Progress Blindsided by Protests
By ANACA FLORIMON-REED | June 11, 2017
The annual D.C. gay pride parade held this past Saturday was briefly disrupted when protesters linked arms and blocked the parade on three separate occasions, successfully delaying the parade for over 90 minutes and forcing police to reroute the event.
These protests come as members of the far-left group, No Justice No Pride, unite against corporate sponsorship of the parade. According to a statement on Facebook they “exist to end the L.G.B.T. movements collusions with systems of oppression that further marginalize queer and trans individuals”. They argue that pride parades around the country have become too commercialized and less focused on the systemic issues facing the L.G.B.T.Q. community, placing particular emphasis on queer and transgender minorities.
Their demands and signs struck similar tones to other current social and political movements such as Black Lives Matter. Some of the signs from the protest read “No Pride in Police Violence!”, or “No Pride in Prisons!”, or “No Pride in Deportations!”.
Meanwhile, corporate sponsors have played a large role in advancing the rights of the L.G.B.T.Q. community through their massive cultural influence. By bringing these issues to the forefront of national dialogue through representations of L.G.B.T.Q. individuals in advertisements, issuances of benefits to members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and sponsorships for L.G.B.T.Q. protests and marches, corporations have further permeated the ideals of equality espoused by the movement.
Whether we like it or not, multinational corporations influence the world’s cultural norms and tolerance levels. If these corporations had not embraced gay culture and rights, where would the movement be? How much would this movement affect the lives and the rights of the International L.G.B.T.Q. community, if at all? Also, how would the Pride Parade even be able to afford blocking off multiple streets in the Nation’s Capital during a regressive administration?
Multinational corporations also hold power over the government with intellectual and technological property. They influence policies by lobbying, supporting campaigns, threatening market withdrawal and even just espousing their opinions with spokespeople. Thus, by sponsoring the D.C. Capital Pride Parade, corporations have indirectly allowed No Justice No Pride a platform from which they can protest and be heard at all. Clearly, a significant part of the striking success of the L.G.B.T.Q. movement can be attributed to the very system that has been denounced and disrupted by these protesters.