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June 12 2017

It's No Longer Enough to be Gay to March in Gay Pride Parade

by Charlotte Allen

On Saturday in Washington, D.C., the annual D.C. Capital Pride Parade, a massive showing of the rainbow colors by gays, lesbians, transgenders, and others, was nearly halted in its tracks. No, not by religious fundamentalists or MAGA hat-wearing Trumpistas.

The disrupters of the Pride Parade were . . .  other gays and lesbians infuriated by the fact that the organizers of the D.C. Pride weren't as far to the left as they were. It's yet another sign of the increasing gap between traditional American liberalism that values freedom of speech and expression and a militant left determined to push the mainstream liberals to join them and to punish them severely when they won't.

The D.C. Capital Pride Parade dates back to 1975, and its participation has grown from about 2,000 during that first year to an estimated 400,000 some 42 years later. On the way it has attracted a raft of corporate sponsors who have obviously realized that gays and lesbians have consumer dollars to spend. Such entities as the Marriott hotel chain, Heinken beer, MacDonald's, Lockheed Martin, UPS, and Nissan have all have lent their names to the annual June event. It has seemed all in the spirit of the business of America being business. You don't have to sign on to gay causes--but it sholdn't be hard to sign on to the principle that people are entitled to express themselves peacefully, socialize with the likeminded for a weekend, and try to garner as many mainstream allies as they can.

Until this year. Reports the Huff{post:

The Capital Pride Parade was interrupted Saturday evening in Washington by a group of activists demanding organizers address issues of social justice, police brutality and the increasingly corporate nature and sponsorship of the annual event.

A wave of protestors from the group No Justice No Pride attempted to shut down the parade three times, the first near 15th and P streets at about 5:30 p.m., The Washington Post reported. The protestors, shouting chants and holding banners, at one point formed a “human chain in front of the Lockheed Martin float,” according to Zack Ford, a reporter from Think Progress, who documented the event on his Facebook page.

In a press release sent to HuffPost by No Justice No Pride, the group said that “DC’s queer and trans community is no longer willing to accept that Pride isn’t possible without support from deeply problematic corporate sponsors.”

The statement said that the Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes the annual parade, “has consistently demonstrated that it is more interested in accommodating the interests of Metropolitan police and of corporate sponsors than it is in supporting the very communities it supposedly represents.”

A list of demands posted on No Justice No Pride’s website calls on Capital Pride to “bar corporate entities that inflict harm on historically marginalized LGBTQ2S people from participation in Pride events” and to “take a strong position against state violence and end its endorsement of MPD and other law enforcement agencies,” among other requests.

The group also posted a petition on its site pushing Capital Pride to “break ties” with “police, prisons and pipelines.”

The "pipelines" was a reference to Wells Fargo Bank, another parade sponsor. Activists have been trying to pressure the D.C. government to divest from Wells Fargo in retaliation for its investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Well! And there was more:

Another protest participant, Emmelia Talarico, said in the press release, “Corporations that desecrate Native land, manufacture weapons and support private prisons ? and law enforcement agencies that proportionately harass, kill, and arrest queer and trans people of color ? cannot be considered LGBT ‘allies’ unless you believe that Black, Latinx, Muslim, and indigenous queer, trans and two spirit individuals aren’t actually part of the LGBT community.”

Fortunately for the beleaguered participants, police nimbly rerouted the parade along other streets.

My question is this: Can't gay-rights activists simply march for gay rights? Or are they supposed to be pressured into marching for anti-capitalism, anti-police, anti-prisons, anti-gas pipelines, or whatever assortment of unrelated causes that the left would like to force them to support? Or else have their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly forcibly shut down?

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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