, once home to the Tongva—a Native American tribe that prized “two-spirit” people, or those who embodied both masculine and feminine spirits. In other words, L.A. was originally populated by people who understood and even celebrated transgender and homosexual people.

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.