June 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm EST | by Deacon Maccubbin
Misguided attacks on Capital Pride
No Justice No Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The group “No Justice No Pride” seems to have chosen the right name, as they appear to have neither. More importantly, they lack both historical context and forward-looking vision.

In 1971, police in D.C. and elsewhere were notoriously anti-LGBT (actually more anti-gay, since they largely ignored the other members of our community to concentrate on gay men). The fledgling Gay Activists Alliance (now the GLAA) had tried for nearly two years to schedule a meeting with the D.C. police chief to talk about the harassment, arrests, abuse and even blackmail being practiced by “D.C.’s Finest” but the chief refused to meet with LGBT people.

So a group of about a dozen staged a sit-in in the police chief’s office and, after occupying the office for about five hours, a smaller group of three — Bill Bricker, Cade Ware and myself — agreed that we would be arrested, the first arrests for LGBT civil disobedience in Washington.

When we went to trial some weeks later, we pled nolo contendere, since we knew we were guilty, but it gave us an opportunity to explain to the judge how long we had tried to get a meeting with the police, how we had been stymied in that, and why we had decided that civil disobedience was our only option. After deliberation, the judge returned and said, “Because you pled nolo contendere, I have no choice but to find you guilty. But if I had been in your position, I’d probably have done the same thing. No fine. No jail time. You are free to go.” Two weeks later, the police chief agreed to meet with us.

And that began a process. It started with communication, spread into the adoption of new training for police recruits (training that members of the LGBT community helped conduct), then spread to better screening of new recruits, to more inclusive direction by subsequent police chiefs, to the establishment of a Civilian Complaint Review Board and, eventually, to the creation of the LGBT Liaison Unit. LGBT victims of crime are now assisted by openly LGBT and LGBT-supportive police officers.

Are there still some officers who fail to live up to the standards we and their chief expect? Of course there are; in any group of thousands, there will always be a few bad officers. But the overwhelming majority of D.C.’s police force do their job without prejudice. By all means, keep up the oversight, continue to push for removal of those few bad officers, but at the same time, welcome those LGBT officers and those supportive officers to march with us, to celebrate with us, to continue to make progress in respecting all LGBT people in Washington.

There is merit in Pride looking closer at which corporate sponsorships are appropriate, but the executive board of Pride has already agreed to do that. As the founder of D.C.’s annual Pride Day event in 1975 and the sole sponsor of the event for the first five years, I have always been in favor of melding both political and social aspects in the celebration. It’s a time to celebrate our victories as well as to push for continued progress. For every commercial booth that lines Pennsylvania Avenue (and provides the bulk of the funding for the event), there are non-profit and activist booths offering Pride attendees ways to get involved. “No Justice No Pride” would be wise to participate there, too.

As for the call to remove members of Capital Pride’s executive board, that’s an insult to those who have dedicated so much time and effort to the community. If you look at their bios, you’ll see that they cross most gender and racial lines and they have long histories of work in LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations. Likewise, the Pride staff demonstrates that ALL are welcome to the effort.

Staging the parade, the block party, the entertainment, the parties, the workshops and all the other activities surrounding Pride is a huge undertaking. If you’ve read this far, consider volunteering to make it all even better. Just don’t tear it down in the process.

Deacon Maccubbin is the former owner of Lambda Rising and the founder of D.C.’s original Pride event in 1975.

  • Rick Rosendall

    Superb. Thanks, Deacon.

  • Mr. M

    Thanks Deacon. The bullying from these folks in the name of “social justice” is appalling.

  • Cole Carter

    Thank you Deacon, you are a TRUE LGBTQ hero!

