Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

July 22, 2019

Polish Pride Goes On Against Hooligans, Religion Opposition and Even The Government


      

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Warsaw (AFP)

The first-ever Gay Pride parade was held in the eastern Polish city of Bialystok on Saturday, but the march was marred by violence from soccer hooligans and conservative campaigners staged counter-protests, local police said.

Some 800 supporters of LGBT+ rights marched through the city some 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Warsaw, waving rainbow-colored flags and banners with slogans such as "love is not a sin". 

But soccer hooligans wearing ultra-nationalist T-shirts threw stones, firecrackers, and bottles at the marchers and at the police officers protecting them, a spokesman for the security forces said.

Catholic and nationalist organizations staged around 40 different counter-demonstrations in Bialystok on Saturday, including a family picnic organized by a local MP.

Hundreds of people prayed in front of the cathedral as the march made its way through the city.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights have become one of the key issues in the upcoming elections this autumn in the devoutly Catholic country.

The decision to allow a Gay Pride parade in Bialystok was highly contested by local religious groups.

Homosexuality is a frequent topic of public debate in Poland, whose conservative ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski condemned gay rights as a "threat" in April.

Earlier this month, a Polish campaign group said that around 30 communities, including villages and regional assemblies, had in recent months declared themselves to be "free of LGBT ideology".

June 27, 2019

Stonewall Riots Against The Police is a Beacon to Others Oppressed Around The World

By Cameron Laux
BBC

“Some people say that the riots started because of Judy Garland’s death. That’s a myth. We were all involved in different struggles, including myself and many other transgender people. But in these struggles, in the Civil Rights movement, in the war movement, in the women’s movement, we were still outcasts.” Transgender activist – and the person who threw the second Molotov cocktail – Sylvia Riveira described the Stonewall protests in a 2001 talk. “I didn’t even know what a Molotov cocktail was; I’m holding this thing that’s lit and I’m like ‘What the hell am I supposed to do with this?’ ‘Throw it before it blows!’ ‘OK!’”
(Credit: NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
At the end of June in 1969, members of the LGBTQ+ community and friends rioted outside New York City gay bar the Stonewall Inn because they were tired of police harassment on the grounds of their sexuality – really, their identity as misfits. Many of these people didn’t fit, or didn’t want to fit, or weren’t allowed to fit, into the dominant culture of strict gender types; heterosexual marriage; the family; career progression. Matthew Todd, in his new book Pride, published 50 years after the protests, calls the riots “an explosion of optimism and energy that sent such a bright flare high above Greenwich Village, it became a beacon for people all over the world”. 
Whether you see it as an explosion of optimism, or a scream of fury and desperation, it undoubtedly helped to trigger decades of ferocious struggle by LGBTQ+ people for full personhood – and embedded itself in the work of artists, writers and film-makers. The writer Edmund White says of Stonewall, “at that moment we went from seeing ourselves as a mental illness to thinking we were a minority”.
We must make ourselves visible, even when we lose, whatever it is that we lose – Arundhati Roy 






In her collection of essays, My Seditious Heart, the writer and political activist Arundhati Roy talks about the fight of people in Gujarat, in India, to stop the Narmada Valley Development Project, a government dam-building project that eventually destroyed their homes and the local ecology. For decades, “They went on hunger strike, they went to court, they marched on Delhi, they sat in protest as the rising waters of the reservoir swallowed their fields and entered their homes. Still, they lost.” So what is the point of protest? She writes: “They taught me that we must make ourselves visible, even when we lose, whatever it is that we lose – land, livelihood, or a worldview. And that we must make it impossible for those in power to pretend that they do not know the costs and consequences of what they do. They also taught me the limitations of constitutional methods of resistance.”
(Credit: Catherine McGann/Getty Images)
The ‘costs and consequences’ in the post-Stonewall fight escalated considerably with the onset of the Aids crisis in 1981, to which most of the heterosexual world responded with fear, prejudice, and cruelty. The LGBTQ+ community in the UK protested more tenaciously and courageously than before. The writer Paul Burston, whose psychological thriller The Closer I Get is published in July 2019, was there at the inception of the radical UK group OutRage! in 1990. He told me that they soon realised the only way they would get attention was by engaging in civil disobedience such as ‘die-ins’, a theatrical improvement on the Stonewall demonstrations, in which large numbers of people laid down on roads, pretended to be dead from Aids, blew whistles, and refused to move. ‘Silence = Death’, one of the slogans went. Die from Aids and you don’t have people’s attention. Cause traffic inconvenience and you do. Simon Garfield’s book The End of Innocence (1994), which also inspired a BBC documentary, presents a detailed account of Britain in the time of Aids.
(Credit: Kate Callas/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
David Wojnarowicz was one of the presiding geniuses of a post-Stonewall era in which queers refused to be shut up 







Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City (2016) is a good account of what was lost in New York during the plague years: a strange, chimerical, and life-changing book. Among many others, she focuses on artists like Andy Warhol and David Wojnarowicz, and describes how the Aids crisis nearly extinguished the defiant, polyvalent weirdness that erupted at Stonewall. There is a famous 1987 image of Wojnarowicz with his lips sewn shut. He died of Aids in 1992. He was one of the presiding geniuses of a post-Stonewall era in which queers refused to be shut up.
(Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Film-makers responded to the crisis with their own defiant weirdness: Jennie Livingston documented the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in the ball culture of New York City during the mid-to-late 1980s in Paris is Burning (1990), while Rosa von Praunheim’s hard-hitting 1990 film Silence = Death explored the response of New York City artists to the Aids epidemic, interviewing Wojnarowicz, poet Allen Ginsberg and graffiti artist Keith Haring, who died of Aids three months before the film was released. It was a very different time from the Stonewall era, but some of that anarchy was still there.
The Moroccan-born French director and screenwriter Robin Campillo drew on his own experiences of the militant Aids activist group Act Up Paris in his 2017 film 120 Beats Per Minute. He described their struggle in the late 80s and early 90s to get Aids publicly acknowledged, and how that willingness to disrupt the status quo – seeded in the Stonewall riots – informed his film work: “When you change the point of view, you change cinema.”
(Credit: Alamy)
Yet the Aids epidemic silenced many. Sarah Schulman’s polemic The Gentrification of the Mind (2012) argues that the post-Stonewall spirit of optimism was crushed by the Aids crisis, which annihilated whole queer communities. In the wake of that, she claims, queers fell back in shock into mainstream respectability and tactical invisibility.
The force of the slapping-down that the Aids ‘plague’ years delivered to the queer community in the wake of Stonewall cannot be underestimated. To date, around 675,000 people have died of Aids in America. Imagine thousands of people in your immediate community dying a horrible death and disappearing each year. Their possessions, as Schulman recounts, filling up dumpsters, as their apartments were bought up and gentrified. “In Act Up, we used to say our address books were cemeteries,” says Campillo. “We were in a zone where people were not dead or alive; when I looked at my friends, I was thinking they were already a little bit dead.”
Family albums
On anniversaries such as this, it is customary to get together with friends and family, knock back a few drinks, talk about the good old, bad old days, and maybe treat your captive audience to a slideshow that punctuates the decades with embarrassing highlights. And there are two handsome family albums, We Are Everywhere, by Riemer and Brown, and Todd’s Pride, both published to mark this big queer rebirthday.
As I flip through the former – the queer family tree I have never had, until now – my eyes fill with sentimental tears as I regard distant relatives in grainy photos from the beginning of the 20th Century holding hands or attending queer gatherings.
(Credit: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library)
Look here: a photo of my Great Aunt Grace out on the town in San Francisco with some lesbian friends in 1953, radiating sexy charisma and joy. I see Jiro Onuma, my Great Uncle, once removed (to a concentration camp in California, during World War Two) hanging out together with gay buddies in the early 1940s, their dignity undimmed, a guard tower rising like a phallus in the background.
(Credit: the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society)
How full of life my long-lost cousins look, in a photo taken outside the Stonewall Inn in June 1968, a year before the riots. They are bursting with barely contained life; maybe they have never been more alive. And here’s a photo of my mother, the legendary transgender activist Marsha P Johnson (credited by some as throwing the first brick or glass at the Stonewall riots – although she claimed not to have arrived until the rioting had started), posing with a friend during Liberation Day, NYC, 1969. Mum, I’ll never forget you.
(Credit: Biscayne/Kim Peterson)
Todd’s album has many similar cosy moments, such as an image of the first rainbow flag, flown in San Francisco in 1978. But the image I find most moving is a 1987 UK Conservative Party general election advertisement that shows anarchist lefties, feminists, and anti-nuke protestors, as well as young men carrying the ‘Gay Lib’ sign. “Labour Camp,” the caption reads; “Do you want to live in it?” – suggesting Britain is heading for a sort of reverse concentration camp, where freedom is rampant, and civilisation crumbles. For the flavour of the time, check out the storming disco record Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a British group with what might be termed an overtly queer aesthetic.
