Capitol Pride agrees to restructure, boots board member who called NJNP "terrorists"

On Jan 24, under pressure from No Justice No Pride, the Capitol Pride board announced "substantial changes" in its leadership, including the removal of a board member who slandered No Justice No Pride as "terrorists." In addition, Capitol Pride has agreed to impose "sponsorship guidelines" that hopefully will mean the end of such sponsors as Wells Fargo.

The accusation of "terrorism" was especially ugly, given almost everyone in the GLBTQ community is familiar with the true meaning of the term after the brutal Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fl. There can be no comparison between nonviolently blockading police or corporate contingents in a parade and shooting up a dance club full of innocent people. Now the cisgendered man who made that ugly comparison is gone from Capitol Pride, and the board is being restructured to represent communities previously excluded or tokenized in Capitol Pride's decision making.

No Justice No Pride says the guidelines for sponsorship of the 2018 and later Capitol Pride events will be implemented " through a NJNP-facilitated community forum and review period. "

No Justice No Pride has released this statement:

“We are encouraged to see Capital Pride taking steps to make its board more representative of the communities it serves,” said Emmelia Talarico, Chair of No Justice No Pride’s Steering Committee. “But make no mistake. These changes would not have come about without direct pressure applied by No Justice No Pride and our supporters.”

“In our interactions with Capital Pride’s new leadership, we have experienced a level of openness and communication that did not exist with their previous leadership. This is a step forward. Nonetheless, Capital Pride has its work cut out when it comes to making the transformative changes necessary to truly make Pride an event that the entire community can be proud of.”

“We look forward to working with Capital Pride’s new leadership to reach solutions regarding Capital Pride’s problematic sponsors who are invested in the marginalization of trans and queer people of color, and regarding Capital Pride’s collaboration with the Metro Police Department. Considering the significant uptick in MPD’s use of force against DC’s black residents — as outlined in MPD’s recent 2017 use of force report — it is now more important than ever to encourage those representing DC’s trans and queer communities to support alternatives to policing and apply pressure for significant, transformative police reform.”

“Our struggle to bring Pride back to its roots — as an event that speaks for the most marginalized in our communities, and is welcoming and supportive of everyone in DC’s trans and queer community — is not over. But this is a promising step forward.”

end NJNP statement

Hopefully this will mean the end of the recent domination of Capitol Pride by white, cisgendered males. The annual Pride parades in DC and globally are the GLBTQ community's Independence Day, but have changed a long way from these roots. Originally, NYC Pride was led by those who had participating in the fighting at Stonewall that sucessfully repelled a police raid on the Stonewall Inn (a Gay bar at that time) on June 28, 1969. The fighting was begun and led by transgender youth, homeless GLBTQ (all of these) youth. and "hustlers" (Gay male sex workers). Upscale cisgendered men with expensive housing and monagamous relationships were not a major factor except possibly on the police side. The "Coopers Donut Riot" ten years earlier was also a transgender and sex worker uprising against an earlier police raid in 1959.

Thus, it stands to reason a Pride parade might be led by transgender and sex worker contingents. Behind them might be a symbolic black block with shields and heavy gear, symbolizing the three days of hard-fought rioting at Stonewall that ended the age of routine police raids on Gay bars. Instead, MPD has been permitted to lead some Capitol Pride parades outright. While not in the lead they were permitted to march in 2017 while attempting to send over 200 people to prison for allegedly doing at the Inauguration exactly what those Pride celebrates did at Stonewall: rioting. Thus the chant as No Justice No Pride blockaded police and corporate contingents at the 2017 parade: "It's our history don't deny it-Stonewall was a trans riot!" Speaking of rioting, Wells Fargo's investments in private prisons would probably have gotten them trashed if the Geo Group had existed at that time and a Wells Fargo branch had existed under that name next to the Stonewall Inn. Certainly Wells Fargo's corporate board would be unlikely to endorse the use of force by today's transgender sex workers to defend themselves from a police raid, much less rioters chasing police through the streets as was reported to have occurred at Stonewall. Stonewall was a hard-fought military victory over a failed police assault, not the signing of a corporate partnership.

A firsthand account of the 1969 Stonewall Riots by a bystander

More on Cooper's Donut Riot, the fightback that preceded Stonewall by a decade

No Justice No Pride blocks Wells Fargo in 2017 Pride Parade (photo by Dylan Comstock)

The only known photo of the first night of the Stonewall Riots, originally published by New York Daily News. These nights of victory in battle are what Pride is supposed to celebrate!

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