April 28, 2017 at 7:37 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Capital Pride volunteer ousted over trans remark
Bryan Pruitt, gay news, Washington Blade

Bryan Pruitt (Photo courtesy Twitter)

Organizers of D.C.’s annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival on Wednesday asked for and received the resignation of a volunteer event producer because of comments he made about transgender people in a May 2016 article in the conservative blog RedState that Pride officials consider offensive.

“As soon as the Capital Pride board was made aware of the May 2016 RedState article by Bryan Pruitt, a Capital Pride volunteer, we immediately asked for and received his resignation,” a Capital Pride statement posted on its Facebook page says.

“The Capital Pride Alliance board, staff, and volunteers have zero tolerance for transphobia in any form and remain deeply committed to supporting the trans community through our work and programs,” the statement says.

Capital Pride’s action seeking Pruitt’s resignation came after a local coalition called No Justice No Pride posted an excerpt of Pruitt’s RedState article on Facebook and other social media outlets and demanded that Capital Pride disassociate itself from him.

Bernie Delia, Capital Pride’s president, said that although Capital Pride’s board agreed it was necessary to seek Pruitt’s resignation it would “absolutely not” agree to additional demands by the No Justice No Pride coalition that it ban D.C. police from participating in this year’s Pride parade and festival and that it ban corporate sponsors, including Wells Fargo Bank, from participating in all Pride events.

“It has been with the support and resources of our diverse sponsors and corporate partners that Capital Pride has been able to grow and thrive,” said Delia, who added that corporate supporters have strong records of support for the LGBT community and LGBT rights.

No Justice No Pride issued a press release on Wednesday stating what it says has been the longtime concern of its supporters and members that Capital Pride, like LGBT Pride groups in other cities, has become beholden to corporate sponsors and too supportive of D.C. police, which No Justice No Pride says have directly and indirectly oppressed “predominantly queer and trans people of color.”

Drew Ambrogi, a spokesperson for No Justice No Pride, told the Washington Blade that the coalition believes its positions enjoy support from a growing segment of the LGBT community during the current political climate in Washington, where the Trump administration is seeking to roll back government support for LGBT people.

Angela Peoples, executive director of the national LGBT direct action organization Get Equal, told the Blade in a phone interview on Thursday that her group fully supports the efforts and positions taken by No Justice No Pride.

“I have been working with Drew and other folks that are organizing this effort,” Peoples said. “So the effort and the demands of the No Justice No Pride effort is very much aligned with the work Get Equal has been doing and is continuing to do,” she said.

Ambrogi said the coalition, among other things, is calling on Capital Pride to disinvite D.C. police, including the police LGBT Liaison Unit, from participating in the D.C. Pride parade and festival.

He said the coalition also wants Capital Pride to no longer allow corporate sponsors or corporations in general to participate in the festival and parade and wants Capital Pride to remove its funds from a Wells Fargo Bank and remove from the Capital Pride board one of its members who is a Wells Fargo employee.

The press release says Wells Fargo has given financial support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been opposed by environmentalists; and is a major investor in private prisons and immigrant detention centers. Ambrogi said LGBT people, including trans people, have been disproportionately impacted in a negative way by private prisons.

“The community is paying attention and recognizing that for too long, Capital Pride has colluded with the very forces that oppress queer and trans individuals,” No Justice No Pride says in its press release.

“Their willingness to turn a blind eye to transphobia, accept money from corporations that profit off of the incarceration of queer and trans people — predominantly queer and trans people of color — and celebrate the Metropolitan Police Department, indicate a fundamental disregard for large swaths of our community,” the press release says.

It says D.C. police have carried out “Prostitution free zones, allowing officers to harass and arrest women guilty of walking while trans.”

“We must reject the appeasing and centrist politics of the LGBT establishment,” the press release concludes. “Now more than ever, we must not allow Pride to be a de-politicized, corporatized, white-washed celebration.”

Delia said Capital Pride takes strong exception to many of No Justice No Pride’s assertions.

“The press release includes many inaccuracies and they are engaging in oppressive tactics that do not align with the very essence of what they claim to seek,” Delia told the Blade in a statement.

“Capital Pride is extremely mindful and thoughtful of our role in serving the entire community and growing our events in a way that fosters pride and community,” he said. “Pride is an inclusive event and the Capital Pride Alliance supports all members of the LGBTQA community to participate in Capital Pride.”