  • Curious

    Finally, an adult speaks, and schools the children about our history and how the demands and tactics of the “No Justice, No Pride” disruptors was a slap in the face to so, so many activists who have done far more for the community than pout and throw a vanity (“look at me! aren’t I cool?!”) tantrum about matters having nothing or very little to do with the LGBT community and movement specifically. How bigoted, in fact, to saddle the annual LGBT Pride celebration with an anti-police and anti-corporations/anti-capitalist protest. How very disgustingly bigoted. So many other marches and parades and events are held in DC that involve police and major corporate sponsors, sometimes exactly the same ones, and the “No Justice, No Pride” folks do nothing. But when gay, lesbian, bi and trans folks come together for an important cause, yeah… we’re the targets. We bear the brunt. As always.

  • Gert

    The protesters’ spokesman also objected to Edie Windsor being the parade grand marshal, simply because she is “a rich white woman.” What kind of allies would attack an 85-year-old widow who lost her partner of 45 years and then won a landmark marriage case before the Supreme Court?
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6c8dfc11c679cd6ea52b908ff93f9af0e913a3eb1ada42dac62026fdb214ab83.png

  • Gert

    The protesters’ spokesman also objected to Edie Windsor being the parade grand marshal, simply because she is “a rich white woman.” What kind of allies would attack an 85-year-old widow who lost her partner of 45 years and then won a landmark marriage case before the Supreme Court?

  • LiberalDeacon

    Thanks Deacon, but we can rest assured, the SJWs will resort to protesting again quite soon. It’s much easier to complain and interrupt than it is to govern.

  • Glenn Priceless

    “As the founder of D.C.’s annual Pride Day event in 1975 and the sole sponsor of the event for the first five years…”

    Oh, so then you were in fact 100% biased when writing this overly defensive diatribe. Are the fossils of the gay community getting angry watching their precious white male privilege come under attack? Nobody ever named you king.

    Now find a rocking chair, and stop acting so high & mighty your damned self old man. The only insult here is clearly you!

    • thecomiss

      Glen you my dear are the worst. Join your friend Angela Peoples who has destroyed every gay organization she is associated with. I’m so sick of hearing this crap from ignorant folks like you. If you are so upset with Capitol Pride then you should do something to change it not stop it. Furthermore, I tired of Black Pride, Latino Pride, and Youth Pride. There is one Pride and only one PRIDE! That’s the way it should be PERIOD. When Black and White, Latino and Asian stand as one; that’s when we overcome. Don’t say that in the 21st century of the gay movement that these people are stopping you from making a point, creating change and making an event even better! So cut the crap and either get on the bus or get off. We don’t need any more haters in this world never mind our own community! I call for the joining of all gay forces to make next year ONE PRIDE!

      • Glenn Priceless

        “Furthermore, I tired of Black Pride, Latino Pride, and Youth Pride.”

        Oh another white man painting himself as the victim. Nice try. And don’t you mean hate!? We know you do. So don’t forget to mention that you’re also a lifelong white supremacist/misanthrope who hates all races, genders, age groups, sexualities, and yourself too!

        So while you have the nerve to point fingers talking about “who’s the worst” don’t forget to include yourself, because it seems you overlooked the obvious. And you want to know what we’re tired of? Try your overly defensive white privilege hatemongering! Now can the vitriol grandpa, because you’re only proving my point!

        You want one pride? What for? So you can claim it’s “your tent pole” all over again? I can still remember how hard the Latino tried to part of this DC community back in the nineties. How many years did it take for the Latinos to win Best Float in the parade when everyone unanimously said they won? Did they ever? Did Escandalo really close with the Latinos receiving zero redemption for their efforts due to white privilege defensiveness? That’s you, and you haven’t changed in twenty years! I’m just glad the new generation isn’t fooled! They see you for what you really are, and I support them 100%!

        You’re the worst. Now get off the internet racist grandpa, and drink that bucket of bleach already!

        • thecomiss

          Really so you might want to see my family tree before you point those fingers! We are black, latino, Asian even Iranian! What I can’t stand for is a group of totalitarian folks trying too ruin an event! Have you seen the board of Capital pride they are black, white, Latino, Jewish and trans gender! So instead of trying to make a change from within.. you and ur posse have only shown that the tactics have back fired and the support is not on your side! Don’t even get me started about the Latino community because I have been huge in making sure Latinos had a seat at the table! Spin again!