None of the people commemorated in these books are my real family. But at times people like them have been the only family I had. I have been to many places like the Stonewall Inn, and they haven’t preserved my sanity, exactly; more that they’ve helped me construct a new one. One of my other trans mums, Sylvia Rivera, suggested in her talk about the Stonewall riots that we queers can “never be like them”; that if we long for normality we “are forgetting [our] own individual identity”. She called young queers “my children”. She believed that assimilation to heterosexual society, if it were even possible, would demand that we hide not just from heterosexual society, but also from ourselves. As the great poet (lesbian, African American woman, feminist, civil rights activist, mother) Audre Lorde said, “your silence will not protect you”.
(Collection of Matthew Riemer & Leighton Brown)
Looking back over the 50 years since Stonewall, we face a deep political and philosophical question: are we now winning the struggle for equality by pretending to be heterosexual, by occulting who we are (as sexual beings) and reflecting back to straight people what they want to see (ie themselves)? Does ‘equal’ mean ‘less’? Schulman is unequivocal: she calls the move toward mainstream acceptance ‘gentrification’ in a larger sense, and asks how we got here, “To a place where homosexuality loses its own transformative potential and strives instead to be banal.”
Silence is golden?
Attempting to move ‘out’ into the commercial mainstream and coat everything in ‘pride’ hasn’t helped us to eliminate our shame. Perhaps we are moving in the wrong direction, toward isolation and away from the political collectivism that once sustained us? The writer Frank Browning told me that he thinks of Stonewall as “the cry for liberation of our ‘inner’ innate selves as queers”. Since the Stonewall and Aids crisis points, the queer community has been beset by a depoliticisation that has resulted in sexual repression. Think of the US comedy Will & Grace, which ran for 10 seasons. Queer triumph? Or just gayness hollowed out of its sexual aspects to make it acceptable?
Perhaps it is time for queers to double back and look again at liberating our sexuality, the uncontrollable parts of us that exploded at Stonewall. Edmund White has always disrupted attempts to construct him as a vanilla, patrician writer, to turn him into a heterosexual mascot, by openly talking about his unbridled sexuality alongside his work. Garth Greenwell, a younger-generation writer whose What Belongs to You (2016) was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece, takes us cruising in a public toilet, where we fall in love with a male prostitute. The book makes no apologies: it embraces the prostitute Mitko as it embraces queer desire.
(Credit: Alamy)
I asked Greenwell what Stonewall means to him, and he said, “In Kentucky in the early 1990s, Stonewall was the only bit of queer history I knew… As a queer kid trying to imagine a future in the American south, Stonewall wasn’t the history I needed. I needed to know about the men who attended Oscar Wilde’s Louisville lecture with carnations in their lapels, and about the heroic Aids activists making history in my own downtown.” Iconic moments like Stonewall are important, but we also need a queerness of the next street over, of the everyday. Identity needs to happen on a localised level as well.
The final chapter of Todd’s Pride is called ‘No One Left Behind’. He points out that the queer liberation struggle is far from over. Trans people – who have always stood shoulder to shoulder in the civil rights movement with feminists, queers, black people (“The majority of people at Stonewall were either drag queens or gay men of colour,” Titus Montalvo, a hairdresser and makeup artist who was 16 at the time, told USA Today) – are still fighting for basic acceptance, and defending themselves from ideological attacks from feminist factions who should be their natural allies. Homosexuality is still a criminal offence in around 70 countries, and in around nine it is punishable by death. Meanwhile there have been great victories such as the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India and, very recently, in Botswana. The question remains: does freedom mean anything here, if it doesn’t mean anything there? There are so many theres.
(Credit: Piyal Adhikary/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
The activists of the Stonewall and Aids eras realised that they weren’t going to be taken seriously unless they caused inconvenience. Paul Burston told me that he believes Stonewall is more resonant than ever, now that the LGBTQ+ community is “seeing growing threats to our safety and the equal rights we fought so long and hard for”. So make a wish and blow out the candles on the Stonewall cake. But remember that the legacy those rioters leaves us will never be an easy one.

