At Pride march in Paris, activists demand racial justice too

PARIS (AP) — While the French capital's official Pride event was delayed until November to prevent spread of the coronavirus, grassroots groups plan a march through Paris anyway Saturday — led by people of color.

The virus has forced cities around the world to cancel, postpone or adapt Pride parades this year, frustrating activists who want to collectively mark the 50th anniversary of a global movement for LGBTQ rights unleashed by the first Pride march in New York City in 1970.

In France, activists marching Saturday hope to “re-politicize” the movement, and are joining with groups campaigning for rights of migrants, sex workers and minority or marginalized communities in impoverished neighborhoods of France’s suburbs.

The event won't look like the mass Pride parade normally held this time of year in Paris, organized by the influential group Inter-LGBT and including floats from political parties and corporations. Inter-LGBT delayed its parade to November because of the pandemic.

Saturday's march is led instead by smaller groups, including those that criticize Inter-LGBT for moving away from earlier efforts to push for political change and for allowing a police float at past parades.

French activists have held similar counter-marches in recent years alongside the main Pride event, and this year their effort coincides with growing anger over racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. At Pride events in the U.S. this year, organizers sought to put Black Lives Matter center stage.

The virus, meanwhile, has disrupted Pride events worldwide. Madrid is holding its event Saturday online only. New York hosted virtual performances in front of masked protesters, and paid homage to front-line workers in the virus crisis.

The first Pride march took place June 28, 1970, a year after the 1969 uprisings at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, which were led by trans women of color. That helped propel what’s become a global LGBTQ movement.