Thousands march across the US for LGBTQ pride – and against Donald Trump

'We are here to stand and be counted,' says one participant 

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The Independent US

This year’s Pride parades are more than just a symbol of support for the LGBT community: They are centres of opposition to President Donald Trump.

In Washington DC, hundreds marched in an inaugural “Equality March for Unity and Pride”. The march drew inspiration from the hugely popular Women’s March, organised in protest of Mr Trump’s inauguration.

Dozens of cities across the US planned sister equality marches for the same day.

"We are here to stand and be counted," Washington march participant Daniel Dunlop told the BBC. "There's a growing hostile rhetoric from the White House and we don't like the point of direction."

Across the country in Los Angeles, organisers turned their annual Pride parade into a “Resist March,” where participants carried signs reading “Make America Gay Again,” and “Gay, undocumented and unafraid”.

Thousands turned up to protest the President on the streets of Hollywood and West Hollywood. Marchers even covered the former reality star’s spot on the Hollywood walk of fame with Pride stickers.

“This year, the LGBTQ community is lending our iconic rainbow flag to anyone who feels like their rights are under threat and to anyone who feels like America’s strength is its diversity,” march organiser Brian Pendleton told The Los Angeles Times.

 

Many members of the LGBTQ community feel ignored by Mr Trump – who at one point in his campaign unfurled a rainbow flag and declared himself a “real friend” of the LGBTQ community.

The President did not acknowledge the start of Pride month this June, but did speak at a conservative Christian conference championing religious liberty.

"The fact that Trump did not even recognise Pride month is an omen of what's to come, and we need to mobilise now,” Mr Dunlop said.

Still, the new tenor of the Pride marches has not come without controversy. Some conservative members of LGBTQ community say they feel ostracised by the marches’ political bent. Still others claim they have been outright banned from participating.

At another Washington DC Pride march, meanwhile, counter-protesters turned up to insist the march was still not political enough.

Protestors at the Capitol Hill Pride Parade wanted a focus on social justice, police brutality and the corporate sponsorship of the event.

Capitol Hill Pride Parade organisers responded by asking for a “robust, civil, and healthy conversation” within the community.

“In these challenging times for LGBTQ+ people, Capital Pride will continue to focus on how we can all move forward as a community striving for equal treatment and respect for all,” they said.

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