September 5, 2018

In Poland a Group of Right Wing Nationalists Destroy LGBTQ Display Street for Pride


 


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A group of men believed to be right-wing nationalists descended on an LGBTQ street fair in Poland, ripping up rainbow colored umbrellas and frightening those in attendance. 
The event was organized by Lambda Szczecin, a local LGBTQ organization, on Sunday, less than two weeks before Szczecin is set to hold its first ever Pride. A video posted to the Facebook page for a documentary called Artykuł Osiemnasty (Article 18), about the lack of marriage equality in Poland, shows three men, who are described in the caption as “National Patriots,” destroying property and getting into a verbal altercation with a man who confronted them for their actions. 
The video asks anyone who recognizes the homophobic bigots to come forward with information. Lambda Warsaw shared a picture from the event after the hooligans began their destructive and chaotic action, calling on everyone to attend the Pride event on September 15.
“We will be there with our huge rainbow flag,” the post reads. 
“We will also help to ensure the safety of LGBT people in Szczecin,” it goes on. “At the end of September, we will conduct training for violence victims from West Pomeranian and surrounding areas. It will increase the number of places where LGBT people can safely report violence.”
In addition to not being able to marry, same-sex couples in the country also cannot adopt, and there are no protections against discrimination in housing. Violence against the LGBTQ community has reached such a level in Poland that Amnesty International has urged the country to take hate crimes there seriously.

August 20, 2018

In Brazil, Coca-Cola Turned An Anti Gay Expression Into A Symbol of Pride








Just like in English, Spanish-speaking countries have different homophobic expressions for gay men. In Argentina, we’re “sword swallowers.” Spain calls us “pillow biters.” And in Brazil, the Portuguese expression is “Essa Coca é Fanta,” which literally translates to “That Coke is a Fanta.” But earlier this year Coca-Cola took that homophobic expression and turned it into a super cool, empowering campaign by filling cans of Coke with orange Fanta.
Being told “That Coke is a Fanta” might sound like a harmless idiom, until you realize the expression pops up everywhere in Brazilian culture: in memesYouTube videos and social media. It’s used repeatedly to mock anyone deemed too expressive, flamboyant or not macho enough. Over time, it can wear you down.
Aware of the expression, Coca-Cola decided to produce cans of Coke with orange Fanta inside.
These special cans came in the customary Coca-Cola red, but printed in Brazilian Portuguese on the side they read “Essa Coca-Cola é Fanta — e dai?” (“This Coca-Cola is a Fanta — so what?”)
That Coke is a Fanta 02
They released the can during Pride season in Brazil, and it was an immediate hit. LGBTQ Coca-Cola fans started discussing the drink in social media videos, making shirts with the slogan on it and even a very popular drag queen singer named Pabllo Vittar (she’s basically the Brazilian Britney Spears) made a video showing his delight.
Hundreds of millions of people saw and shared the campaign online, and Google searches for “That Coke is a Fanta” gradually changed from being grouped with other homophobic slurs to being grouped with “So what?,” “Pride” and other more empowering queries.
In short, Coca-Cola took a homophobic expression and turned it into a symbol of Pride.

Here is an ad showing the “That Coke is a Fanta” campaign: 


Coca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in Brazil by far. And considering the largely queer-friendly country has an ongoing problem of violence against LGBTQ people, it’s great that Coca-Cola got people to reconsider their attitudes about queer people and show it’s pretty cool when that Coke is a Fanta.
 


