If you noticed a larger preponderance of rainbow flags flying high in Rancho Mirage and throughout the Palm Springs Valley from Friday, November 6 to Sunday, November 7, that’s because tens of thousands of locals and visitors were celebrating LGBT Pride Weekend.
The three-day extravaganza started on Friday in Rancho Mirage with the equal rights non-profit Human Rights Campaign throwing its opening bash for a select 150 men and women who were granted that rare peek into “Mayan House,” the Thunderbird Heights home of U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costas and his designer husband, Michael Smith. (I can hear you asking, dear readers, how fun it was to traipse around the lavish home where President Barack Obama stayed as a guest of the Costas-Smiths. Well, let me tell you, it was great fun to imagine POTUS lounging on the large terrace overlooking Rancho Mirage, or dipping a presidential toe into the soothing waters of that crystal clear pool!)
Saturday, in Palm Springs, another beautiful private estate was the site of HRC’s Garden Party, where perennially bowtied Jim Obergefell—the victorious plaintiff at the heart of the Supreme Court case that brought marriage equality to every state in the nation last June—spoke to a crowd of almost a thousand. Sunny Sunday brought the glorious—and oh so well attended—Pride Parade down Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.
To add a little punch and twist to the festivities, Desert Outlook magazine—the LGBT glossy published locally by Gannett Company’s The Desert Sun, featured winners of its annual Ultimate Pride List on the cover. The online contest identified the best of the best in a variety of disciplines throughout the Palm Springs Valley, and many a Rancho Mirage business and business person ended up being top rated. Popular local java house Koffi (whose third outpost is in Rancho Mirage) got first and second places in the Coffee Shop category, while Desert European Motorcars was awarded third place in the Best Auto Dealer class. But it was our very own Medicine Men—Rancho Mirage resident Dr. Tim Jochen of Contour Dermatology, and Dr. John Stansell, Dr. Michael Hughes, and Dr. Alex del Rosario (all three members of the Eisenhower Medical Center family) who scored #1 in the Best Cosmetic Surgeon and Best LGBT-Friendly Physician races, respectively.