The leader of this year’s Pride festival in the US city of New Orleans has said this year’s celebration will remain “apolitical”, amid mounting controversy across the US over the involvement of politics in summer pride marches.
Darryl Martin, captain of this year’s festival in New Orleans, Louisiana, said he aims for the festival to be an apolitical celebration of LGBT identity, rather than a political event.
The theme of the 2017 parade is ‘Unite”, and the slogan is ‘We have won when we are one’.
“We are certainly not a protest parade,” Martin told The Times-Picayune, “that’s not us at all.”
“We strive for inclusivity … and have no interest in adding to any division that is already way too prevalent in our society.”
The issue of politics in Pride has proved divisive in recent months, with some LGBT Republicans complaining that the events have taken an anti-Republican turn since the election of Donald Trump as US President last year.
A Pride march scheduled for next week is Los Angeles, for example, has been rebranded as the ‘Resist March’, and will now be organised in support of civil rights.
Matthew Craffey, leader of the Los Angeles chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans – a gay Republican group – said he was disappointed with the change.
“I feel this is the one weekend a year we really can put the politics aside,” Craffey told NPR.
“There’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be anti-Republican. Resist marches across the country have a pretty focused target and that is the Trump administration.”
The head of a local branch of ‘Gays for Trump’ – a group that attempts to win LGBT support for Donald Trump – made headlines last week when he complained that he had been excluded from a Pride march in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brian Talbert said that his application to have a float in the parade was rejected.
“For a group of people to claim to want tolerance, acceptance … for them to sit back and judge me for exercising my right as an American to choose my leader without judgment is hypocritical,” he told Fox News.
Charlotte Pride insisted in response that it has the right to exclude any groups or individuals that “do not reflect the mission, vision and values of our organisation”.
The news came a week after Donald Trump ditched Barack Obama’s eight-year long tradition to host LGBT Pride celebrations in the White House during June.
New Orleans Pride, which drew almost 3,000 participants last year, is the highlight of the Pride Festival that takes place this weekend, and is the largest LGBT parade is Louisiana.