The Capitol Pride Parade on June 7, 2014 was the least corporate Pride parade I have seen in many years.In addition, the so-called “Human Rights Campaign” was held accountable for throwing non-assimilationists and especially trans folks under the bus by activists who threw nasty dead fish at them. Also on the scene was the infamously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church. I saw them chased out of one position after several parade floats opened fire with Super Soaker water squirters on them.
Confronting Westboro Baptist
Wells Fargo’s “stealth” float with greatly reduced markings
Update 6-10: Commentors on the Liveleak posting of the video suggested the religious nuts retreating from the Super Soakers were a second group of fundamentalists, with only those across the street being Westboro. On the other hand, I was told at the scene that all of the counterprotesters were from Westboro Baptist.
Westboro retreated from one position after first getting into a noisy argument with many parade spectators, then being blasted with water sprayed from several parade floats. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of their homophobic signs covered with water beads after having been used as a shield. They initially retreated without incident, only to run into a booing crowd as they rounded a corner where more Westboro Baptist sign holders were holding signs but not inciting and taunting the crowd over bullhorns.
Westboro was not the only sour note, there were still parade floats from inappropriate corporations like TD Bank, also known as “Tar Dollar Bank” for their investments in the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Citibank was back, even though their contingent was blocked last year by the Booty Buccaneers.
Worst of all was Wells Fargo, who contrary to my initial report did in fact had the nerve to return even after being the primary target of the Booty Bucanners in 2013 and disrupted during the Festival in 2012. The Wells Fargo float was near the end of the parade and was very toned-down from last year, with generic “Pride” lettering and a much smaller Wells Fargo logo so they would not attract unwanted attention from those who object to Wells Fargo’s investments in the GEO Group. Geo Group owns a chain of private prisons in which transgender folks face atrocious treatment, yet they are allowed to march in Pride. At least they seriously toned down their name and stagecoach imagery, to the point where I did not recognize their float until going over my video footage the next day.
Also present was a Washington Nationals contingent-even though an entire Gay neighborhood was bulldozed to make way for the Washington Nationals stadium. No way should they now be able to turn around and march in Pride! Still, the worst corporate floats were near the end of the parade and far fewer in number it seemed than in previous years.
At the Festival on the 8th of June, I was unable to find Wells Fargo’s booth at all, so they may have withdrawn from the Festival or just hidden in a very inconspicuous booth and location. Perhaps the message of the 2013 Booty Bucanners is sinking in after all.