Christopher Street Liberation Day (CSLD) march

Christopher Street Liberation Day, New York City, June 28, 1970

photo: Tumblr/banshee-cat

Pride parades are more than just glitter and rainbow-colored beads — they are safe havens for the LGBTQ community to publicly celebrate their identity without fear. While it has become an inclusive space for self-expression, the nationwide celebrations reflect years of protests and political activism for equality. 

The Stonewall Riots were commemorated with a march during the Christopher Street Liberation Day. Although the June 1970 demonstration is often considered the first LGBTQ "parade," the organizers had a permit for street closures and an actual marching route, according to The Advocate.

Now, Los Angeles, the first city to have a sanctioned Pride parade, is canceling it to send an important message.

Christopher Street West (CSW), the organization behind LA's pride parade, are replacing the annual event with a resistance march.

The #RESIST march will be held on Sunday, June 11 in West Hollywood to respond to presidential policies that are threatening people's rights. 

One of the organizers, Brian Pendleton, said the bold change is definitely political.

"We want to resist apathy. We want to resist having our rights rolled back by an unenlightened administration," he told Queerty. "And we want to be all-inclusive. We want to make sure that it's everyone in the rainbow spectrum out there being represented."

Demonstrators will protest homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, racism, and those in power who are dismantling the rights of marginalized groups.

"When any American's rights are under threat, all our rights are threatened," the event's mission statement reads. "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. 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."

An estimated 500,000 people usually attend LA Pride. There are 24,000 people who have said they're interested in attending on the group's Facebook event. However, some attendees are questioning the purpose of the march.

los angeles replacing pride parade with resistance march
photo: Reuters

Pendleton has received comments from people who are concerned about the #RESIST March minimizing the transgender community, who have already been impacted by Trump's policies.

Trump recently reversed the Obama administration's transgender rights guidelines for public schools.

"They say, 'So far the only thing that has happened is the fate of trans people has been handed to the states.' THAT IS ENOUGH PEOPLE," Pendleton wrote on his Facebook page. "We are NOT the 'I got mine, so good luck getting yours' generation. We are all in this together. When one of us is in chains, none of us are free. We march for all human rights!"

Critics have a point: Trans people, especially trans people of color, are often left out of LGBTQ dialogues. Yet, they're the LGBTQ group most affected by violence. In 2016, 22 transgender people who were killed. So far,  seven trans people have been murdered

Just last year the LA pride parade recognized and honored the 49 people who were killed in the Orlando, Florida PULSE nightclub shooting.

The massacre left the LGBTQ community in fear but the committee decided to continue with the parade tradition. They used the hashtag #ThePrideMustGoOn to show their resilience. However, LA Pride has come under scrutiny for becoming too commercialized and disregarding LGBTQ history. 

The nonprofit organization has taken these critiques into consideration and have replied by introducing new community-based initiatives. Pendleton also addressed these concerns in a piece for Wehoville.

"I felt like the LA Pride movement has been adrift," he wrote. "Inclusivity has been questioned, and splintering had begun to strain our proud institution. Black Pride, Bi Pride, Venice Pride, DTLA Pride and others give critical voice to a diverse perspective and also bring to focus a failure to evolve and to be inclusive."

#RESIST is a political call to action. It also takes LA Pride back to its historical roots of radical protest.

Hopefully other parades will follow suit.