His statement added, “We strive to bring people together, foster dialogue, and create an environment of understanding from all perspectives.”

 Delia noted that Capital Pride’s activities include Capital Trans Pride, an event scheduled for May 20 that celebrates the transgender community.

 Some of the city’s most prominent transgender advocates, including Earline Budd and Ruby Corado, have said that although police abuse of trans people has been a serious problem, the instances of abuse have declined and police officials, including the previous and current police chiefs, have been supportive of the trans community.

The excerpt from Pruitt’s article that the No Justice No Pride coalition singled out states: “There is not an epidemic of trans people being denied access to public facilities. Trans people safely use bathrooms every day, mostly because if they are truly trans, other folks don’t even notice.”

Pruitt, a gay Republican activist and former president of D.C.’s Log Cabin Republicans, told the Blade on Thursday that the excerpt takes out of context the premise of his article, which is entitled “Grabbing Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory.”

He noted that the article pointed out, in the midst of the 2016 presidential election, that far-left leaning Democrats and the “gay left” were unwittingly playing into the hands of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and hurting Democratic contender Hillary Clinton by making an issue of the controversial transgender bathroom controversy.

“I’m a hundred percent supportive of the trans community,” Pruitt told the Blade. “I have always been and always will be supportive of the trans community,” he said. “I have friends that are trans. I believe in full rights for the trans community.”

In his article Pruitt called the LGBT rights ordinance passed by the Charlotte, N.C., City Council, “a solution in search of a problem,” calling it an “unnecessary law” that prompted the North Carolina Legislature to make “an equally overreaching response” by passing its controversial “bathroom” law banning trans people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Pruitt’s views on the issue were out of step with the position of most of the nation’s LGBT rights organizations that expressed the view that the Charlotte LGBT rights law was needed to protect LGBT people from discrimination.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Well, it appears that the article was quite prescient, right?

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies.

    And only the wait staff knows for sure.

    Just ask – and thank – Hillary. Well done!

  • This is just another attack on free speech and gay men by the trans mafia, illegals and BLM terrorists that are taking over all things gay. Just like the corporations most of us will not support this corruption of gay rights to benefit these outside agendas. When you lose enough support you’ll either come to your senses or have to fund these former gay prides and gay organizations out of your pockets and we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    • Agree that bringing too many non-community issues into our goal for full equality and rights under the law only dilutes the mission
      We’re also better off having police included than labeling them as enemy and not inviting them. What if other violence or opposition shows up to our marches or events especially in the form of a terror attack! Who will be there to intervene? It’s really short-sighted. Everyone needs security at their events now!

      In the fight for equality we don’t want to refuse the support of corporations that are willing to support us and include us in their non-discrimination policies! No one is going to want to pay a hefty fee to attend these events to cover the costs and without money we have no presence or visibility! People are free to not attend but don’t ruin it for everyone else!

    • BLM terrorists? Seriously! Your mindset stems from an unfortunate side issue of our community, i.e. that the only voices which people will listen to or that matters stems from white gay men. Granted, I’m not one for disinviting the police but all of this backlash comes from not recognizing the true diversity of our community and not helping the visibility of segments of our community whose stories are just as vital and important. Not all of us fit the stereotype of skinny young twinks who grow up to be hot gay men in big cities.

      • I really don’t want hate groups like BLM and BDS steering the agenda for things like Pride. Keep the agenda about gay rights and stop this dilution of our events and focus.

        It’s ridiculous to demand that the Metro Police be disinvited because they arrest prostitutes. Really? Do you think that is a position with much traction?

        At what point do all those gay men that you just smeared decide to pull their support and $$$ from these events and organizations since they have been hijacked by extremists?

        • Check your history. No movement for human rights was successful without intersction. And if we focused solely on what you wanted, we would still be in the same state. For gay black men, things like police brutality is still an issue. Knowing this comes from recognizing that our movement naturally intersects with other movements. Also, the gay men u talk about aren’t the only people with money. I smeared no one. Just relaying a common fact that there is a refusal by SOME to recognize others in our community who don’t fit a stereotype. One last thing. I said I do not approve of disinviting the police or not letting them attend.

          • You callously smeared white gay men and now you backtrack? All one has to do is read your post, it is pretty transparent.

