Capital Pride’s annual parade was blocked this year by a group known as No Justice No Pride. Like many others, when I heard about the protest, I assumed it was just another homophobic group demanding that America preserve the sanctity of marriage. I was surprised to learn that instead, the protest came from within the LGBTQ+ community. These protesters aimed to make Pride a more intersectional and less corporate event.
While not everyone in the LGBTQ+ community agreed with No Justice No Pride, it is difficult to deny the disregard, intentional or not, for LGBTQ+ people of color. No Justice No Pride distributed a list of demands at the parade, the first of which insisted that “Capital Pride will honor the legacy of Pride and trans women of color who inspired it by ensuring that trans women of color play a central role in the decision-making processes.”
Another issue that emerged from this list of demands was diversity on Capital Pride’s board of directors. Historically, and currently, white people are over-represented in the LGBTQ+ community. The young, white, gay man is one step away from being the unofficial mascot of the LGBTQ+ community. Protesters pointed out that Pride should be a safe and accepting space for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, not just for white people.
In addition to calls for increased diversity and consideration for LGBTQ+ people of color, there was a large amount of concern for the corporate nature of Capital Pride. Capital Pride has endless affluent sponsors, but it does not seem to have much regard for what these companies actually do for the LGBTQ+ community.
On No Justice No Pride’s list of demands, the group included a request that Capital Pride ensure that their sponsors do not “inflict harm on historically marginalized LGBTQ+ people.”
For many LGBTQ+ people, Pride is a safe space to express oneself without fear of judgement or exclusion. No Justice No Pride, however, cannot ignore that Capital Pride is an event dictated by corporate entities and over-represented groups. It is time for Pride to integrate and support diversity as one of its main tenets.
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