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ASU masters student protests for trans people of color at Phoenix Pride

Crystal Zaragoza, an ASU masters student, marched with Trans Queer Pueblo against the Phoenix Pride Organization April 2

Trans Queer Pueblo marched in protest of Phoenix Pride Organization's collaboration with law enforcement and corporate sponsors on April 2, 2017. 

Trans Queer Pueblo marched in protest of Phoenix Pride Organization's collaboration with law enforcement and corporate sponsors on April 2, 2017. 

Trans Queer Pueblo, a Phoenix based autonomous LBGTQ+ migrant group, protested the Phoenix Pride Festival on April 2 — a move that was met with backlash. 

The group presented the Phoenix Pride Organization with a list of demands March 30 which included ending police collaboration, cutting ties with companies they said fund private prisons like Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and denouncing SB 1070 and Phoenix Manifestation law.

The organization's presence at the parade should have been expected, according to Crystal Zaragoza,  a social justice and human rights masters student. 

“We paid for a spot in the parade, and it was approved by Justin Owens (the executive director of Phoenix Pride), and they knew we were going to be there, and they approved it," Zaragoza said. "So we had a spot. We were allowed to be there.” 

She said the group registered for the pride festive ahead of time. 

Owens and the Phoenix Pride organization could not be reached for a comment. 

Members of Trans Queer Pueblo marched with banners chanting "No Justice, No Pride," urging the Phoenix Pride organizations to take a stand against the unjust treatment of undocumented trans people in Arizona. 

Zaragoza said the group has been attempting to make Phoenix Pride a safer event for transgender people of color, but their demands have not been met. The group opted to use their time scheduled in the parade to make a statement.

“They were yelling at us; they were yelling racial slurs," Zaragoza said. "I was in front and I was being threatened by white LBGT men, saying there were going to punch us in the face and telling us to go home.” 

The backlash the group received only served to prove their point that pride should be an event safe for everyone. 

Sin Justicia No Hay Orgullo / No Justice No Pride from Stephanie Figgins on Vimeo.

Zaragoza said she hopes Phoenix Pride returns to its original activism-based roots and lessens its police presence.

She said she's happy to see Phoenix Pride has turned into more of a celebration, but said people need to understand that having police there can make some people feel uneasy.

"They can show up they can be there, but being on duty in their uniform makes people uncomfortable,” she said. 

However, police presence has become a staple at pride events across the country. Members of the Phoenix Pride Royalty Court said they felt police presence ensured their safety at the large event. 

“At the end of the day who's to say everyone who walked through those pride doors has the best of intentions?" said Kristofer V. Lee, Mr. Phoenix Pride 2017. "It is much better to have individuals who are trained in crisis management than to now have those individuals who are there.” 

Editor's note: A previously named source has been removed from this story. 

Reach the reporter at and follow @brookehanrahan1 on Twitter.

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