LOS ANGELES—It's been the talk of LA's LGBT community for more than a month: What will Los Angeles be doing on June 11 while tens or hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of America's sexual minorities descend on Washington. D.C. for the National Pride March? And now we have the answer: "The annual pride parade has been canceled, ceding to the nationwide LGBT Resist March that is scheduled in many U.S. cities for Sunday, June 11, the day the Los Angeles pride parade would normally occur," according to WeHoville.com. The site reported on a meeting that took place last Thursday evening between leaders of the Resist March, a movement begun by Brooklyn-based activist David Bruinooge, and Christopher Street West (CSW), the group that produces LA Pride each year.
"We are LGBTQ+. We are people of color. We are people of different faiths. We are people of all genders and no gender. We are immigrants. We are dreamers. We are people with disabilities. We are parents. We are allies. And we are beautiful intersections of these," reads the Resist March's mission statement. "But most of all, we are American. Yet our rights are in jeopardy. Forces are gathering in government that intend to take away our hard-won basic human rights."
To be fair, it isn't entirely the fact that gays, lesbians, bis and trans people across the country are expecting to be screwed in the months ahead by the Trump administration's plethora of religious conservatives. It's also partly about the fact that there's a lot of construction going on at West Hollywood Park on North San Vincente Boulevard where many Pride events took place in previous years, but which areas won't be available for festivities this year.
"CSW is losing almost 70 percent of the 'footprint' it had available in 2016," said CSW board president Chris Classen, as chronicled by WeHoville's James F. Mills. "Consequently, only West Hollywood Park’s great lawn and the auditorium, plus San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, are currently available for this year’s Pride Festival."
But considering how thoroughly the combination of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is likely to screw over sexual minorities of all ages over the next four years, perhaps it's a good thing that Priders will be concentrating more heavily on political issues than in years past.
Nearly 60,000 participated in LA Pride last year, and considering how Angelenos came out in the rain to protest Trump's inauguration in January, there's a good chance that the Resist March will draw a significantly larger crowd than any previous LA Pride parade. Indeed, according to The Advocate, "Organizers are expecting a quarter-million to a half-million participants for the protest march, hoping to follow the success of the Women's March, which drew 750,000 people in Los Angeles the day after President Trump's inauguration and millions more in other cities around the world."
"We are calling on everyone to peacefully march with us on June 11th from Hollywood and Highland to West Hollywood," the March's Facebook page adds. "Instead of a Pride Parade meant to celebrate our past progress, we are going to march to ensure all our futures. Just as we did in 1970's first LGBTQ+ Pride, we are going to march in unity with those who believe that America's strength is its diversity. Not just LGBTQ+ people but all Americans and dreamers will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized proclamation."
"As a gay man myself, I know our history in regards to the Pride parade quite well," noted Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Eric Paul Leue. "It didn't start as a parade; it was a protest, and it was a visual coming-together and showing strength in numbers and also support for one another, and raising awareness about important issues. I believe that we're seeing a resurgence of the need to do exactly what 'gay pride' started out as, and that is to focus on the issues. I think Free Speech Coalition will always be encouraging everybody to use their right to freedom of speech and to making their voices heard and to drawing attention to the issues that harm and affect our communities. The industry is really the sum of its parts, and it's really important that we as an industry recognize the diversity that is within our industry and to support all the communities that our workers, co-workers and chosen family belong to and come from, so as such, I would absolutely encourage the industry to participate in the event and to show solidarity at the very least."
The Resist March will begin at the Kodak Center at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, then follow a roughly three mile course down to LaBrea Avenue, then south to Santa Monica Boulevard and end at San Vincente, near the Beverly Center and the main site of this year's Pride festival.