The Los Angeles Kings held their annual Pride Night last Thursday, and the team made the LGBTQ community the visible centerpiece inside Staples Center for the entire game.
One of those elements was the Kiss Cam, which featured five same-sex couples during Pride Night. You can see the Kings’ Kiss Cam from Pride Night here:
It’s great to see such positive inclusion, yet how do people operating cameras, and others in the production room, identify same-sex couples to feature? After all, if they pick the wrong to men or women, it can be a public-relations mess.
“It’s something we struggle with,” Brooklyn Boyars, senior director of game presentation and events for the Kings, told Outsports. “You can’t just stereotype people. It’s not obvious.”
During a Pride Night, Boyars said, there are elements that make it easier. For example, they know where the group from the LGBT Center, or the local LGBTQ hockey team LA Blades, are sitting. Boyars said the Kings feature same-sex couples on the Kiss Cam throughout the season. They utilize lists of known season-ticket holders, as well as observing the people in the arena, to identify same-sex couples on a random game against the Sharks in January.
“There’s no real science to it,” she said.
For Pride Night, the team went beyond the Kiss Cam in honoring the LGBTQ community. The Kings:
- Used rainbow-colored pride-themed graphics throughout the arena;
- Had the players warm up in pride-themed jerseys;
- Honored a member of the marine corps in a same-sex relationship for their “Hero of the Game”;
- Had the LGBTQ West Coast Singers perform the National Anthem before the game;
- Auctioned game jerseys and Pride Tape sticks after the game to raise money for the Trevor Project and You Can Play, raising over $16k;
- Recognized throughout the arena various LGBTQ organizations in attendance for the game.
It’s interesting to note that Boyars said the Kings do get some pushback against Pride Night from a handful of fans.
“But we’d rather deal with that handful of fans,” Boyars said, “and continue to support the LGBTQ community here in LA.”
It’s great to see another NHL’s great franchise go above and beyond in celebrating the LGBTQ community in such a demonstrative way for Pride Night.