Amanda talks with Aidan Garcia-Sheffield about moving to San Pedro and starting the 1st Pride on the Port.
EPISODE DATE: 08/29/2019
By Tracy Bueno
Welcome to the season 1 finale!!
Amanda starts the episode by talking about the LGBTQ+ community and how it’s important to make them feel welcome and give space for them to grow. PRIDE isn’t just about rainbows, great outfits, fabulousness or sex. It’s about rights and the freedom for people to choose who they love and explore who they are in their personalities and their sexual identity.
Today’s guest is Aiden Garcia-Sheffield, a local community activist who is the founder and president of Bridge Cities Alliance, an organization responsible for Pride on the Port. Also, he is the owner of Underground Los Angeles, which is a barbershop located on 6th Street in downtown San Pedro. Originally from Savannah, Georgia, he shares his coming out story and how much it meant to him that his family accepted him for who he was, which is not always the case for LGBTQ+ children. Aiden started out as a realtor and when the market crashed, he became a flight attendant. There was a period of time when traveled around the world while living in the in-flight centers at LAX. He eventually moved to Redondo Beach and met his husband in Long Beach. Aiden started looking for places for them to settle and discovered beautiful San Pedro. His husband, originally from Wilmington, was on the fence about moving to San Pedro but Aiden eventually convinced him. They now call San Pedro their home.
Aiden on moving to San Pedro with his husband:
“ What I love about San Pedro is that it’s a port town like Savannah and it’s rich in history like Savannah. This is the place that I’ve been the most happiest in California because it’s the most hometown, the most grounded, and that’s what I love about it. People are out there doing things for the community and not just self-serving." – Aiden Garcia-Sheffield
Aiden discussed how he started his barbershop business along with his story about coming out to his family. Amanda then asked him about what advice he would give to parents on dealing with their child coming out. He said they have to give their child unconditional love. Then they have to love themselves to be understanding of the situation and reach out to organizations like Bridge Cities Alliance. They need to understand the challenges their child faces when they come out as gay or lesbian, but know they can get through them.
When Aiden and his husband moved to San Pedro, Aiden wanted to get involved in the community. He learned from a friend about an opportunity with the Central Neighborhood Council, and he chose to get involved, not realizing what he was getting himself into. Initially, he was received with hostility and even found himself to be a target, being misunderstood as someone who did not have the best interests of the community at heart. Aiden is quite sure the hostility he received was also because he was gay and not a born and raised San Pedran. He elaborated on how there were other issues going on at the same time such as local homelessness. Yet, he persevered through those obstacles and wanting to bring the community together is what led him to start Bridge Cities Alliance.
On What Led to Pride on the Port:
“ We had the flag raising as a result of an attack of a community member ... and so after we did that first flag raising, where there were several hundred people at it, which was great because it showed the true spirit of San Pedro, that, 'no, tolerance doesn't belong here' ... Within a month we said, 'lets have a pride, let's do it'. That's kind of what let up to the wild production of Pride on the Port!" – Aiden Garcia-Sheffield
Aiden wants Pride on the Port to become a hometown event and really create awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. He clarifies that this community doesn’t want to have special treatment, but rather equal treatment. LGBTQ+ people exist in all backgrounds and colors and Aiden points out that they are representative of the world. Amanda talks about how much experiencing PRIDE in their hometown meant to her and her friend Nick. It was such a special experience for both of them and she publicly thanks Aiden for all the work he’s done to create love and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. He even talked about planning next year’s Pride on the Port by including live music and tribute bands. Aiden says he wants to continue to bring that experience in years to come.
And with that, we’ll see you next week for season 2 of Hello San Pedro!!
Bridge Cities Alliance