OUR MISSION

 

We are committed to celebrating everyone’s story, spreading optimism, growing our community and expanding our definition of diversity.

By the community. For the community.

WHAT IS DTLA PROUD?

DTLA Proud is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strengthens and empowers the local LGBTQ+ & ally community in Downtown Los Angeles through visibility, volunteerism, partnerships and events. Founded by a grassroots group of local residents, business owners, community leaders and nightlife promoters, we were born from the idea that together we could create an all-inclusive community that represents the diverse LGBTQ+ population that lives, works and plays in the thriving heart of the city of Los Angeles.

Board Members

Founder, Board Member & President

Oliver Alpuche

I am a true native to LA, born at White Memorial Hospital in East LA and raised in Highland Park. Los Angeles will always be home.

Growing up as the youngest of six boys was an interesting experience. We were our own tribe, especially since we were the only Belizeans in the neighborhood. Everyone looked out for each other even though we were all so different.

I have an identical twin who has always been by my side and there for me. I love creating events and bringing people together because I want others to know the feeling.

I am also grateful for my older brother that came out before me. He truly bared the brunt of the coming out experience and paved the way for my twin and I to come out.

Well…. I actually never really came out…. My mom called me one day and said “please don’t tell me you are like your brother, I’ll just die”. I responded with, “ you won’t die, you’ll suffer depression for a little bit but you’ll get over it”. Nowadays, mom and dad are my biggest allies.

When I was 14, my dad worked in construction so we had tons of leftover job supplies around the house. One weekend, I was tired of our house looking like it was going to fall down. I grabbed a scrapper, paint supplies and started to work on the house. After a few hours my brothers and parents slowly started helping out. By the end of the day everyone was working on something and our house had a full on facelift. This all started with scraping old paint off the walls…

I ran my first marathon in 2005 for APLA just because I wanted to do something different. Afterwards, I started working for Nike and throwing community events. My mission was to create an authentic running store by connecting with the community. I started a running club at the LGBT youth center and a fitness Friday class at a local elementary school. Also, we were able to throw free 1⁄2 marathons and create training programs.

My experience with Nike inspired me to open up a gay bar in DTLA and help bring the community together. I had lived in DTLA for 6 years and witnessed the growth of the LGBTQ+ community. There was a lack of safe spaces for people to meet motivated me to embark on journey to create one.

Co-Founder, Board Member & Vice President

Eric Solis

Going to college at USC in the early 2000’s, I grew to love the architecture and urban vibe of Downtown Los Angeles, but it wasn’t really a destination back then. I’d go out to WeHo on occasion with my college friends, but I always craved something different and more authentic. As warehouse parties became more popular in Downtown and more artists and creative people starting moving in, DTLA quickly became a new hotspot for underground and off-the-radar queer parties like Shits n’ Giggles, Rhonda, Mustache Mondays, and Summertramp. It was around the early 2010’s when I first moved to DTLA and began to notice a full-fledged queer community starting to take root in the neighborhood – gay couples holding hands while walking down the street had become a very common sight. 2015 was the pivotal year when new gay bars Precinct, Redline, and Mattachine all opened within months of each other, and LA had given birth to a new gayborhood seemingly overnight. I soon befriended the bar owners, and that’s how I first heard about the vision for an LGBTQ+ pride festival in DTLA. At the time I was volunteering for Night on Broadway, one of LA’s largest free festivals, so I already had an understanding of what it takes to put on a huge event and how to bring communities together. Using my background in architectural design and event planning, I stepped in to help produce the very first DTLA Proud Festival and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s hard to believe DTLA Proud Festival is already celebrating its 4th year! It’s been amazing to see the incredible growth of the festival, the organization and the DTLA LGBTQ+ community first-hand over the past few years. I feel so PROUD to be a part of it all, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our blossoming gayborhood.
Co-Founder, Board Member & Creative Director

Andres Rigal

When I first created SummerTramp (many Suns ago) the Downtown Los Angeles that we all know now was still in its infancy. The year was 2010 and West Hollywood was the undisputed center of the LGBTQ universe. Other than a few pioneering parties (thank you Shits n’ Giggles, Rhonda and Mustache Mondays) the eastside et al was relatively quiet, few and far in-between for the queer community at large.

