On June 10, The Capital Pride Alliance hosted its annual pride parade in Washington, D.C., but, for some in the LGBTQ community, the parade is a far cry from the origins it’s meant to be celebrating.
Annual pride parades were born out of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when the police raided the gay club Stonewall Inn and patrons refused to leave. Marches and protests began across the country, commemorating the riots and demanding equal rights and protection under the law.
But many feel Capital Pride Alliance is ignoring its roots. Those frustrated with the annual parade found different ways to commemorate the event. Meet No Justice No Pride, Queer and Trans Night of Healing, and The Equality March.
PROTESTORS: Down down with deportation, up up with liberation!
EMMELIA TALARICO: There’s not a lot of celebrating going on these days. There’s not a lot of things to celebrate about, our rights are being stripped away from us, like as a trans woman, I never really had rights.
DAVID BRUINOOGE: As a cis gay white male of privilege, I feel a lot of people in that same category maybe thought the fight for gay rights and LGBTQ rights was over after gay marriage. And it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
LOURDES ASHLEY HUNTER: Pride has never appealed to me, it was never a place for me; as a trans person, as a disabled person, as a black person. It didn’t celebrate images that reflected what I look like.
TALARICO : We’re building all of the art here. We have some banners, some signage.
DREW AMBROGI: No Justice No Pride’s belief is that the backbone of the LGBT community is marginalized LGBT folks, is trans women of color. For too long the movement, the LGBT movement has kind of this trickle down approach to rights that once the most wealthy LGBT folks get equality, then they’ll help the rest of us. And they got their gay marriage rights and they kind of said all along, “once we get gay marriage we’ll fight for everyone.” And it’s been a couple years now, we don’t really see that happening and so we’re going to demand that it happens.
PROTESTORS: We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!
TALARICO: We have three different blockades. We’ll be doing a hard lockdown, and a hard lockdown is where you and other people who you’re taking action with physically lock down using equipment. They’ll be using chains as well as using lockboxes.
PROTESTORS: It’s our history, don’t deny it! Stonewall was a trans riot!
TALARICO: People are frustrated.
PROTESTORS: Hey hey, ho ho, these racist cops have got to go!
TALARICO: Us going after capital pride is us going after institutional power in this city and trying to transfer that, from those who have always had it, to those that actually need it.
AMBROGI: It really is catching on and resonating with I think what we see is a longstanding resentment of these organizations that put on these festivals with the primary goal of bringing in corporate money, selling things to the LGBT community. In this political climate we really feel like we can actually make our voices heard and get folks fired up about demanding something that’s better.
PROTESTORS: Capital Pride is a sham!
SHAREESE CARMELLA MONE: I’m a trans woman of color first. I’m a trans woman first. I am human, first.
HUNTER: The queer and trans night of healing came together after a response from the community to have a space where folks could remember that pride was born out of resistance.
HUNTER: They wasn’t marching because bitch, they couldn’t wear what they wanted to wear. They was tired of getting beat up!
HUNTER: It’s an opportunity for us to honor our ancestors, and honor those who have given their lives so that we can be here today. It’s a fun event, it’s not just some white gay skinny cis heteronormative recreation of debauchery and mayhem. I mean you can have some of that too, but let’s not forget that trans women of color have lost their lives, have fought in the streets, have fought the police with their heels, with bricks, with bottles so that we can march today, so let’s just not forget that.
EQUALITY MARCH: Love, not hate, makes America great!
BRUINOOGE: I didn’t want to celebrate this year with sponsorship. You know, banners everywhere. It didn’t feel right to me at this time of year.
EQUALITY MARCH: No Justice, No peace!
BRUINOOGE: I felt it was necessary for our community to march. This is the most diverse national co-chairs of any march on Washington from the LGBT community. And that was intentional. We wanted those voices in leadership positions.
EQUALITY MARCH: Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like.
BRUINOOGE: With the political landscape that we live in right now and the issues that need to be addressed within our community, it felt like it needed to be stripped-down, bare-bones, grassroots, harking back to the original Pride.
SARA RAMIREZ: As we march today, I want to take a moment to remember the transgender, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and queer lives that cannot be with us here today.
BRUINOOGE: There are issues that affect our trans community, racial injustice, immigration injustice, these are all issues that affect our community. And they don’t get highlighted.
DR IMANI WOODY: We are not invisible! We are not invisible!
BRUINOOGE: Hopefully, on Sunday, we inspire people to go home and use this mass mobilization and educate them to take action themselves in their own local communities.
TALARICO: I truly believe that pride should be a protest. Even to this day, there’s a lot to protest in our community. Even if Obama was still in power, there would still be a lot to protest in our community.
BRUINOOGE: This is a way to activate us, to mobilize us, personally, for me, to participate in democracy and help these issues get out.
HUNTER: Pride is not supposed to be a celebration, it’s supposed to be a remembrance of the things that we have overcome and the fight that we still have for all of us to live unapologetically in our truths.
AMBROGI: If we really wanted to talk about what it means to support LGBTQ people, that would mean starting with the folks whose needs are the greatest. It would mean really supporting the folks who need support, not just doing the easy thing so that you can be celebrated as an ally.