Opinion: Why the L.A. Pride Parade Should Become a March for Human Rights


When any American loses their rights, we all do.

We are LGBTQ+. We are people of color. We are people of different faiths. We are people of all genders and no gender. We are immigrants. We are dreamers. We people with disabilities. We are parents. We are allies. And we are beautiful intersections of these. But most of all, we are American. Yet our rights are in jeopardy. Forces are gathering in government that intend to take away our hard-won basic human rights.

On Jan. 26, I discovered that Washington, D.C., was going to host an LGBTQ+ march. I quickly checked my schedule to see if I’d be available only to discover that LA Pride was on the same day. Impulsively, I posted on my Facebook page that the LA Pride Parade should become a march in 2017. Parades with floats and bands and dancers are to celebrate progress but we are at risk of losing many of our hard earned rights. I did not expect my post to go viral with over 30,000 messages of support!

cause force, #resist
Brian Pendleton

I felt like the LA Pride movement has been adrift. Inclusivity has been questioned, and splintering had begun to strain our proud institution. Black Pride, Bi Pride, Venice Pride, DTLA Pride and others give critical voice to a diverse perspective and also bring to focus a failure to evolve and to be inclusive. Our goal at #ResistMarch is to bring everyone together so we can share this experience. It’s free. It’s colorful and color blind. It not only celebrates unique groups but attempts to give home to the intersectionality of us all. We are no longer just white cis gender gay dudes. We are lesbian veteran people of color, we are bisexual immigrants with disabilities, we are trans Muslim mothers. We simply are what we are and we must be given a voice.

After the post went viral I knew we were on to something. We immediately formed an organizing committee. Awe inspiring individuals jumped on board to lend their support and more are joining every week. People of color, trans, bi, gay, straight, millennial, dreamers, immigrant, professional, famous and academics. I also set out to speak with as many stakeholders as I could to get early input and buy in. I especially want to reach out to those that have been detractors of pride in the past. It isn’t easy. People are opinionated! In fact, I am sure people will read this and say to themselves “Hey! He has not reached out to me yet.” Please know we want to reach out to you. Contact me and I will happily take you to coffee, ask for your input and guidance and know that we will be better for it! Imagine if for one brief day we could set aside our differences and take to the streets together, reconciled, dignified, and unified! Could it be the beginning of a beautiful bridge to the future?

During all of this, Christopher Street West asked me to join their board. I was conflicted about joining forces with them at first. I felt we could get a lot more done as a grassroots outsider. However, after getting to know Chris Classen, Craig Bowers and the rest of the board I found them to be passionate people that care about the community. I am now a proud board member of CSW and we hope that #ResistMarch will inspire you to find a home at LA Pride.

Our humble request to anyone reading this is to reclaim your pride by joining us on June 11th as we march from Hollywood, where LA Pride was born in 1970 to West Hollywood, where LA Pride grew up. Instead of a Pride Parade meant to celebrate our past progress, we must all march to ensure our futures. Imagine fifty thousand, or one hundred fifty thousand marching in the streets as a living breathing human monument that shouts to all that will hear, “We will not relinquish our basic equal human rights!” We march in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity. Not just LGBTQ+ people but every American and every dreamer will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized voice.

We #RESIST forces that would divide us.
We #RESIST those who would take our liberty.
We #RESIST homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism.
Together we #RESIST

Brian Pendleton founder of #ResistMarch, is a Los Angeles-based philanthropist, activist and entrepreneur. As founder of CauseForce, Pendleton used his personal experience, entrepreneurial vision and motivating style to lead a workforce of over 150 employees deploying programs that raised over $800 million for life-saving research and care for premier institutes around the world. In 2013, he sold his company and now volunteers his time mentoring, supporting and advising individuals and organizations. He currently is on the Los Angeles City Police and Fire Pension Board and has served on the board of the Human Rights Campaign and as chair of the board of the Trevor Project.

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David Fanarof
David Fanarof
5 years ago

I appreciate the sentiment, but one doesn’t have to REPLACE the other.

Grant Smith
5 years ago

I think it should be two separate events, I’m all for that. If you think that just because someone is gay that they are anti-Trump, you’d be mistaken. Loud and proud twice this year would be great. I say second event 🙂 Let people choose their battles. Stronger that way, twice as many voices.

Nir Zilberman
Nir Zilberman
5 years ago
Reply to  Grant Smith

I’m not anti Trump and a very proud gay man, so thank you Grant for your comment.

Brian Pendleton
Brian Pendleton
5 years ago

Hey Greg – I hear you! Not everyone will agree with this one year shift. But I’d love to take you to coffee and walk you through it. Perhaps we can share ideas to make it even stronger. Either way, thank you for caring enough about our community to post about it. We are in for some tough times and sticking together will be key!

Ed Trafidlo
5 years ago

I’m in …… this is a no brainer …..

SE
SE
5 years ago

@Greg – It sounds like you might be misinterpreting what seems like the intent here. This IS a celebration of diversity and a protest AGAINST discrimination. Staying away plays into the current administration’s desire to SPLIT all the different minority groups in this country. We must be ONE with all other oppressed groups or else we all risk losing our rights. I hope you will reconsider.

Gabe
Gabe
5 years ago

I’d have to say hopefully you can put CSW back on track as they have lost most respect with the actual West Hollywood community…. Although it dose seem well calculated to approach you to piggyback on a good cause. Considering the backlash over the years and they have a tainted reputation and for good reason . Hopefully you can influence them in the right direction …. CSW direction has been far lost in corruption, termoil and lost in the profit over cause stance. And I’d have to say they DTLA Pride was the first time in the 6 years I… Read more »

Greg
Greg
5 years ago

You want to turn the pride parade into a protest march? A very narrow minded approach to celebrating our diversity. In feels like you are advocating to take away one of our happiest days of the year that reflects the good in the community and shine a light on the bad. Count me out an do not take away my pride !

Alan U
Alan U
5 years ago

I’m a white, cis-gender, gay man, and I am so happy to support this endeavor in any way & in every way possible. I has been inspiring to see so many diverse constituencies of America come together to support each other in these turbulent times. We have seen Jews in Texas offer their Temple as a place to worship for Muslims whose Mosque was burned. We have seen Muslims raise funds for a Jewish cemetery that was desecrated. We saw thousands of men join in support of their Moms, sisters, & daughters at the Women’s March. And we saw Americans… Read more »

Steve
Steve
5 years ago

YES!

Doug
Doug
5 years ago

When the Orlando shootings occurred on the morning of Pride 2016, and participants spontaniously drew inspiration including hand-painted signs leading the way, the traditional parade became a march. I agree, let’s bring this full-circle by marching in the streets once again confirming our place. Our community touches every community — a full-fledged cross-section of America celebrating diversity.

Peter Cruz
Peter Cruz
5 years ago

Brian,

Yes, I plan to march on June 11th. My colleague, Jaden Fields, will also be attending future planning meetings. I hope to meet you someday as well. You came up with a great idea and I respect and honor you for it. Thank you! 😃

Alison
Alison
5 years ago

As a straight disabled woman, I like this idea! We are one!

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