White House

LGBT rights marchers take to streets to express pride, anger at White House

Tens of thousands of LGBT rights supporters marched across the U.S. on Sunday, celebrating gains but expressing anger over threats they say are posed by the Trump administration.

Activists have been embittered by the White House’s rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponds to their gender identities.

They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The centerpiece of the pride marches were held in Washington. Throngs of marchers paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.

"We're here, we're queer, get that Cheeto out of here," was among the chants directed at Trump.

Also marching, and singing freedom songs and patriotic songs along the way, were scores of members of gay choruses from various cities.

"It's an opportunity to tell everyone we're still here, and we're not going away at all," said Gregory Elfers of Teaneck, New Jersey, who was with a contingent from the New York City Gay Men's Chorus.

"We have to be heard — we have to be sure we're not trampled on," said L. Owen Taggart of Washington's Gay Men's Chorus.

Meanwhile, what was once known as the Los Angeles Pride Parade was replaced with the ResistMarch. Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi were among the speakers.

Waters led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45,” while marchers carried rainbow flags or signs reading “Love Trumps Hate.”

"We're going to take our country back from him," she said. "I know that you have the strength. I know that you have the courage. And I know that each of you understand you have the power."

Brian Pendleton, who organized the event, told the Los Angeles Times the political climate in the U.S. drove everyone to unite. He added that people felt the need to make some statement against “regressive policies.”

“This year, the LGBTQ community is lending our iconic rainbow flag to anyone who feels like their rights are under threat and to anyone who feels like America’s strength is its diversity,” Pendleton said.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLADD, attended the D.C. march and noted that Trump broke from the practice of Barack Obama declining to issue a proclamation in honor of Pride Month. She added that the Trump administration has deleted questions about sexual orientation from planned federal surveys.

"If you look at their prioritization, we're really low on it," she said. "There absolutely is a resistance aspect to this march."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.