Back then I was new to Queer nightlife and I was surprised how divided the scene was. Westside stayed west and Eastside stayed east – rarely did they mix. So when I first started SummerTramp I made it my intention to program with all sides of Los Angeles. A safe space that celebrates unity within the community where EVERYONE can let their hair down, take their clothes off, be themselves and ultimately raise their flag without any judgment.

It’s been over 8 years since I first slid down that slide… During that time I’ve have had the pleasure of witnessing what I feel has been a renaissance in the queer community with Downtown L.A. leading the way. Never before have I felt a stronger unification in the LGBTQ+ community than I do today and it makes sense that we’re celebrating this unification in the flourishing heart of Los Angeles.

Just like SummerTramp, DTLA Proud is all-inclusive accessible festival that represents the diverse LGBTQ+ population. Ultimately both these gatherings share the same ethos, the same intention of bringing people together in a celebration of love and unity. While SummerTramp has always been anchored in providing these sentiments to the community, DTLA Proud brings this about on a grander scale, operating as a 100% non-profit with the sole intention of bringing awareness to and for our community in the ever-growing landscape of DTLA.

Board Member and Community Director

Milton Smith

After nearly 10 years of living my authentic life while navigating adulthood as a black gay man in New York City, I returned home to Los Angeles hoping to find a large diverse LGBTQ+ community similar to the one I had left behind. Not able to find such a community I began volunteering my time to support the pre Prop 8 initiative Let California Ring as it worked to ensure the right of all Californians to be able to marry whom they love. While the loss at the ballot was extremely disappointing, it ignited in me a greater sense of passion to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ people. When I learned of the development of a new organization representing the diverse population of LGBTQ+ people who live, work, and play downtown, I knew I had to be involved. I’m proud to be a member of this community because our resiliency and diversity helps in making the city a better place for all.
Board Member, Development Director

Tony Hoang

Tony Hoang is the managing director for Equality California. In that role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization. Prior to joining Equality California, Tony interned at the Pacific Council of International Policy and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He holds a BA in international relations from the University of Southern California with minors in political science and biology. Tony serves on the board of directors of the Equality Federation, the national movement builder and strategic partner to state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. Tony is also Vice President of the Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission and sits on the advisory board of Generation Change, an organization dedicated to electing millennials to office. He lives in Downtown Los Angeles with his partner Ian.
Board Member

Scottie Jeanette

Awarded and sought after for her engaging storytelling & bold visual style, Scottie has over 35 years in the trenches, She’s comfortable and experienced in any genre, bringing creative solutions and professional acumen to any show she produces from adventure reality/documentary, to richly post-produced dramatic television series, live network events, scripted or non-scripted, primetime competition reality, games shows or children’s programming… oh… and feature film for good measure.

Scottie rose through the technical ranks as camera operator and editor to bring a front line experience to her work as writer, director and showrunner. Her feature writing and directing debut, “the kiss” was decorated in film festivals (Best Horror film, Best Horror Script HIFF, & Audience Favorite Award LAFF) and was featured at AFM. s Showrunner, Networks know that Scottie will bring her crews home safely while getting all of the story. Her recent television work has garnered international attention, Discovery’s “Land Rush” & the legendary “Dude, You’re Screwed,” (“Survive That!” Internationally) Nat Geo’s “The Ark.” History channel’s “Bamazon,” APL’s “Ragin’ Cajuns’. and awards for weekly series such as, Vh-1’s “Cookin’ Ain’t Easy, with Three 6 Mafia”, History Channel’s “Last To Survive”, Discovery Channel’s “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment”, “NBC’s “The Contender” & “The Contender: Live Season Finale,” NBC’s “The Apprentice Live Season Finale,” FOX’s “Legacy”, FOX’s “Joe Millionaire Specials” and ESPN’s "Surfer Magazine," "Powder Magazine," and "Snowboarder.” And for the youth markets, “Pug and Zero’s Field Trip,” for national Syndication, and MTV’s “Bully Beatdown.”Ms. Madden is also a best-selling author of two books: Recklass In The Kitchen -- a year of light, laughter & love... oh, and food! and her memoir “Getting Back To Me” from girl to boy to woman in just fifty years is being adapted for television with Valerie C. Woods, and was selected to launch the premier of Staged/Lit – a showcase of adapted works for the screen.

