Sections

Gun Violence A Key Issue in Sunday's Pride March

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Gays Against Guns march behind a banner created by Gilbert Baker, designer of the Rainbow Flag. | DONNA ACETO
Gays Against Guns march behind a banner created by Gilbert Baker, designer of the Rainbow Flag. | DONNA ACETO

The killings of 49 LGBT people in an Orlando, Florida nightclub were a pronounced presence in New York City’s Pride Parade as a newly formed group of nearly 1,000 marched down Fifth Avenue to chants of “Trans, straight, bi, gay, gagging on the NRA” and “Fuck the NRA.”

“The energy was terrific, we’re just getting started,” said Cathy Marino-Thomas, who was among the organizers who wrangled the group, Gays Against Guns, down the avenue behind a banner bearing the group’s name. The banner was designed by Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag.

The group, the GAG in some of its chants, signs, and T-shirts, was formed by Kevin Hertzog and Brian Worth following the June 12 killings. The gunman struck on Latinx night at the club, and the dead and wounded were overwhelmingly Latinx and African-American.

Behind a second banner, anti-gun activists fold into a die-in. | DONNA ACETO
Behind a second banner, anti-gun activists fold into a die-in. | DONNA ACETO

Hertzog and Worth organized the contingent in two town hall meetings held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. They were assisted by clothing designer Mari Gustafson, who held a silk screen party at an East Village bar the day before the June 26 march and produced T-shirts reading “NRA: Prepare to be gagged,” “Gays Against Guns,” and “Your tolerance is killing us.” A second group immediately in back of the first part of the contingent marched behind a banner, also designed by Baker, that read “Republican Hate Kills.”

2016 Pride March- Gays Against Guns
Anti-gun marchers stage a die-in. | DONNA ACETO

The group chanted loudly as it marched, and the crowds on Fifth Avenue frequently joined the “Fuck the NRA” chant as GAG marched. At multiple points along the avenue, members staged die-ins and chanted “How many more have to die?” as they fell to the asphalt.

Performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson organized 49 people who were dressed entirely in white and veiled and carried posters bearing the pictures, names, and ages of the 49 people killed. Those 49 people marched silently and did not participate in the chants and die-ins so they formed a sorrowful, almost ghostly presence that was powerful and respectful of those who died and contrasted with the political message of the first two groups.

A group of 49 people organized by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson bore silent witness to those killed in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. | DONNA ACETO
A group of 49 people organized by performance artist Tigger-James Ferguson bore silent witness to those killed in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. | DONNA ACETO

Gaasy

Several hundred groups marched in this year’s parade and hundreds of thousands lined the streets along the parade route. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, marched as did Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

GAG was able to enter the parade past the deadline for registering because Corey Johnson, the out gay city councilmember who represents Chelsea, invited them into his spot in the parade. Heritage of Pride, which produces the annual march and other events that commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots that mark the start of the modern LGBT rights movement, agreed to the change after some initial resistance.

The day, however, was not without dissent. Three libertarian groups and a chapter of the Pink Pistols, a pro-gun LGBT group, held a press conference late in the day and challenged the prevailing sentiment that was seen in the march.

Thomas Simmons, a member of Outright Libertarians, spoke out in favor of gun rights in Times Square on the afternoon of the Pride March. | DUNCAN OSBORNE
Thomas Simmons, a member of Outright Libertarians, spoke out in favor of gun rights in Times Square on the afternoon of the Pride March. | DUNCAN OSBORNE

“I have a license to carry in the state of Massachusetts because as a gay man I know I am statistically more likely than almost any other demographic in the United States to be assaulted,” said Thomas Simmons, a Massachusetts resident who traveled to New York City. “I want the right to protect myself.”

Simmons, a member of Outright Libertarians, was joined by Steve Scheetz, a member of People Against the Initiation of Violence and a Libertarian Party candidate for Congress from Pennsylvania. A member of Pink Pistols was supposed be on hand to speak but could not leave work and, similarly, a member of the group Muslims for Liberty who was supposed to speak was stuck in traffic.

Gun rights critics sported T-shirts silk-screened under the supervision of clothing designer Mari Gustafson. | DONNA ACETO
Gun rights critics sported T-shirts silk-screened under the supervision of clothing designer Mari Gustafson. | DONNA ACETO

Simmons’ broader point was that the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, is to be interpreted broadly to maximize the freedoms that document affords to the people. Limits on those rights, he said, effectively eliminate them. He also argued that it was common for federal, state, and local governments to overreact to events such as the June 12 attack.

