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Capital Pride Parade brings thousands to DC, including demonstrators

For some who attended Saturday's Capital Pride Parade, politics was very much on the mind, including a group of protesters. (WTOP/John Domen)

WASHINGTON — The annual Capital Pride Parade brought tens of thousands of people along the mile and a half long parade route that stretched from west of Dupont Circle and ended at 14th and R Streets Northwest.

“There is a lot of people in a lot of places who cannot do something like this,” said Henrique Barbosa of D.C. “They cannot go out in the street without being afraid of suffering violence. So it’s important for whoever can do this to go out and do it, to show that people like us have value and should not suffer violence anywhere.”

For some of those in attendance, politics was very much on the mind, including a group of protesters. By the time the parade started, the sidewalks along P Street approaching Dupont Circle were packed with people.

“We don’t do crowd estimates, but it’s not unusual to get 50,000 people for an event like this,” said Police Chief Peter Newsham.

Christine Devito was here for the first time in her life, and she got to march in the parade after her company sponsored a float.

“I get to be here, I get to be who I am, and I get to be with my job,” she said. “To combine all of those things is fantastic.

But there was a group of demonstrators that protested just that — the corporate sponsors — and eventually rerouted the planned Capital Pride Parade route. 

Members of No Justice, No Pride group protested Capital Pride and their “deeply problematic corporate sponsors,” which include the FBI, NSA, FBI, NSA, CIA, Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a Jen Deerinwater, a participant with No Justice No Pride.

“Capital Pride’s Board members claim that the Dakota Access Pipeline and America’s neglect and abuse of Native people aren’t issues that impact the LGBTQ2S community. But I am a member of both the Queer and Native communities,” said Deerinwater. “Do the lives of LGBTQ2S Natives not matter? These institutions have wreaked havoc on Indigenous communities through pollution and theft of our sacred lands and the criminalization of our very beings.”

The “2S” in LGBTQ2S stands for “two-spirit,” an identity used by some indigenous people who have masculine and feminine “spirits.” 

WTOP’s Jennifer Ortiz contributed to this report.