“Since the day President Trump took office, his administration has waged a nonstop onslaught against the rights of LGBTQ people,” detailed the National Center for Transgender Equality earlier this year. Given that ongoing malaise, along with the Catholic Church’s latest edict on how transgender people should live their lives, and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots all made for especially meaningful Pride marches and events all over the world over the weekend. MinnPost took in the Minneapolis edition, the 2019 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride parade, in photos and interviews:
Because of road construction on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, the route of the 2019 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride parade traveled along Third Street, Second Avenue and Grant Street to Loring Park Sunday afternoon.
Dave and Hildie Edwards, Minneapolis. “My oldest daughter Hildie is 8 and trans,” said Dave. “Hildie transitioned in kindergarten, and we had a really tough experience with her school, Nova Classical Academy. It was a battle for our family to get the support she needed in public school, so we ended up settling a human rights charge against her school for $120,000. Hildie has been in a great St. Paul public school with an amazing gender inclusion policy, and the last two years have been awesome.”
Stephanie and Carla Peck, Burnsville. “My church is Mayflower United Church of Christ in south Minneapolis,” said Stephanie. “I want the Pope to see this. I want the Pope to see I have an affirming church. I am a trans person, so it’s important that we show that we’re supported and loved. I’m here with my wife of 40 years; she’s been through this thick and thin with me, tough journey, but we’re better together now than we’ve ever been in our whole lives.”
Joe Strauss, Wheaton, Illinois, and Bill Baldus, Minneapolis. “We’re brother-in-laws,” said Strauss. “We’ve marched in the gay pride parade in Chicago, and this is my first time marching in Minneapolis. My son is a gay son; he’s a radiologist in Chicago. I don’t think anybody would wish their son is gay, because there’s a lot of challenges going through that, but once he kind of came out, we just showed him love. I have two boys. One is straight and one is gay, and we love ’em both the same.”
Monica Meyer, executive director, Outfront Minnesota, the oldest LGBTQ rights organization in Minnesota: “What I think about Pride always is we all remember our first Pride. You feel so isolated and you feel like something’s wrong with you, and then you come to a place where people see you and they affirm you and they celebrate about love. It’s always affirming. It’s an event that always moves me. We talk about it at Outfront, and we also talk about the seeds of the resistance: It started with looking at the injustices that LBGTQ people face, but particularly trans women of color, and saying, ‘No more.’ And resisting with grace, and glitter, and love, but resisting. I think that’s where we’re at now, with an administration that is attacking trans people in as many ways as they can, and who is really doing damage to some of the progress we’ve made around LGBTQ equity. So I feel like it’s a good spirit of celebration and having fun, but also about resistance and fighting for justice.”
Ellie Dawson-Moore (center, bright green outfit). “It’s Stonewall’s 50th anniversary and these people are basically the people who paved the way for us, people we looked up to as queer icons as a community.”
Parker Janssen, Champlin. “This is my first Pride, so I’m very excited to be here. I identify as queer in both sexuality and gender. I picked Harvey Milk today because he was the first gay congressman, in San Francisco, and what he did is really inspiring. He was one of the first people I ever saw as a LGBTQ historical figure, and just knowing that there were people before this generation, before it became a quote-unquote trend is really great to see. With Stonewall, there were police raids on gay clubs and now today out here for the parade, to be here with all these people and feel so safe, it’s really amazing to see.”
Davis Senseman (center, green hat). “Every community of struggle is intertwined. If the queer community is oppressed, then everybody is oppressed. They come to divide us. The right wing comes to divide us. What Ilhan [Omar] is really good about is that even though she has many marginalized identities, she’s great at not only standing up for her identity, but for standing up for everyone who has a marginalized identity. She gets that — that none of us are free until all of us are free.”
A truck festooned with banners reading “Muslims For Pride,” “Some Muslims Are Gay, Get Over It” and “Love Embraces ALL” led a group of marchers/dancers who held the Iranian flag and signs proclaiming, “No War in Iran,” “Stop Iranian Sanctions,” “Trans Women of Color Started Pride,” and “Muslims Make America Great!”
“It’s important to support our brothers and sisters,” said Leila Ali of her “Muslims Make America Great!” sign. “A lot of Muslims are gay, and we are supporting them, and we want the world to know that we are at peace with everybody and that we love everybody.”
Members of the Minnesota Lynx — including WNBA/Olympic champion and former Pride parade grand marshal Seimone Augustus — waved to the crowd.
Danny Givens, Jr. (center, in Black Lives Matter shirt): “We’re here representing MUUSJA (Minnesota Universal Unitarian Social Justice Alliance), an organization designed to help faith-based organizations and churches to become more aligned with their mission of values around social justice, and lending our voice, our body, our institution, our social capital to any area of injustice that exists in the land. We have to stay in direct relationship with the marginalization and the oppression that exists within the Pride community. More specifically, MUUSJA has been very instrumental in the marriage equality work, and we’ve been doing some great things, and many of our ministers and lay leaders identify as LGBTQ, so we’re a very inclusive denomination as well.”
Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley (center, red T-shirt): “We have to understand that there are people who lost their lives. There are people who fought against the machine to have the same rights as everyone else, and it doesn’t matter who you love, or how you identify. I’m here because I have been called an ally; I don’t believe we should be calling ourselves allies unless we show up for the work, so I’m here in support.”
Sarah Black, Excelsior United Methodist Church (center, in purple Inclusive Methodists shirt). “All in, baby. Everyone’s in. I want everyone to know that God loves everyone, and if you want to be in church, you can be there. We have a reconciling congregation, which means we have a mission statement that says, ‘Anyone who wants to be there, we want you to be there, and we’re sorry for any past ill will you felt from the church.’”
Because of road construction in downtown Minneapolis, the route of the 2019 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride parade traveled along Third Street, Second Avenue and Grant Street to Loring Park Sunday afternoon.
Left-to-right: Marianne Graham, Kathleen Olsen, Cheryl Maloney. “This is my car. I’ve been with the Sisters Of Carondelet community as consociate for over 30 years,” said Maloney. “We’re consociates. We’re lay members of the Sisters Of Carondelet community,” said Graham. “We identify with the careism of the sisters; the love of God and neighbor without distinction. Jesus was always challenging the status quo. Some say Jesus wouldn’t be a Christian nowadays.” “Jesus was always with the neighbors that do not feel like they’re going to be enveloped by the primary dominant culture,” said Olsen. “There’s not a word about homosexuality in the Bible. Nothing. Silence. He loved without distinction.”
Until next year …