June 26, 2018

Celebrating Gay Pride When Being Gay is Illegal in Jamaica








Life as an LGBTQ person in Jamaica can be fraught. Homophobic and transphobic violence persists in the country, and sex between men is still illegal (anti-sodomy laws date back to 1864, a cruel vestige of British colonial rule). The mob killing of LGBTQ teen Dwayne Jones in 2013 was particularly vicious; last year, the designer and stylist Dexter Pottinger, a former face of Jamaican Pride, was murdered in his home.
Suelle Anglin, an associate director at Jamaica’s foremost LGBTQ advocacy organization, J-Flag, wants you to know that these headlines don’t tell the full story. “One of the main narratives is that we are one of the most homophobic places on earth,” she says. “That [reputation] came from back in the ‘90s, when things were really bad for LGBTQ people. Not that everything is now peaches and cream. But over 20 years, so much has changed.”
In July, J-Flag is throwing its fourth annual Pride event, a week-long celebration of LGBTQ lives fueled by soca music and free-flowing rum. It’s a testament to the pockets of solidarity and strength within the country, and the networks that, once underground, are edging into the light. Here, in her own words, is Anglin on J-Flag and Pride in Jamaica.

Pride in Jamaica is one of the best experiences you can think of. It’s a week of diverse events, so no matter where in the community you fall, it caters specifically to what you need. We have a sports day, a family fun day, health care, a religious service, and a beach picnic and cooler fête. And we also have a breakfast party, which starts from about five in the morning. We don’t have a parade that’s similar to what they do in America—we have never heard that people here have wanted to do a march.
In Jamaica, dancing and fashion is a very big part of who we are. At the beach party, people really come out dressed to the nines: rainbow umbrellas, rainbow bags, rainbow towels. Last year, I saw a lesbian couple with their dog, and the dog was dyed in rainbow colors. We have a lot of music: soca, hip-hop, pop, reggae, dancehall. It’s about enjoying our Jamaican culture in a Pride-inclusive space. Big Freedia performed, and it was really amazing. She said that if she had known this was the vibe of Jamaica Pride, she would have been here every single year. I’m a lesbian—out and proud. When I came out in 2011, the scene wasn’t as open. A lot of the events took place underground, and it was more like, "I tell you, and you tell your friends, and then you show up." The first Pride in Jamaica in 2015 was the first Pride I attended, ever. I really felt, "Oh, my God, are we really going to be able to do this in Jamaica?" There was a flash mob in New Kingston, in Emancipation Park, and Ellen Page was here filming for Vice. It was a very surreal feeling for people to be that open and that visible, on such a big scale.
I think now, things are pretty open—there’s been a tremendous growth regarding visibility. Businesses are saying that they are welcoming to the community, and there is an active LGBTQ party promoter scene. If you ask older people in the community, they’ll tell you that back in the day when they had parties, it was in very far, secluded venues—no hanging about—as opposed to now, where people are having events in very open, visible spaces.
The theme for this year’s Pride is "centering LGBTQ people in Jamaica’s future." That’s important because LGBTQ people in Jamaica are Jamaicans. They should be able to enjoy our music and culture, to go to different health facilities to get health care, and to get the best education, without harassment and bullying in schools.
I think that a lot of the reasons why a lot of LGBTQ people left back in the ’90s, and even consider leaving now, is because they feel as if Jamaica here is not their Jamaica. They feel as if they can’t enjoy the spaces that they should be able to enjoy. And when we send people away, we force them to adapt to a different culture: a different food, a different music, a different everything. We want to ensure that we are creating spaces here in Jamaica so that LGBTQ people can live their best lives. They can have their family, they can work, they can party, and they can enjoy everything that makes us Jamaican.
Occasionally, we get homophobic comments when we post things online. But in the three years that I’ve been with J-Flag, we haven’t had threats at any of our events. We provide security, and we have a good relationship with the police, so we have officers at our big Pride events. I’ve never felt scared at Pride in Jamaica, but I have felt anxious. Last year, we had between 1,000 and 1,500 people at our beach party and cooler fête. I’d never been in a space with so many people from the community, in such an open place. I was like, "I can’t believe I am in Jamaica, and I am in a space like this.”

