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Why these LGBT groups are protesting Pride

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/16/2017 Sydney C Greene
#NoJusticeNoPride protests the Capital Pride parade in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2017. © No Justice No Pride #NoJusticeNoPride protests the Capital Pride parade in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2017.

As New York's Pride week kicks off, attendees may see displays of division within the LGBT community.

#NoJusticeNoPride, an LGBTQ+ group whose blockade of the Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C., drew national headlines and mixed reactions from parade-goers June 10, plans to do it again at New York's parade June 25.

“This movement has come from a point of exhaustion and frustration — from queer and trans black and brown people and other marginalized communities who have felt that their experiences and their truths have been ... dismissed,” said #NoJusticeNoPride D.C. organizer Emmelia Talarico.

The demands of New York's #NoJusticeNoPride organizers echo those of Washington's:

  • Including trans women of color and indigenous people in decision-making roles
  • Ending the endorsement of law enforcement agencies
  • Barring corporations that have a negative impact on the LGBT+ community

“It’s a closeted issue that we don’t really talk about because we have been sold this idea of equality and diversity," said New York #NoJusticeNoPride organizer Michael Basillas, who uses the pronouns they and them. "But I think that is an appropriate time to have the conversation on what is equality, what is solidarity — for everyone."

Although Basillas would not give concrete information on how the group plans to protest NYC Pride, they said the group has all intention to make their presence known and visible.

“We will put our foot down to the ground, rooted to the ground and have clear visibility,” Basillas said. “Before it became a parade, it became a movement. And it still is a movement.”

Follow the money?

Major corporations — from Delta Airlines, AT&T and Facebook to Whole Foods, BudLight, and Chipotle — have become a major source of funding for Pride festivities across the country. And a source of contention within LGBT groups.

A chief complaint #NoJusticeNoPride voiced was with Capital Pride’s corporate sponsors, such as Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin, BAE systems and Northrop Grumman.

"Several of us have been protesting Capital Pride under a couple of different banners over the past couple years, mostly over its ties with defense contractors, banks that are funding private prisons, funding pipelines that are going through indigenous lands, like Wells Fargo," Talarico said. 

Capital Pride board president Bernie Delia said the presence of corporate sponsors is a positive one, and that many people who marched with corporations in the parade were members of the LGBT community themselves. 

"We also have to recognize that many of the strides we have made has been because the business community has helped for equality and equal treatment," Delia said. 

Major companies supporting Pride — including Wells Fargo, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Capital One — scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index

A bigger issue at hand 

The term intersectionality is often used in feminism, but it's also used in the LGBT community. Those in the LGBT community have an overlapping of their identities that highlights their social disadvantages and discrimination like race, gender, economic class, disability, etc. Basillas said parade isn't just for white, gay men, but for black transgender women, indigenous people and black women who are often left out of the conversation surrounding issues in the LGBT community. 

"It's predominately white, it's predominately cis and it's predominately male," Basillas said. "It hurts to know that when the rest of your community manages themselves to move forward, they leave us behind."

A common demand amongst the resistance groups is bringing pride back to it's protesting roots, which started as a riot at the Stonewall in lead by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson—two transgender women of color. Those women were subject to discrimination within their own communities and that discrimination still exists today, Basillas said. 

Talarico said the fight for the advancement of LGBT people should include everyone who belongs to the community, not just those who hold privilege. 

"Why wouldn't these folks not want to to be out in the streets fighting for us—and not just for a couple of the most privileged of us," Talarico said. "I think that it's really hard for them to see a different perspective and what it's like to be a trans woman of color."

No one's first protest

Protesting Pride isn’t new. In Los Angeles last year, the boycott #NotOurPride surfaced on social media. The hashtag was born out of opposition to an L.A. Pride that had been re-branded into a music festival, complete with higher ticket prices and reduced hours for the lesbian and trans community events, said Peter Cruz, associate director at Asian-Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT).

#NotOurPride gained traction and people vowed to boycott the event.

“We realized that we were hitting on something deeper than just our organization,” Cruz said. “There’s a fine line between getting sponsors to put on an event and the blatant commercialization of the movement. I don’t think those who stood up for the Stonewall riots intended it to be commercialized." 

Cruz encouraged #NoJusticeNoPride to continue to fight.

"They're standing up for the history of Pride," Cruz said. "They're honoring the legacy of those brave individuals who that stood up against ignorance and hate during the Stonewall riots."

Why have Pride parades? A few reasons

Read more: PRIDE.USATODAY.COM

 

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