D.C. Pride Attendees hear "I have a gun"

By: Michael Snyder

Washington, District of Columbia - Today marked Pride in the nation’s capital where local LGBTQ+ community members and allies were excited about reminiscing the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. According to Giambrone on Curbed, it was estimated that “thousands of people” appeared in DuPont Circle, a D.C. suburb, to watch the Pride Festival Parade between 14th Street NW and 21st Street NW. This year’s D.C. Pride Festival was considered the largest one in the country, given the anniversary commemoration and New York City’s upcoming World Festival in a few weeks.

Fear grew among the attendees towards the end of the parade due to a rumor that spread around DuPont Circle of a person stating that they had a gun. The past few years has seen a sharp rise of violence targeted at the LGBTQ+ communities--including the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, three years ago. The combination of increasing violence and the current political climate has caused people to be hypersensitive to the idea of being shot. Hearing the rumor led others to leave earlier than initially planned. Nearby metro entrances were closed, which meant people had to trek further south than usual to find the next available entrance. An anonymous attendee stated to The Deaf Report that one was afraid that the “cycle of pain would continue at this point whereas the day should be all about love and being free to be with someone you love.”

According to MetroWeekly, D.C. law enforcement officials said that “there was no shooting, but that a gun was recovered from a backpack in the area. Police said the gun was not ‘brandished,’ that it had been recovered and was being processed, and that one person was being questioned.”

Before the gun was found in the Metro system, the police were able to be on scene to direct the large number of attendees and “provide a sense of protection” while investigating the rumors, which ended up being false. An individual attempted to bring a concealed weapon, but they did not use it while on the Metro.

“Everything was confusing for the Deaf attendees because there was no direct communication with us, which led to many of us frustrated within the scene because we were not fully aware that had been a situation with a gun until aboard the trains---the event had been almost over.”

The situation calmed down as more people were able to leave when the Metro entrances were opened up again to normal, and others were feeling relieved that no one is hurt after D.C.’s Pride event. The same anonymous attendee stated, “This was a lot of hassle over a situation that was handled too quietly because hearing people KNEW! I didn’t know until a hearing woman told me what happened on the Metro.”

MetroWeekly reported that there were several people who were injured trying to get away from the rumored violence at the Metro stations. After a long day of celebrating Pride with friends and having too much to drink in some cases, it was difficult trying to navigate the process of getting home onto the Metro not knowing that the man responsible was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon.

The last three years have been labeled the Trump Era, which has had a large number of individuals participating in hate crimes, fear mongering, and clear discrimation towards minority groups including POC, Women, and the LGBTQ+ communities. Violence is something that happens at any time, any moment, and this is why it’s so important to people attending Pride that the right to love somebody else is not attached to having to pay the price of your life.