LGBT dance party shuts down inauguration entrance

The blockade was just one of dozens of protests across DC on Friday.

Dozens of queer activists block one entrance to the national mall on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration. CREDIT: Alice Ollstein
Dozens of queer activists block one entrance to the national mall on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration. CREDIT: Alice Ollstein

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Before the sun rose Friday morning, hundreds of demonstrators shut down several entrances to the National Mall, delaying Donald Trump’s supporters who had come to see him take the oath of office.

Each “blockade” group had a different theme, with contingents representing the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental justice, feminism, and LGBT rights. Waving rainbow flags, blasting music, dancing, waving homemade signs, and sprinkling glitter in their wake, dozens of queer activists took over a central downtown security checkpoint.

“We’re here to be non-violent and have a good time, but take up space and slow down the inauguration,” explained Mike McVicker-Weaver, an organizer from Baltimore. “We are the queer resistance.”

Most Trump supporters waiting in line for the inauguration remained silent and avoided eye contact as a dance party erupted around them and temporarily blocked their entrance. Some of those waiting to get in laughed and took pictures with their phones. Only one man confronted the group, screaming, “You are sinners.”

Cole Davidson, a Trump supporter from Front Royal, Virginia, told ThinkProgress that the display of LGBT pride did not bother him.

“I’m a conservative, but I’m a sexual libertarian,” he said. “What you do in your bedroom is none of my business. As long it it doesn’t affect other people, what the hell does it matter?”

Mike McVicker-Weaver holds a banner reading “Out of the closet, into the streets.” CREDIT: Alice Ollstein
Mike McVicker-Weaver holds a banner reading “Out of the closet, into the streets.” CREDIT: Alice Ollstein

Many participants in the LGBT blockade expressed fears that the Republican majority in Congress will work with the Trump administration to dismantle some of the rights and protections the community has gained over the last eight years.

“With the new administration, there’s a lot of fear in my community,” said Stephanie Fritch, a trans woman from outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “I know a lot of trans women who have de-transitioned and gone back into hiding after living a pretty much free life under Obama. They got really scared.”

These concerns are valid. Following the election, Trump’s allies vowed to reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality and rescind President Obama’s executive actions that protect gay and trans people from workplace discrimination in the federal government. Trump’s top domestic policy adviser has said publicly that he believes homosexuality a “choice” that “can be changed.” Members of Congress are already preparing a bill that would ensure government funding for groups that discriminate against LGBT people, and have taken preliminary steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including its provisions that protect transgender patients from discrimination.

Fritch, who says she is afraid of losing her access to Medicare, told ThinkProgress that marginalized and at-risk communities need to step up their organizing over the next four years. “We’ve got to keep the pressure on in local elections, down-ticket elections, midterm elections,” she said. “I go down to the Pennsylvania state capitol all the time to talk to senators and representatives. I tell them my personal story. I got to my local township board of supervisors. No one can take my voice away from me.”

Over the course of about three hours, the group of more than fifty people took over the security checkpoint, before setting off to join other marches and protests happening across D.C.

Firas Nasr, a local activist who founded the LGBT group “Werk for Peace,” led the dancing—he was gyrating in white hot pants held up by rainbow suspenders. On Wednesday night, he organized a queer dance party on the lawn of incoming Vice President Mike Pence, who pursued many anti-LGBT policies as governor of Indiana.

“We’re out here to send a clear message to Trump and Pence supporters that their bigotry and hate is not welcome in our country,” Nasr said.

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