LA Pride organizers face backlash after seeking police permit
By Sam Catanzaro
L.A. Pride will not be involved in an All Black Lives Matter march after facing backlash for seeking a police permit.
Last week, Christopher Street West (CSW)–producers of L.A. Pride–announced a solidarity march with All Black Lives Matter on June 14.
Soon after, CSW applied for a permit with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for the event.
“For the past 50 years, we have demonstrated a strong and unified partnership with law enforcement in the annual organization of PRIDE here in Los Angeles and West Hollywood,” wrote CSW Founder Jeff Consoletti in the application. “Your support of this peaceful gathering is the key to its success and continues a LA tradition of support, advocacy, and the peaceful right to protest for all.”
Backlash ensued soon after with LGBTQ activists taking to social media to point out that partnering with police undermines the purpose of the protest against the police killing of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and Tony McDade–a black trans man killed by police–among others.
“This is not it,” tweeted Fran Tirado former deputy editor of Out magazine. “It is my policy to always call people in before I call them out. I had already emailed LA Pride asking these questions, and they replied avoiding the truth. When I found out the truth retroactively, that’s why I brought this to light…as angry as we are at LA Pride, non-black queers should conscript themselves in this narrative and find solutions for our failures. We should build something like @queermarch in its stead, with black organizers, so we don’t co-opt the movement.”
On Friday, CSW issued an apology saying it was “reevaluating” the event, and then on Monday afternoon announced it would no longer be involved.
“The CSW board members who conceived the idea for the march began speaking with Black LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations in advance of the announcement, however they had not been able to align directly with Black Lives Matter leaders prior to the announcement. For that, we apologize to the Black Lives Matter Organizers,” CSW said in a statement. “This is not a Pride Parade or celebration event. This is a solidarity protest march and there will be no corporate participation.”
The march will still take place on June 14, with a new Advisory Board in place made up of black LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations.
On its website, All Black Lives Matter released the following statement regarding the march, which will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
On June 7, 2020, an Advisory Board, made up of all Black LGBTQ+ leaders was formed to move forward in organizing the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 11:00am in Los Angeles, in honor of our beloved trans man Tony McDade, that was murdered by police at that time. The protest is in direct response to racial injustice, systemic racism, and all forms of oppression.
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera bravely started a movement at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. They stood up to systemic racism and bigotry. We must acknowledge and recognize the many tireless years of service and action by Black LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ community must extend its support to unite against oppression, police brutality, racism, transphobia, and the many other disparities disproportionately impacting the Black community.
We are here to amplify Black Queer voices and come together in solidarity. Endorsed by BLM and B.L.A.C (Black LGBTQIA Advisory Board Council), the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march aims to bring the community together to peacefully exercise our First Amendment rights and heal together.
Out of recognition and respect to the years of work and action of Black LGBTQ+ leadership and community organizers, Christopher Street West and LA Pride will no longer co-organize the All Black Lives Matter march. However, they are in full support and stand unapologetically in solidarity with efforts to dismantle racial justice, systemic oppression, institutional barriers, police brutality and discrimination of all kinds.
The Advisory Board is not working with CSW on the pre-march rally program, but will serve as an independent body creating a program aimed at amplifying the voices of the Black community and allies. Additionally, in tandem, we will engage Black-owned businesses to help support and put this peaceful march together.
The Advisory Board will neither engage corporate sponsors from or through CSW nor official police involvement in organizing the All Black Lives Matter march. For the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march on Sunday, June 14, 2020, we recognize the safety concerns around COVID-19 and the pandemic currently plaguing the nation, and disproportionately the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, and ask protesters to take protective measures, including wearing face coverings and avoiding large crowds if you are at high risk or displaying symptoms of COVID-19.