            Newsflash – if you want to have a productive dialogue with other groups of people, you may want to abstain from insulting them because they have different perspectives.

          • Actually I dont backtrack from anything. What I said about not disinviting the police is in my original comment. And I stand by what i said regarding IMAGES used to describe the lgbt community in general. Lastly, the paternalistic patronizing statement you threw at me in your last train of thought proves the point I have been making. You made your statement and i made a statement disagreeing with you. That’s a healthy dialogue. If you feel insulted, that’s your problem. Talking down to me doesn’t help your argument.

          • Keep all of your PC hogwash to yourself …”patriachy”, “intersectionality”….it’s a load of BS and this isn’t a college campus gender studies class!!!

            Newsflash – the gay community is politically diverse and not all of us buy into your BS marxist ideology!

            Keep your violence promoting and hateful BLM, BDS and Antifa types out of Pride, they don’t reflect the positive message we should be sending the world!

  • Shocking. This is an attack on the free speech rights of this man who is entitled to his opinion.

    Many in the DC gay community support the police dept. and the difficult job they do protecting citizens. Corporations employ us and help pay the costs of events Nothing wrong with that, it should be welcomed!

    Finally, concentration camps for gay men are set up in Chechnya and so-called gay leaders are worried about the Keystone pipeline?

    I think I’ll go to the beach this coming pride weekend. No thanks. Obviously, our organizations have succumbed to extremist orthodoxy and no longer represent all of us.

    • “This is an attack on the free speech rights”

      Capital Pride isn’t a governmental entity, is it?

      Something tells me you’d be singing a different tune if the person in question was Maggie Gallagher and the ‘speech’ was anti-gay rather than anti-trans.

      • Shove it sweety!

        I support Maggie Gallagher’s right to say whatever she pleases. It’s America ya know and her free speech is protected under the law. Good ideas rise to the top and bad ones go down!

        It’s only some the Trans community which seems intent on smearing decent members of our community because they have different opinions on things. Doesn’t work that way in the real world snowflake!

    • I am surprised the organization sided with the cops, maybe some will even be smart enough to oppose importing moslem beheaders with taxpayer money.

      • Yeah exactly. I think the Pride management is coming across as a bunch of spineless cucks in this matter. I feel sorry for the guy they smeared for no good reason at all. He was nice enough to VOLUNTEER his time and effort to this event and they treated him shabbily.

  • Didn’t the gay community, or its organized professional class, demonstrate their irrelevance and impotence last November?

  • Self-described “queer people of color” look hypocritical and like their goal is simply to silence political opinions.

    For years – I’ve videotaped it in the past – the D.C. Pride march has the same pattern: first are local political incumbents from Evans to Norton to whomever is Mayor; second are corporate sponsors and bar floats with semi-naked boys; bringing up the rear are Asian transvestites and transsexuals and black gay church groups.

    In the past I’ve asked about this and I was told by Pride organizers and volunteers that it had to be that way. If Eleanor Holmes Norton etc. are not allowed to be first, they won’t show up.

    Why have these “queer people of color” never spoken up before and advocated that the politically connected and powerful and those not so connected and empowered be randomly distributed in the Pride march?

    • Mike Pence attended the March for Life. Trump spoke before the NRA giving them support.

      Can we expect your Fake POTUS to attend the Pride March or someone high level and high profile from his administration showing unequivocal support?

  • This idiot states that, “Trump administration is seeking to roll back government support for LGBT people.” That is a BOLD FACED LIE.

    • What has Trump said or done about gay men in Chechnya exactly? He’s been silent on the entire issue despite saying he would protect GLBT!

      Then Trump pulled support for challenging the trans policy before the SCOTUS. He’s been on record supporting the appointment of judges that will revoke marriage equality while supporting religious freedom laws! Sounds like you’re living a BOLD FACED DENIAL!

      • Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA back in the day? I don’t remember Hillary Clinton supporting marriage for us until there was total political cover.
        I think you may be in denial too.

        • Who cares what Bill Clinton did 20 years ago? Hillary evolved like everyone else did on these issues and was clear about supporting our rights as does the Democratic Party Platform! Your old man Trump NEVER has and your GOP party platform still clearly opposes GLBT rights!

