The goals of a protest of Capitol PrideLatest Issue, Trans Progressive Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
Commentary: Trans Progressive
A number of weekends ago this Pride month, a group calling themselves No Justice, No Pride (NJNP) protested the Capitol Pride March in Washington, D.C. It was reported in several sources that they began by opposing the participation of Wells Fargo as a corporate sponsor of the city’s Pride parade, citing Wells Fargo’s involvement in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline as one reason they should be excluded.
As NJNP organized, they broadened their list of demands, to include a demand that Capital Pride “will bar corporate entities that inflict harm on historically marginalized LGBTQ2S people from participation in Pride events.” This includes a bulleted sub-point to that demand, where “all industries that profit from war, detention and incarceration, environmental destruction, evictions, community displacement and Israel’s oppression of Palestinians from participation in Capital Pride events” would be barred if their demands were met.
Their other demands included:
• Honoring “the legacy of Pride and the trans women of color who inspired it by ensuring that trans women of color play a central role in decision-making processes
• “Will address its neglect of native, indigenous and two-spirit communities”
• “Will commit to restructuring, replacing and expanding its board of directors to represent and center the leadership of historically marginalized communities”
• “Will take a strong position against state violence and end its endorsement of MPD and other law enforcement agencies”
MPD stands for Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. The sub-bullet points for that bullet point are:
• “No longer allowing MPD or any other law enforcement agency to march in the Pride parade”
• “Committing to scale back police presence at all Capitol Pride events”
• “Barring from participation in its festivities recruiters from any local, state and federal law enforcement department or agency”
The articles I read about the protest did one or both of two things: focused on the tactics of NJNP’s direct action at Capitol Pride – which was attempting to shut down or slow the parade down to a crawl in three places – and/or focused on how “mainstream” LGBT leaders felt about the tactics NJNP employed. Where the leadership of NJNP was quoted, only one article quoted them in a way that in any way gave specific, individual background to why or how some of the bullet points and sub-bullet points made it onto the list of demands.
There are things I wanted to know about the leadership and membership of NJNP that the articles didn’t tell me. Such as, since the surveys show that about 20 percent of transgender adults are veterans – and I’m one of those veterans – and NJNP went indirectly after the Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin sponsorships of Capitol Pride, are there any transgender veterans in the leadership of NJNP? If there are, did they sign off on the defense contractor sub-bullet point?
As for police, where does NJNP stand on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit police officers? Are these officers traitors to their community? Do they see them as part of a solution toward better policing?
I’d like answers to those kinds of questions, and quite a few more, but there’s a filtering that we in the media tend to do.
Such as, when there were transgender protesters at the Transgender Day of Empowerment here in San Diego last April, we in the local LGBT media, in my very personal opinion, didn’t do a very good job of asking the protesters what their demands were, presenting these unfiltered, and presenting how and why they came up with those specific demands. And, for me personally, it would’ve been easy for me to do; I know at least three of the people involved with the protests well enough that I could’ve asked them personally.
Instead, much like in DC, after the Capitol Pride protest, there was a focus on the protest tactics, on which I focused on nearly exclusively too.
I know it’s late, but I know I’m going to go back and ask the local protesters their thoughts. What I don’t know about the Capitol Pride protests bothers me; what I don’t know about the relatively recent local protests is bothering me now too.
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