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      GQ




July 2, 2017

No Pride at The W.H. But Plenty from Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy on His Undies





Trump broke with another tradition at the White House besides having not having honor for the heritage of the place and refused to honor Pride or even mention the word. I remember President Obama with his Vice President Joe Biden walking down the outside of the Oval Office in the White House with two humongous Pride flags. We won't see this again may be forever unless LGBTQ people understand our political system together with the millennials and know that voting for someone you don't love (you are not supposed to love politicians anyways) keeps you from getting the one the ass crazy dude loves.

Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy one of the celebrities who is “celebrating him selves” by stripping down for an inclusive Pride month effort.

Online underwear retailer MeUndies unveiled their new rainbow polka dot designs May 23 with a colorful spread featuring Kenworthy and Kiyoko for its “Celebrate Yourself” campaign. But the photo series ― which also features musician Big Freedia and YouTube personalities B. Scott, Stevie Boebi and Ally Hills ― isn’t just an excuse to spot the stars in their skivvies. For every pair of underwear sold, MeUndies will donate $1 to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to help expand its youth center. 

Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Chief Marketing Officer Jim Key told HuffPost that underwear was “a very appropriate choice” for their new campaign, which was launched to coincide with Pride month in June. “We lift, support and comfort people of all types and ages,” he quipped, noting that much like MeUndies’ polka dot designs, “we’re bold and courageous.”

Given the current political climate, Key said, funding for homeless LGBTQ youth services is more at risk than ever, which is one of the many reasons he’s grateful for the MeUndies campaign. It’s a particularly pertinent issue in Los Angeles, where about 40 percent of the homeless youth population in the city identify as LGBTQ, he said. 

June 26, 2017

Unlike Recent Years Pride Has Been More Resistance Than Celebration



 Turkey



 
Tens of thousands of people waving rainbow flags lined streets for gay pride parades Sunday in coast-to-coast events that took both celebratory and political tones, the latter a reaction to what some see as new threats to gay rights in the Trump era.

In San Francisco, revelers wearing rainbow tutus and boas held signs that read "No Ban, No Wall, Welcome Sisters, and Brothers" while they danced to electronic music at a rally outside City Hall.

Frank Reyes said he and his husband decided to march for the first time in many years because they felt a need to stand up for their rights. The couple joined the "resistance contingent," which led the parade and included representatives from several activist organizations.

"We have to be as visible as possible," said Reyes, wearing a silver body suit and gray and purple headpiece decorated with rhinestones. 

"Things are changing quickly and we have to take a stand and be noticed," Reyes' husband, Paul Brady, added. "We want to let everybody know that we love each other, that we pay taxes and that we're Americans, too."

Activists have been galled by the Trump administration's rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The Republican president also broke from Democratic predecessor Barack Obama's practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month.

At the jam-packed New York City parade, a few attendees wore "Make America Gay Again" hats, while one group walking silently in the parade wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts as they held up signs with a fist and with a rainbow background, a symbol of gay pride. Still, others protested potential cuts to heath care benefits, declaring that "Healthcare is an LGBT issue."

"I think this year is even more politically charged, even though it was always a venue where people used it to express their political perspectives," said Joannah Jones, 59, from New York with her wife, Carol Phillips.

She said the parade is televised for the first time gives people a wider audience. "Not only to educate people in general on the diversity of LGBTQ community but also to see how strongly we feel about what's going on in office."

In Chicago, 23-year-old Sarah Hecker was attending her first pride parade, another event that attracted wall-to-wall crowds. "I felt like this would be a way to not necessarily rebel, but just my way to show solidarity for marginalized people in trying times," said Hecker, a marketing consultant who lives in suburban Chicago.

Elected officials also made a stand, among them New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said his state would continue to lead on equality. Cuomo, a Democrat, on Sunday formally appointed Paul G. Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Feinman is the first openly gay judge to hold the position.

But the pride celebrations also faced some resistance from within the LGBT community itself. Some activists feel the events center on gay white men and are unconcerned with issues including economic inequality and policing.

The divide disrupted some other pride events this month. The No Justice No Pride group blocked the Washington parade's route, and four protesters were arrested at the parade in Columbus, Ohio.