          Your lord king flip flopper keeps swaying in the wind with incompetence! Your right-wing politics blind you to reality!

          Your tall tree is tumbling, leaves rotting and its branches are wilting! You must have termites!

          • Yes as soon as the SCOTUS legalized gay marriage Democrat incumbents embraced it. Yawn.

          • Actually, Democrats were embracing it before the SCOTUS ruled on the issue. Obama put his re-election campaign on the line supporting it. For a writer, you’re really bad at time lines. Stop giving us your alternative “facts”! We want reality!

            When is the GOP going to embrace it?! SAD!

          • Obama spoke out against gay marriage in 2008 and Hillary in 2012. It’s on youtube. The only memory hole is the one in your empty little head pookie.

            And if I were you I wouldn’t worry about my writing. You’d need to learn to read first. Your NEA schools failed you there. Too busy kidnapping black kids and selling them for donations to Democrats.

          • Look Porky, Everyone was against Marriage “Equality” at one point. The difference is Obama and Hillary no longer oppose it. Trump and the GOP still do!

          • You are making a lot of assumptions. I’m an independent voter and don’t support Trump either.

            You grovel for political scraps from Democrats, but in the end get precious little other than lip service from those who claim to be your allies at the national level.

            Really, at least the Republicans tell us to our face that we will get nothing from them. The Democrats are quickly becoming irrelevant to the political landscape in many places so they can’t deliver anything.

            It would be nice to have a new, viable political party that is effective!

          • I’d rather have Dems in Office doing nothing for me than Conservative Republicans in office doing everything against me!

          • Dems can’t win anything anymore, so the point is moot. They are just corporatist shills pretending to care about anything but Walll Street $$$$

          • Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel safe! The dysfunctional GOP Congress is divided. The Tea Party Caucus is the swamp that needs to be drained!
            After boasting that they would repeal Obamacare they failed when voters told them they wanted to keep it. The GOP has no alternative plan and scrambling to pull one together! Taxes will be even more complicated! They are failures!

          • Really? Then why did the Democratic party lose so many races at the local and state levels in recent elections? What planet are you living on? I’ll tell you why they lost ….because Wall Street can’t buy everyones votes!

          • Local and State Levels are not the same as Federal Government! This is nothing new. Keep being smug and watch the Dems eventually take control. It’s a sooner or later situation.

            As voters realize the harm that Trump poses to them with his agenda, they will put Dems in the Senate at the very least to put him in check! It’s a matter of when not if!
            You lean Republican so don’t tell us you’re an independent!

          • Really – last time I looked the republican party had both houses, the presidency and will soon get the supreme court stacked with right wingers.

            I voted for Jill Stein, so I guess that makes me “leaning republican”? Maybe you just don’t realize that identity politics don’t misdirect many as they are intended to do.
            It’s a smokescreen to divert away from the main issues about economics.

            I would suggest you watch a youtube clip by Jimmy Dore to get the pulse on progressive Americans….cause you are out of touch!

            We aren’t buying the BS by corporatist democratic shills anymore….if that means republicans get in then so be it!

          • I didn’t vote for Trump either, though I VASTLY prefer him to Hillary. It’s amazing how Democrats always think there are only two parties – because like the GOP they spend so much time trying to strangle any new party or movement, whether it’s Bernie or Gary Johnson.

          • Proves my point in a discussion you and I had earlier on this thread. You probably wouldn’t be harmed if the GOP gets power. But lgbts of color, lower economic stauses and those who can’t “pass” will suffer. But who cares cause you got yours. Sad. And blocked.

          • You’re such a snowflake! You sound soooo concerned about others when in reality you are no different than anyone else…looking out for #1.

          • Your masters say this every two years. Beat that little empty head into the wall. Maybe Maxine will loan your her James Brown wig for some cushioning.

          • Yours isn’t empty just full of fat…like the rest of you!!

            Eventually Dems will control Congress when Voters realize Trump’s agenda works against them and they want to put a break on it!

          • So Hillary – speaking of fat – spent $2 billion dollars to tell voters this and failed at it? What did she spend it on? Pork chops?

          • When you do drag, your name is Bertha Minors and you buy at the plus size shops for your dresses!

          • The Democrats lost because their organizers and candidates are half wits like Imm3921. He’s probably (sorry, “sherm’s” probably) some minor campaign minion, Robbie Mook’s shoe polisher, who can’t get a job now that the Democrat Party doesn’t exist anymore outside of a few dysfunctional cities.

