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LGBTQ+ Pride Events Will Focus on Racial Injustice and Police Violence in the US

By Oscar Lopez

MEXICO CITY, June 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Organizers of LGBTQ+ Pride events in major US cities are shifting their focus to racism and police violence, they said this week, addressing the concerns and demands raised by protesters over the killing of a Black man in police custody.

Los Angeles Pride will hold a "solidarity protest march in response to racial injustice," and Capital Pride in Washington said its virtual event would be part of efforts to help "end inequity, injustice, and violence against people of color."

Typically, Pride events are held nationwide throughout the month of June, but this year most were canceled or moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The producers of LA Pride announced an in-person protest march on June 14 to stand "in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism," said Estevan Montemayor, the head of producers Christopher Street West.

The killing of 46-year-old George Floyd, a Black man, by police in Minneapolis on May 25 has set off widespread protests over police brutality and racism.

Rather than celebrating the origins and accomplishments of the gay rights movement, advocates are proposing that events move to their more radical roots that fought for LGBTQ+ rights and highlight the struggles of Black Americans.

"Pride started as a protest against generations of police harassment and brutality," Alphonso David, the president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, said in emailed comments.

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"It is only fitting that this year's Pride events echo the first Pride march and the protests ... which were largely led by transgender people of color," David told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Organizers of New York City Pride said the main Pride event, scheduled as a television broadcast for June 28, would not change significantly but would place greater emphasis on issues of racial inequality.

"It's more important than ever that those in our community who are also part of communities of color have their voices lifted up," said Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the National LGBTQ Task Force.

"This is already part of the emphasis, and now it's just going to be amplified."

(Reporting by Oscar Lopez @oscarlopezgib; editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)