In Minneapolis, organizers of Sunday's Twin Cities Pride Parade initially asked the police department to limit its participation, with the chairwoman saying the sight of uniformed officers could foster "angst and tension and the feeling of unrest" after a suburban officer's acquittal this month in the deadly shooting of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop.

The city's openly gay police chief called the decision divisive and hurtful to LGBT officers. On Friday, organizers apologized and said the officers were welcome to march.

But anti-police protesters disrupted the parade with chants of: "No justice, no peace, no pride in police" and carried signs reading "Justice for Philando" and "Black Lives Matter."

Meanwhile, pride march organizers have taken steps to address the criticisms about diversity.

Protesters for "Black Lives Matter" also delayed the start of the Seattle parade, parade-goers said.

"The pride celebration is a platform for that dialogue to happen," San Francisco Pride board president Michelle Meow said this week. The large "resistance contingent" leading San Francisco's parade includes groups that represent women, immigrants, African-Americans and others along with LGBT people.

New York parade-goers Zhane Smith-Garris, 20, Olivia Rengifo, 19, and Sierra Dias, 20, all black women from New Jersey, said they did not feel there was inequality in the movement.

"Pride is for gay people in general," Dias said.

There were scattered counter protests and a few disruptions, including a small group in New York urging parade-goers to "repent for their sins." But most attendings were unified in celebration and in standing up against a presidential administration they find unsupportive.

"This year, especially, it's a bit of a different atmosphere," said Grace Cook, a 17-year-old from suburban Chicago who noted the more political tone in this year's parade, including at least one anti-Trump float.

Associated Press writers Rebecca Gibian and Colleen Long in New York and Martha Irvine, an AP national writer in Chicago, contributed to this report.

  Olga R. Rodriguez
Associated Press

June 12, 2017

Pride and Anger on LGBT Pride Marches Today on The U.S.







Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation's capital and dozens of other U.S. cities on Sunday, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
The centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington, was endorsed by virtually every major national advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Activists have been embittered by the Trump administration's rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
Throngs of marchers, many thousands strong, paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.
"We're here, we're queer, get that Cheeto out of here," was among the chants directed at Trump.
For the LGBT community nationwide, it's an emotional time. Monday is the anniversary of the mass shooting a year ago in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people — mostly Latinos — at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
Among the marchers in Washington was Gil Mendez, a Puerto Rican native who traveled with his partner all the way from San Francisco to join the parade. He carried a sign that included the names of all the Pulse victims.
"The attack on Pulse really struck me hard," he said. "It made the connection between the physical violence of guns and the political attacks on our community."
Also marching, and singing freedom songs and patriotic songs along the way, were scores of members of gay choruses from various cities.
"It's an opportunity to tell everyone we're still here, and we're not going away at all," said Gregory Elfers of Teaneck, New Jersey, who was with a contingent from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus.
"We have to be heard — we have to be sure we're not trampled on," said L. Owen Taggart of Washington's Gay Men's Chorus.
The roughly 100 marches and rallies across the U.S. included the first-ever gay pride parade in Grosse Pointe, a prosperous Detroit suburb. It began at Grosse Pointe South High School to emphasize support for teens who are gay or transgender.
Two 15-year-old marchers, Jessica Dodge and Shekinah Aho, held hands and wore shirts that said, "Make America Gay Again."
The Los Angeles pride parade was renamed the ResistMarch, and tens of thousands turned out in Hollywood, some carrying rainbow flags or signs reading "Love Trumps Hate." Speakers included Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, and RuPaul, the host of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
Waters led the crowd in a chant of "Impeach 45."
"We're going to take our country back from him," she said. "I know that you have the strength. I know that you have the courage. And I know that each of you understands you have the power."
Back in Washington, the activist leaders on hand included Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, which monitors media coverage of the LGBT community.
She noted that Trump, breaking from the practice of Barack Obama, has declined to issue a proclamation in honor of Pride Month and that the Trump administration has deleted questions about sexual orientation from planned federal surveys.
"If you look at their prioritization, we're really low on it," she said. "There absolutely is a resistance aspect to this march."
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David Crary reported from New York. Associated Press writer Amy Taxin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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