          • I agree. They are so self-absorbed, self-interested and out of touch it’s even obvious to the town drunk in Bug Tussle USA! I wouldn’t vote for anyone from that crowd…not even for dog catcher!

          • They lost because many voters didn’t bother to vote assuming a blowhard like Trump couldn’t win. They’ll know better next time!

            Dysfunctional is the Tea Party and they are the Swamp that needs to be drained!

            I have a real job. When will you get one?!

          • Wow. So the Democrats lose another branch of government every 2 years and their voters just think it was a fluke each time? Maybe you should teach more Democrats how to read and write English so they are not so ignorant?

          • The Democrats had the POTUS for 8 years. Trump just got in a few months ago and you think you have it all wrapped up!

            It’s not like this is the first time when the GOP had the POTUS and Congressional majority. But they’ve lost it and they will lose it again! It’s a matter of when NOT if and history shows that opposing party typically always takes over Congress eventually!

          • Do you think when he gets through with playing on Richard Branson’s island Obama will give you some of his $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee?

          • Will Trump give you as much when he gets back from his endless golfing trips in Florida?

          • Dude. That’s ridiculous. You work with the party you can work with. How many out lgbt GOP Congressional leaders as opposed to those in the DEM party? That’s saying something.

          • Because we are still living with Bill Clinton’s disasters just as we are still living with Obama’s.

          • We are living with the disaster of Trump and the Tea Party in office! I doubt you have any life from the neck up!

      • Nicki Haley condemned the abuse of gays in Russia/Chechneya. What did Obama or Hillary ever say about the genocide of gays by jihadists?

    • That’s not a lie.

  • I do not like the idea of zero tolerance applied to anything. It means you can’t take circumstances into account, you can’t discover and clear up misunderstandings, the offender can’t apologize, and the parties can’t reconcile. And you can’t investigate root causes to find ways to prevent people from becoming offenders in the future.

    Even if the offenders deeply regret what they did and even if they want to reconcile, there is no path to redemption.

    But there is a big advantage to zero tolerance rules. Enforcing them requires no thought.

  • Didn’t the gay political class, from Robbie Mook and closet case Donna Brazille on down, demonstrate their irrelevance and impotence last November?

  • More troubling is the demand about Police exclusion. Especially LGBT police. People who don;t want to be excluded and scream that they are want to exclude others so they feel more included. As many SJW activist like to say “The first Pride was a riot.”

    Yes it was. But it was against our true enemies not our own people.

  • Didn’t the gay political class, from Robbie Mook and closet case Donna Brazille on down, demonstrate their irrelevance and impotence last November?

  • This is absurd. The Red State article was about a political strategy that went wrong, and it was rightfully predicted. There was nothing Transphobic about the article. Timing is everything … get your candidate and advocate into office before defining and demanding controversial social issues. It is simple political strategy. Mr. Pruitt’s predictions were correct – the article was written before the Presidential Election. It sounds like Mr. Pruitt is for the Trans Community in the article, and how the LGBT Community would have pursued Trans Advocacy in a better fashion. There was a poor political play.

    Capital Pride leadership should take a look at themselves. Why would you put a volunteer under the bus and in the media, before vetting a non-organization of radical rabble rousers? This group should not have been given the time of day. They are a distraction from the celebration of Pride. By asking for Mr. Pruitt’s resignation, Capital Pride gave this group a voice of which is against Pride.

    My guess is that Mr. Pruitt volunteered for the Capital Pride organization out of passion, and not hate.

    Also, Capital Pride should announce the head-line entertainment before asking for hundreds of dollars for specialty package tickets.

    Very poorly done in my eyes. There should be more resignations at the leadership level at Capital Pride. Poor management.

  • According to the No Pride, No Justice Facebook page they are going to descend on the DC Pride Alliance Board Meeting en masse on May 5th and make demands,

  • Yes you are sad. Slurring someone was not necessary.

  • As a District resident, I applaud Capital Pride for including the police. I do not believe that generalizations about an entire group of people can be applied to any member of the group. Capital Pride, please remain an inclusive organization by not banning those you have disagreements with. In your search to be inclusive, do not become exclusionary.

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