June 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Emmelia Talarico
Emmelia Talarico, gay news, Washington Blade

Emmelia Talarico (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Pride season isn’t all just beads, feather boas and feel-good debauchery. We might have started protesting society in general, but over the decades, a movement has emerged in which sometimes factions under the LGBT umbrella have beefs with each other.

That’s the premise behind the No Justice, No Pride movement, which as of this week, has nearly 800 members on Facebook. The group will hold its Night March on Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Logan Circle for a family-friendly event where D.C.’s queer and trans community is “uniting to march against the corporatization of Pride.”

On Saturday, June 10 at 3:30 p.m., the group will gather in McPherson Square to protest the “LGBT movement’s collusion with systems of oppression that further marginalize queer and trans individuals.” Look for the events on Facebook for further details.

Emmelia Talarico, a self-described “coordinator, organizer, agitator, disruptor and lover” says she’s had issues with Wells Fargo being a sponsor of Capital Pride for a few years but during inauguration protests in January, she realized she and her cohorts had “the potential to make this the most effective year yet at showing Capital Pride the damage that their sponsors do to queer and trans people, particularly those of color,” she says.

“We’re the backbone of the LGBTQ community, but we’re often tossed aside, ignored and told to work within a system that is killing us,” Talarico says. “While our cis gay and lesbian counterparts use these statistics to work for their own trans-exclusive ‘liberation.’ … We cannot be idle and allow cis gay and lesbian activists to speak for us only when it is politically useful for them to do so. We must fight back and bring Pride back to its roots. It’s not just a party to celebrate how comfortable cis, white gay men of a certain socioeconomic level have become. The reality is we are being attacked on all sides and enough is enough.”

Talarico is from Bridgeport, Conn., and has also lived in New York and San Francisco. She’s been in the D.C. area for about six years off and on. She and husband Brian Perera live in Silver Spring, Md., after being homeless for a time in the District. Affordable city housing is also an issue for Talarico, who’s trans. She works for Americans for Transit, a national non-profit for transit rider organizations where she works to organize riders to stand up to WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority).

Talarico enjoys cycling, DJing, organizing and art in her free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I feel like there was never a “out” for me. My entire life people knew I was a queerido. Even was beat up a few times at school for it. I think it was as early as third grade that I knew I wasn’t a “he” when my teacher insisted on over gendering me. It just wasn’t until I was 20 that I fully came to terms with me being a she.

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Can I be my own hero? Do I need to have just one hero? In a world full of mentors, lovers, history experts, teachers all contributing to my growth, there are too many to name.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present? 

Malcom X Park, Zeba or any place with a rooftop and a small crowd.

Describe your dream wedding.

Forget the wedding, I just want to delegate at the reception.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

This question is frustrating. The LGBTQ2S community is diverse as hell. It’s reductive to assume that there are any “non-LGBT” issues. That aside, I’ve been a labor organizer since I was young. I even worked on a worker campaign for a few years that focused on leveraging President Obama to raise the federal contractor wage to $10.10. I grew up working class and my mother died from a drug overdose when I was young. So, I’ve been working all my life to support myself and labor organizing is the one thing that keeps calling me back.

What historical outcome would you change?

I’m not much for presidential elections because I believe real change is most effective locally but I would like to have seen Bernie not get cheated.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Pop culture is not revolutionary.

On what do you insist?

I’m conscious of the impact non-native D.C. residents have on native D.C. residents. They often get pushed out and I think about that daily. Despite my faults, it’s been a personal goal and belief of mine to keep organizing and doing what I can to make this city a better place for those who have lived and struggled here.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Asking if someone can give me a ride this afternoon up the street with some equipment that I have with me for a training that I am doing tonight.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“You Really Want to Read This Book. This Shit Actually Happened”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?


What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

Life and death.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Stop taking money from snakes.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My feet are baby soft, I’ll pass!

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That trans women are gay men.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

I really liked “Tangerine” aside from it being trauma porn for cis people.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Bio families.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

 I am a humble person, I don’t need a prize.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That you could get ‘mones in D.C.

Why Washington?

D.C. (I will not call it Washington; you must be thinking of Congress) has become a home to me. As someone who had to move yearly in their youth when their mom was still alive, I don’t know what long-time friends are. Every year I would have to leave my relationships and move to new city and sometimes state. D.C. is where I’ve had the longest relationships, friends and families. D.C. allowed me to transition, D.C. gave me a support network (even if it’s a small one) while I transitioned.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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