Did you think you’d be organizing the event after that Facebook post?
It happened through some wonderful circumstances. I recently sold my company, so I’m unemployed and I have the time to make this happen. I have produced events as my professional career, so it just seemed like a natural moment, but more than that, I immediately had twenty people on an organizing committee. It’s a very diverse cross-section of our community. We had our first committee meeting within a week of that post. I was just in awe.
Why not have a #ResistMarch and a Pride parade?
I posted on my site that a parade felt frivolous this year and thirty-plus-thousand people said they agreed. I understand that some people want to see a parade, but wherever the LGBTQ community gathers, it will always be colorful. We always draw strength from each other. This is an LGBTQ mounted event. We care about our rights, and this year we are wrapping other people into our platform—dreamers, immigrants, people of color, people with diverse stakes—we’re bringing them into our big tent and we’re saying we care about your human rights too.
Reverend Troy Perry who created the MCC Church and co-founded LA Pride, said the pivot to march is exactly what we should be doing right now.
What’s it like having Troy Perry’s blessing?
It absolutely means a lot to me, because it’s his vision that we’ve been carrying forward for 47 years. It’s his mission that we’ve taken in our backs and are trying to move forward. It’s about making sure that we give a voice to those who are voiceless; giving a voice to those who have been ignored. Giving a voice to those who are not large enough to have a voice that matters and that’s what we’re doing.
What do you tell the people who don’t feel they can be colorful, or sparkly at a protest march?
Virtually every time I talk about it, I say it’s colorful. Everyone I talk to, I tell them, bring your true self. There are no rules as far as I’m concerned. All we can do is put a platform together. We can’t set up laws or regulations about what’s the appropriate way of dress or not appropriate. That’s not what we’re here for. I don’t agree with anyone who says we should do that. We want to be there together and say that we care about human rights and whatever that looks like to you as an individual, or your group, do it, do it, do it.
We sort of had eight amazing years with the wind in our sails. We’ve been fighting for our lives meaningfully for 50 years in Los Angeles, since the Black Cat. The last eight years have been an incredible gift for us, right? When that happens, people sort of lose a focus on what should we aiming for. Right now, I think we have a moment in 2017 to re-focus on human rights. No one knows how to do it better than the LGBTQ community—especially with what we’ve been doing for the last 8 years, and that’s why it’s so important that we reach behind us, reach below us, and reach next to us and grab the people who need us most. The trans community—their rights have been reverted back to the states. Now we have southern governors that are deciding what’s going on with trans. We have rules that are going to be passed in Tennessee called Natural Marriage Rules. We have a South Dakota Law that says gays can no longer adopt. We must get together and tell the world and tell Los Angeles that that’s not OK. If you want to do that shirtless with cutoff shorts and hi-tops—I’m dating myself—do it! Be out there and be loud and be proud. That’s the genesis of LA Pride. LA Pride started in 1970 for this reason. Reverend Troy Perry who created the MCC Church and co-founded LA Pride said the pivot to march is exactly what we should be doing right now.
How did the women’s march inspire you?
The women knew what they were doing? I’m so impressed with what they did and was so inspired by the women’s march where everyone came together and said we have an eye on you elected officials, so be careful. One of the reasons why the ACA was not repealed and the Trump Care was not adopted, was because of what the women started and what the indivisible groups did by going out and talking to government. It just takes us being active.