“Every time there’s a crisis in this country, there’s an assault on the Bill of Rights,” he said.

Scheetz said that self-defense was both legally and morally right and that if people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando had been armed, the outcome on June 12 might have been different.

“Pink Pistols, they’re people who believe in self-defense,” Scheetz said. “I believe in self-defense, every person has a right to self-defense. Whatever tool you use for self-defense is fine by me… If people were there and able to protect themselves, then people with guns, people who want to commit murder are not going to go to a place where they know people are armed.”

Updated 3:15 pm, June 11, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reader feedback

Bob says:
Paul, it was a refreshing article thanks to the presentation of differing viewpoints on such a crucial issue as gun rights vs gun control. I'm a democrat and of the mind that no greater right exists than the right to defend yourself or your family, which has nothing to do with murderers (as we've seen with the recent incidents in France and Germany where trucks and bats were used). The truth is, if someone has the courage to actually look at the facts it become crystal clear that the control agenda is based on something other than curbing violence, because making guns illegal for you and I does nothing to prevent criminals from getting them. You and I don't use or posses drugs because we're not risking prison time. Criminals on every street corner, however, use and sell drugs daily. It will be the same if progressives achieve their goal, they'll all but ensure that only the worst among us has a firearm. It's ironic that these people march with signs that read "Republican Hate Kills" when it's really the progressives who have and want to continue to let any and everybody cross our border, even those proven to be inclined to kill us, and in the case of ISIS intent on killing gays. You can't have it both ways, but these people seem bent on just that... disarming themselves AND allowing those who want to kill them have free access to this country. How much sense does that make? Islam wants to kill or imprison gays (see the Washington Post article "Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death") yet the gay community for the most part, in order to be among the "cool" crowd, keeps supporting the progressive ideals that will end up killing more and more of them, and they still blame the republicans who would protect them more. It defies logic. It's not as if gays are banned from the republican party or the NRA, in fact I've seen a lot of gays speaking out specifically for those groups. For me it's 100% about my right to not be beaten to death or shot, or to have to sit and watch as someone I love is killed. It's the first law of nature according to most philosophers. Sitting on the curb and chanting with a sign won't stop the next Islamic terrorist who wants to kill gay Americans, but my .45 will. We may never see eye to eye on this issue (readers), but as an American I'll take the high road and support your right to freedom and to express yourself, because it's important to you. Even if you're willing to trample on the Bill of Rights and stomp on a right that's important to me. You see, you can't stand there and claim people are being less-than American for not supporting the LGBT community and protecting LGBT rights, then be actively part of stepping on the Constitutional rights of others, even if your cool leaders say to do it.
July 22, 2016, 12:34 pm
Pokemon Download says:
cool
Aug. 29, 2016, 12:04 pm
MRS says:
As much as I am in favor of gun rights, it goes to show what we are as a country. We are willing to fight for what we belive in and we should appreciate that we have the FREEDOM to do such.
Sept. 12, 2016, 1:47 am
android multi tool says:
one nice post thanks
Oct. 13, 2016, 1:50 pm
DriverPack says:
Very good post...
Nov. 16, 2016, 9:01 am
InfinixMobilePCsuite says:
well post.keep it up.thanks for sharing information admin here.
Nov. 17, 2016, 10:05 am
Fort says:
Post more! Seriously, I am really digging what you have written so far. I've scanning your blog right now for more things to read.
Nov. 17, 2016, 9:31 pm
apk file says:
Hi, I’m Kristen
Dec. 8, 2016, 4:44 am
jenny says:
You can really check this for sims freeplay online.
Dec. 12, 2016, 1 pm
Carl Edwards says:
Yet another post I'm going share with my buddies on facebook. Thanks!
Jan. 19, 2017, 12:59 am
Pokémon Duel says:
Thumbs up for these people for protecting their rights
Jan. 26, 2017, 1:11 am
Driver Pack says:
Well appreciated posting buddy thanks for sharing,
April 7, 2017, 1:05 am
fdsfds says:
dsfsdf
April 17, 2017, 3:26 am
Android multi says:
thanks for sharing.
Aug. 9, 2017, 3:09 am
Android multi Tools says:
wonderful post keep it up.
Aug. 9, 2017, 3:10 am
Android Multi Tool says:
Amazing post admin thanks for sharing such a wonderful post
Sept. 17, 2017, 5:15 pm

Comments closed.

Classifieds

Schneps Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: