The Capital Pride parade, which began as a defiant community block party in Washington, D.C. in 1975, became itself the object of a protest on Saturday. As the parade has grown in size (about 275,000 attended last year) and gained the support of corporations and government officials, a group called No Justice No Pride says it has left behind many in its community.
While demonstrating their unhappiness with this situation, protesters managed to block the parade route, forcing police to redirect the parade at around 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 10.
"For years, Capital Pride has ignored concerns of queer, trans and two spirit communities in DC — particularly the concerns of queer and trans people of color — regarding its complicity with entities that harm LGBTQ2S people," the group states on its website.
NJNP demanded that Capital Pride include trans women of color in its decision-making process, take a stand against police violence by not allowing the Metropolitan Police Department to march in the parade, hire a member of the indigenous community in a management team, restructure its executive board to represent historically marginalized communities, and ban the participation and corporate sponsorship of companies that profit from war, incarceration, environmental destruction, and other actions deemed harmful to marginalized communities. The involvement of Wells Fargo (which lends to private prisons and invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline) and defense contractor Lockheed Martin are particular sore spots for the group.
While many of the NJNP protesters created their own parade, a group of 10 people who blocked the official parade with a "chainlike material," Washington Blade reported. A woman locked herself to a fence on one end, and another woman attached herself to a parked vehicle on the other end.
Police said they had prepared an alternate route in advance, so the official parade continued on 16th Street, causing a delay of about 90 minutes. Still, this demonstration angered many of the attendees, some of whom yelled "Shame!" at them, per the Post.
The official word from Capital Pride was more diplomatic.
“Having to fight constantly and resist constantly, we are turning a little bit on each other,” Cathy Renna a spokesperson for Capital Pride Alliance told the Post. “It’s totally understandable, but I don’t think it’s totally justified.”
After the event, the debate continued on social media. Some people posted to No Justice No Peace Facebook page to register their unhappiness with the group for dividing a movement that still faces enough oppression from the right.
"You guys are what is wrong with the LGBT community and are complete intolerant asshats," Christopher Carter-Headrick wrote on Facebook. "Instead of preaching hate we should all be United in love.
Others thought there was room for everyone in this fight.
"I'm here to march and have a good time, but I do not feel "inconvenienced" by #NoJusticeNoPride," Charles Clymer tweeted. "They need to be heard. We need to listen."