          • Glenn Priceless

            Well if it isn’t Mr. I Can’t Stand Challenges To My White Privilege. Back again, and still getting triggered by the comments section?

            Me and my “posse”? As opposed to the Klan you belong too? The Ku Klux Klan grandpa? Lmfao! Don’t forget to take your meds angry white man.

            Yeah and show us all your family tree. Please! I’m sure it’s all a calculated lie just like your white privilege claims to victimhood. Lmfao! We’ve seen your style of internet trollery before. As long as it’s the internet you just won’t admit that you’re wrong, but thanks for reminding us all that actual white supremacists fighting in defense of white privilege in the gay community DO exist.

            I bet in your next rebuttal you’re going to claim (over the internet ofcourse) that you’re handicapped. That way you can better justify your hatred for the disabled. And then in your rebuttal after that you’ll suddenly claim (over the internet again ofcourse) to be really really obese. That way you can better justify your hatred for the overweight. And then you’ll be transitioning, and then the adoptive parent of Vietnamese children so on and so forth.

            I see you never acknowledge the racism exhibited by other whites. It’s always defense and denial mode for you racist internet lunatics isn’t it? Lmfao! Yeah, so keep pretending we haven’t seen your style of hatred yet. We’ve been dealing with you since before the emancipation, but you think you’re coming with something brand new in 2017? I bet you’re not even gay. You’re just some neanderthal who’ll do anything to jump into a fight, and stir up racist animosities. So don’t lie. You hated the blacks latinos and all the other colors of the rainbow being in the gay community long before they ever found a separate pride of their own. A pride that doesn’t involve your racist white supremacist totalitarian control. Yup.

            So wanna try explaining why you didn’t answer the initial question: “You want ONE PRIDE? Why? So you can claim it’s “your tent pole” all over again?” I’ll answer that for you. Because you couldn’t. You’re just an overly defensive racist white supremacist.

            Mad? Exposed? It’s clearly YOU who have been shown that your white supremacist “totalitarian tactics” in the gay community have backfired Mr. I Can’t Stand Challenges To My White Privilege. That’s why your parade got shut down.

            Now take your meds racist grandpa, and don’t forget to f–k off this time!🖕🏾

      • BEARY FLINTSTONE

        Well let me jump into this slightly. It looks like you said you’re tired of BLACK PRIDE? Well that’s too bad. I’m not sure when you arrived in DC but Black Gay Pride which has NOTHING to do with the subject above has been in existence for nearly 25 years and that was due to the fact that we were being IGNORED by PRIDE groups not just here in DC but other cities also!

        So when you don’t invite us to the table we will build our own. That’s not to say we don’t support Capital Pride we do but we will still continue to have DC Black Gay Pride. It’s nice that NOW Blacks can be a part of the board of DC Capital Pride but we all know these transitions came about after the election of Barack Obama and the passing of marriage equality before we didn’t get the light of day!

        Once again I have nothing to do with No Justice, No Pride neither does DC Black Gay Pride. Also, I would ask that you be careful about what you’re tired of you see if we would have never been excluded from these things in the first place we wouldn’t be here. Thank you that you include us now. But it wasn’t always as such! And that’s a fact!

  • LesbianTippingHabits

    Capital Pride 2017 was a serious missed opportunity for NJNP.

    A brief protest that did not seriously disrupt the parade would have made their point – just reinforced with the acquittal of the Minnesota police officer of manslaughter of Philando Castile – and caused many people of good will to think.

    Example: Code Pink, on Capitol Hill and beyond.

    One catches a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar. Positive Energy!

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2017. All rights reserved.
Blade Blast

Get the latest LGBTQ news to your inbox every Thursday!