This was the 35th annual Gay Pride Parade in Long Beach. We were able to get a room in an Air B&B right along the parade route, with the other rooms occupied by other parade revelers. We have been attending this Parade for years. This time it was a gray but very gay day.
As usual, it started out with Dykes on Bikes, the familiar revving of engines the usual audible signal that the parade is beginning. This was followed by colorful bicycles, rollerbladers, cars, a stagecoach, and full-sized floats.
Lots of companies participated. I especially appreciated Chipotle’s One Giant Burrito for Everyone slogan and Disney’s Celebrating the Magic in Everyone. Many politicians were in the parade, including the mayor and Council and Assembly members.
The Grand Marshall was Alexandra Billings, one of the first openly transgender women to play a transgender character on television, which she did in the 2005 made-for-TV movie Romy and Michele: In The Beginning. She has also appeared as a transgender character in Karen Sisco, ER, Eli Stone, How to Get Away with Murder, and Transparent and Grey’s Anatomy. Besides being an actress, she is also a singer and an activist.
There were thousands of viewers, and a total of 11 protesters at the beginning of the parade with their “homo sex is sin” and “ask me why you deserve hell” signs. Few people actually saw them, and they did little to dampen the celebratory feeling of love and acceptance. They were kept in a fenced area from which they heckled out their hate.
The crowd was as colorful as the parade
There was a free event for gay teenagers of Friday. On Saturday and Sunday they had a Festival, although there was a fee for admission. There was dancing, games, and lots of music on five music stages: the Main Stage, Country Stage, Dance Stage, Fiesta Caliente Stage and Urban Soul Stage. More than 50 musical artists, DJs and bands performed.
All types of people were represented
Last year people were still stunned, not knowing what the Trump administration would mean for them. This year it is clear, and they are defiant, organized and ready to fight.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
We wrote after last year’s parade the article The Washington Gay Hate Parade. It documented the anti-gay extremists throughout the Trump administration. Things have only gotten much worse in the year since.
So here are a few of the things that have happened in the last year. Jeff Mateer, Trump Judicial nominee, previously spoke at the infamous “Death To Gays” Conference, claiming that gay marriage leads to bestiality. He described transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan,” complained that states were banning conversion therapy and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality.
Cheer Los Angeles
Another Trump Judicial nominee Gordon Giampietro said in 2015 that marriage equality is “an assault on nature” and “against God’s plan.” He has falsely claimed that it was “irrefutable” that children are better off being raised by a heterosexual couple. He also said “This new definition of marriage actually focuses marriage on the sex act, because if it were simply that we wanted to honor the love of two people, we would allow sons to marry their mothers, brothers to marry their sisters, for example, to get them health care. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Doesn’t society think that would be a great thing, if a sister could get her brother on health care?” These are nominees for life-time positions on the bench.
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
On World AIDS Day, Trump refused to mention gay people. He said nothing during World Pride Month last July. He has hosted anti-gay groups at the White House and spoken before anti-gay hate groups (something no previous President has done). He supports allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people, and made it legal for federal contractors to discriminate. In March, People For the American Way (PFAW) has filed suit against the Trump administration to demand the release of documents over its numerous anti-LGBTQ policies and actions.
He made Bethany Kozma, an anti-LGBT activist who fought to restrict bathroom access for trans children, head of the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development. This does continue his trend towards finding the least qualified person for every position.
He nominated, then when his nomination failed, renominated Sam Brownback, the governor of Kansas, to be the nation’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom. It took a vote from Mike Pence to break a tie to get the unpopular and extremely inappropriate nominee through. Brownback opposes both same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions. He opposes adding sexual orientation and gender identity to federal laws that address hate crime. He supported “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As governor, he rescinded protections for LGBTQ people. He is fully on board with using religious freedom to discriminate against others.
As we reported earlier, almost every single one of his appointments is an anti-gay extremist, and many of them are actively creating anti-gay policies both big and small. For example, the DOJ scrubbed references to ‘L.G.B.T.Q. youth’ from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking. His new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is notoriously anti-gay, which will impact our International relations as he undoubtedly will push anti-gay policies.
Trump has been even worse on trans rights. He continues to push to have them banned from the military, for no particular reason. He announced a plan to roll back a rule issued by President Barack Obama that prevents doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people. His DOJ reversed anti-discrimination guidelines for trans people. His Department of Education reversed protections for trans school children. Here is a list of 29 anti-transgender actions done by the Trump administration.
With Trump’s full support, Republicans in Congress have recently reintroduced the horrifying First Amendment Defense Act. It gives anyone who claims two specific religious beliefs to legally discriminate against anyone who violates their religious beliefs. Fuck me! Or better yet, don’t fuck me, because if we aren’t married, under FADA, Christians and others would have the legal right to discriminate against me and her. Yes, this even goes after heterosexual sex, making any unmarried sex a legal excuse for discrimination. Of course, the primary goal is to discriminate against gay people, and you can do that to them even if they are legally married. What forms of discrimination will be allowed? The ACLU has a list.
We have moved forward as a country on gay rights. Trump and his blindly following Republicans are working hard to take us backwards, enshrining hate and discrimination into our laws, and filling our courts with anti-gay extremists. So much for being the greatest President for gays ever. The only person more anti-gay in his administration is Vice-President Mike Pence.