Why did you decide not to make this an Anti-Trump protest?
I think anyone can get behind human rights. Now is not the time to further divide ourselves and find more reasons why we are different than alike. It’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans, to Log Cabin and inviting Republican lawmakers, because maybe they care about fiscal tax issues or trade plans, but they have LGBTQ sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and parents and they know us and I’m sure they don’t want to see our rights roll back. I believe that we can all come together and say that human rights matter to us today.
Do you anticipate violent clashes with pro-trump demonstrators?
We insist that nothing happens like that. We’re working with public safety to ensure that it’s a peaceful march. The messaging that is most important to us is that this is peaceful. We want people to come out in a colorful way, and not in a way that disrupts private citizens. We are not interested in people damaging property. That is not OK. We respect everybody, including people with opposite opinions. We encourage them to march with us. We care about human rights and if you care about human rights, but in a different way, join us. This is unity. This is not anti-anybody.
Have you had anyone lead you to believe there might be problems?
I think the parade always has a contingency of people that aren’t for that activity and the West Hollywood Sheriffs Department are incredible at dealing with that in a way that honors their first amendment rights, which is important to me. We anticipate that will continue to be the case. I want to emphasize that it’s important that even though people want to put that message out there because it creates controversy, this is not an anti-Trump march. It’s not anti-Republican. I have Republican friends. This is a blue march or a red march, it’s a red white and blue march. We know that we will always disagree on certain fundamental items, but we also know that we’re humans and we care about having a happy, safe place to live. We shop next to each other at Pavillions and we go to the same movie theater. We want to create a level of discourse that honors our humanity.
What’s it like being a board member at CSW?
I’m a proud member of CSW. I’m focusing on the march and making sure that the march makes L.A. and America proud. I want to make sure our participants are proud, that it is safe and peaceful. I have found that the leadership of CSW has been incredibly supportive. They have their own logistical problems with the space being smaller this year. I’m hoping the march will help maybe reset people’s opinions about what LA pride can be for L.A.
What do you say to people who criticize LA Pride for being too commercial?
There’s an economics conversation that needs to happen. My dream for LA Pride is to get the community comfortable enough with corporate participation so that it’s free. We have to re-align people’s thinking about how corporations can be good partners, because in some amazing cases, they stand up for us.
Do you anticipate 500,000 people at the march?
That’s what other people are saying. I think it can be hundreds of thousands of people if we do it right. I think the Women’s March were expecting 75,000. We can learn from them. We want to move. We want everyone to join us at Hollywood and Highland. Let’s do something that they were not able to do, which is move. Can you imagine the vision of 100, 200, 300 thousand people marching through the streets of Los Angeles for human rights? It will be the largest march in LA history, brought to you by the LGBT community, which I’d be incredibly proud of.
Do you see yourself involved next year?
I’m on the board, so yeah. I don’t know what that looks like. I’m a humble member at CSW and I’m happy to look and see what the leadership wants to do next year.
Do you think this march will impact how we celebrate pride next year?
I hope it changes what we stand for and continue to have a meaningful expression of progress. We can focus on progress, or have a meaningful march for our rights if we continue to be under siege from lawmakers. If the people want it to look exactly like it looked last year, the people will get that. LA Pride is an organization to serve the community. Working with the community and I mean diverse with a capital D. getting all of the people together to decide what it should look like next year.
Portions of this Brian Pendleton interview first appeared the West Hollywood City of Commerce Works Magazine
To learn more about Brian Pendleton, or to volunteer at the #ResistMarch, visit resistmarch.org.