Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't Rain on My (Pride) Parade

I'm late and this has already been covered extensively on social media. But here's a quick postcard from our weekend in the nation's capital, where we attended Saturday's DC Pride Parade and checked out the Equality March for Unity and Pride on Sunday. 

As you may have heard, things were somewhat chaotic -- with organizers and attendees alike to blame. For starters,some people seemed to be confused that there were two disparate events with two different marching routes and festivals. The DC Pride parade was your garden-variety Pride celebration that Washington has every year that technically had nothing to do with the Equality march. 

We were lucky because a friend's apartment was right by the parade's path, so we had a convenient place to use the bathroom, get refills and cool off. 

But no sooner did we get to the corner of 14th and R streets, the lively parade mysteriously came to a screeching halt with no explanation. 

Eventually we heard protesters were to blame -- makes sense in this political climate -- only to find out they were activists who are ON OUR TEAM, protesting that organizers were too cozy with the police and corporations -- institutions that have a history of marginalizing minorities such as the LGBT community, immigrants and people of color.
“Capital Pride 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,” the group wrote in a statement announcing its disruption of the parade. 
 “Capital Pride is a sham, corporate scum don’t give a damn,” one person posted on Twitter with the hashtag #NoJusticeNoPride.

Um, OK. So it's a bad thing that major corporations want to be aligned with the LGBTQ movement, and that they are instituting sensitivity training so that we are treated with dignity and respect? And we should be hostile to the police who have carved out a safe route for us to have this annual celebration because some cops are horrible people? Needless to say, I think this all-or-nothing Bernie Bro mentality is naive, shortsighted and completely misses the point. But as exhausting as it is, I still find it hard to get too angry as I know their hearts are in the right place even as they misapply knowledge across the board. I just wish people would choose their moments more carefully because there are A LOT of people/events/organizations that deserve to be protested -- and this was hardly the time or the place. Eventually the cops (who were incredibly kind throughout) re-routed the parade, only to re-re-route it back to its original path and everyone had a fun time.

I shot this photo of Damian, who took the rest

Now on Sunday there was what I thought would be the equivalent of January's Women's March, which is to say a massive crowd on par with the 1993 March on Washington I attended right after I moved to town. The short march past the White House to the Mall began at 10 a.m. and Damian, Ken and I were still home watching Rafael Nadal humiliate Stan Wawrinka. (Bad gays, I know.) 

But when we finally got the Mall around noon, we were stunned to see that there was virtually no one there. The speakers kept speaking, but we ended up just hanging out with our visitors from Miami with whom we had arranged to meet up, Tory and John. (We were content to stay under a tree to keep from dying of heat prostration -- the 95 degree weather probably didn't help turnout.)

John, Tory, me, Damian and Ken (in back)

Eventually we realized the people who had marched had already ditched the speakers on the Mall and headed over to the street fair on Pennsylvania Avenue, where there were booths for all sorts of LGBT merchandise and activities.


The Pointer Sisters, Miley Cyrus and others performed a little later in the day. But by then we were exhausted so opted for a great brunch at The Smith before we headed to (the air-conditioned bar) Trade for beers. The music and the crowd were fun -- but then before we knew it, it was time to head to Union Station for the ride home. While it didn't turn out to be the must-attend spectacle I was expecting, it felt good to be counted at a time when our presence feels almost mandatory. 


Jeffery said...

BRIAN: Are you the Judean People's Front?

REG: Fuck off!

BRIAN: What?

REG: Judean People's Front. We're the People's Front of Judea! Judean People's Front. Cawk.

FRANCIS: Wankers.

BRIAN: Can I... join your group?

REG: No. Piss off.

BRIAN: I didn't want to sell this stuff. It's only a job. I hate the Romans as much as anybody.

PEOPLE'S FRONT OF JUDEA: Shhhh. Shhhh. Shhh. Shh. Shhhh.

REG: Stumm.

JUDITH: Are you sure?

BRIAN: Oh, dead sure. I hate the Romans already.

REG: Listen. If you wanted to join the P.F.J., you'd have to really hate the Romans.

BRIAN: I do!

REG: Oh, yeah? How much?

BRIAN: A lot!

REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters...

FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

REG: What?

LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.

REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!

LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.

REG: People's Front! C-huh.

FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?

REG: He's over there.

P.F.J.: Splitter!

BosGuy said...

Hey Kenneth,
I'd love to know what the crowd estimates were for the march because we were there too and while there were a lot of people it seemed like most left once they got to the Mall. After hanging around in the heat we headed back towards Dupont Circle where we had brunch reservations at 1:30. We rehydrated on bottomless mimosas for the next few hours.

Bill Carter said...

"...their hearts are in the right place"

No. Their manifestos are nothing but re-cycled Socialist Workers babble.

They're bitter little attention whores.

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