Other recent directing credits include, “Hot Tamales Live!” and “The Best of It’s Showtime at the Apollo” comedy series for Western International Syndication.
She has also logged many miles in the international documentary arena for the Discovery Channel, ESPN, and ABC.

Photo: M. Sharkey Studios

Interim Board Member & Treasurer

Dominic Alpuche

With more than 20 years in grant management and financial administration, Dominic has extensive experience in administering federal, state, and local agency grants, as well as foundation grants. His passion for his work and his ability to see himself in the people whom he serves has driven his success.

Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Dianne Taylor

While working full time at Cal State University Dianne is in her 3rd year of volunteering for DTLA Proud. She also volunteers for various organizations around the City of Los Angeles.
Advisory Board

Julian Montanez

Knowledge Management Specialist at Capital Group
Advisory Board

Michael Chavez

Michael is a proud DTLA resident of 5 years and an Associate Director of Events & Sponsorships for Equality California. Prior to joining Equality California, he worked in development and events for arts organizations around Los Angeles, most recently serving as a member of the special events team at LA Opera.
Advisory Board

Teri Kinne

Teri Kinne is an award-wining event producer who is passionate about celebration and philanthropy and its place in community. She has produced events in Los Angeles for seventeen years as the in-house planner for some of the finest cultural venues in the city including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the J. Paul Getty Center and Villa. In 2011 she launched her own event production group: Teri Kinne Events.
Advisory Board

Charles Ochoa

I am a Los Angeles County native. Growing up out east, in the suburbs of Covina, I was part of a family of 5 children to immigrant parents. Made the move to the city in 2016 to further romance a career pathway and new life journey.

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, I quickly acquired a design role and succeeded moving upwards through the ranks to manage thee entire print production operation. Most recently, I have dedicated time to become a cycling instructor to fulll my mind + body aspirations while actively volunteering at DTLA PROUD since 2019. I also help foster dogs 🙂

As my queer identity exponentially evolved into the cis gendered gay man that I am today, I started to refocus energy into a community and organization where I could see notable change for the better. As I continue to work with the PROUD Team, I see the positive changes and representation we all want to help implement in diversity, inclusion and equity in the programs we host and partner with.

As I continue to navigate uncharted waters into the future, I can’t wait to see how I can help change and shape the future with my creative, energetic and philanthropic aspirations to help build, guide and manifest safe spaces and representation for my queer family.

Advisory Board

Pony Gold

Pony Gold is a DTLA based filmmaker, community activist, and I.A.T.S.E. Local 600 Union member working in the camera department in film and television. She has worked with A-list talent on productions for HBO, Netflix, Showtime and Rolling Stone.

Since moving to Los Angeles, building and serving her local community has been a priority. Whether it's working a commercial or volunteering on a project, she has a passion to simply help those around her. Some of her favorite organizations to support through volunteer work are the NOHO Home Alliance homeless shelter, The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and DTLA PROUD. She also supports smaller independent donation drives and causes that champion community aid and/or activism.

Ms. Gold first started her affiliation with DTLA PROUD in July 2020 when she was brought onto the documentary film, "Proud In The Pandemic" as a Director of Photography.

"Amidst all of the changes and challenges in the world, I combat the feeling of helplessness by helping those around me knowing that one person CAN actually make a difference" is her personal mission.

Advisory Board

John Constantine Lucido

I’ve been a performer my whole life, studying classic music, voice, and composition throughout my childhood, and continued to study recording engineering and music business in college. To help with my music career, I began my own graphic and web design business. I have a penchant for working with artists, performers, non profits, and also have the ability to handle national marketing campaigns.

Staff

Development Manager

Dennis B. Caasi II

Guam-born, Alaska-raised, London-educated, Morocco-cultured, and LA-made. Spreading joy and reveling in life's gifts are what drive Dennis to success. He has a passion for celebrating the arts, cultivating relationships, building communities and bringing people together in Los Angeles and around the world.