This Resist March article originally appeared in wehotimes.com on June 17, 2017.
The LA Pride Resist March is now one for the LGBT history books. Most of us will look back on June 11, 2017, and feel the very definition of Pride. We will remember how we woke up at the ass-crack of dawn to march in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters and those who are allied with our continued fight for equality. This time we didn’t just march for LGBT rights, we marched for all human rights; regardless of gender, color, or creed.
Those who skipped the historical moment will remember this chapter of the gay movement a little differently. They slept in that morning and stayed home while people marched down their streets. Then they read all about it on their Facebook feeds.
The highlight of #ResistMarch was the impressive lineup of speakers at the rallies before and after the March. I mean, come on! We had Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, RuPaul, Brian Pendleton, LA LGBT Center’s CEO Lorri Jean and others at the rally in Hollywood. And in West Hollywood, people heard from U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (one of the men leading the Trump Russian investigation), U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (Auntie Maxine), U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu, and West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman with WeHo council members John Duran and Lindsey Horvath. We had trans activist Bamby Salcedo (she called out the politicians who spoke and asked the crowd to hold them accountable), as well as HRC President Chad Griffin, and Women’s March Founder Emi Guereca, to name a few.
We also heard from entertainers like Margaret Cho, Adam Lambert, Chris Rock (he spoke for like 8 seconds), Jussie Smollett, Cheyenne Jackson, America Ferrera, The Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, and many more.
Yet some of my fellow gays were against it. They called the march a hate parade and they skipped it. According to social media posts, some people thought gay pride should stay out of politics. There was resistance to the event being “turned into an anti-Trump march.” These bitches straight up complained that they were “robbed of their gay celebration.” The event was supposed to be unifying, but a lot of LGBTs bailed on us. They didn’t bother to turn up to march and then complained that the turnout didn’t meet their expectations.
I get it. There is a level of complacency because politically speaking we’ve made a lot of progress in a short period of time. We’ve had an administration filled with people who were committed to our equality. But that was then. This is now. And now a lot of those rights and privileges that we’ve begun to take for granted are under attack.
It’s fascinating to me how some of my gay brethren think we have the luxury to divide and bicker. They forget or don’t realize that our right to marry is one Supreme Court vote away from being snatched from us. If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires or dies and Trump appoints a new Justice, marriage equality can and will be taken away from us. Get woke the fuck up people!
I don’t know about the sister marches that happened across the nation that weekend, but #ResistMarch was the exact opposite of a hate march. There was no violence or property damage. I’m not aware of any arrests made that day. People marched in harmonious solidarity as far as I could tell. We had men, women, children and the not-so-young walking side by side. Some people dressed up, and others, of course, dressed down. The signs were flashy, clever, comical and serious all at the same time. It was empowering, and yes, it was angry in certain areas, because we have to be in these uncertain times. But it all came together beautifully and peacefully.
The event was unapologetically political. People kept saying we were going back to our political roots with a march, but gay parades have always been political events. Or they’ve had political elements to them. We wouldn’t have a gay parade without these types of marches. I’ve been attending Pride parades at LA Pride and neighboring cities for almost 30 years and there has always been a political tone between commercial floats. What gay parades don’t have signage demanding LGBT equality and people yelling for human rights? Why do people think we have gay parades in the first place? We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!
For those who insist we should’ve had both a march AND a parade, I say NOPE! #ResistMarch is the very best thing that could have ever happened to LA Pride. Imagine what the parade will be like next year after this march? I hope all the queens who take the parade for granted and bitch that it’s too commercial, it’s too long, it’s not fabulous enough, it’s too sexual, it’s not gay enough and stuff and junk, will gain a whole new love and appreciation for the parade that they claim was snatched from them this year.
So yes, next year we go back to our gay dance party at a gay parade. It shouldn’t mean the end of Resist March. The resistance should continue and it should grow. Make it bigger; make it better. And it doesn’t have to be put together mostly by LGBT people. They’re coming for all of us, so we should organize with our allies: Black Lives Matter, La Raza, Planned Parenthood, women’s rights, immigrant’s rights. We’re stronger when we are united. We have more in common than not.
I’m happy and proud I was a tiny dot in a massive crowd of marchers who showed up for #ResistMarch 2017. I found it appropriate to the time and very necessary. It harnessed the energy of the moment. Let’s hope it will be the beginning of a sustained action. Otherwise, a march is just a march.
VIVA LA Resist March!