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Why is Pride a protest?

HISTORY OF PRIDE

Pride started as a protest against police harassment towards the LGBTQ+ community, in New York City (NYC). The origin of pride is the famous “Stonewall riots” in reference to Stonewall Inn where the uprising happened on June 28, 1969 in NYC. At this period, homosexual relations were only legal in Illinois, USA. Uprising took place after the police raided an LGBTQ+ bar mostly visited by people of colour without any valid reason. A trans woman threw a glass at the police which paved the four nights of riots. One year later, the first pride started from Stonewall. These first “prides” were no parties but protests of resistance inittialy led by the black and latino gay community, particularly the trans community. While rights and protections for queer people have been secured in some places, however, there is still a lot to do in terms of LGBTQ+ rights. Therefore, pride is also a protest against police violence.

CAPITALISM

Pride is a protest for LGBTQ+ rights, human rights, not a huge advertisement using the rainbow flag. The instrumentalisation of LGBTQ+ fights to make profit is a real problem. This is called rainbow capitalism and rainbow washing when big companies use activism to sell, it romanticises the fight and undermines people’s demands. It gives the idea that LGBTQ+ people’s situation is changing because rainbows appears everywhere during pride month but in reality many companies promote the pride for their own image which makes Queer activism invisible. 

Furthermore, capitalism as a system based on exploitation has produced and reproduced heteronormative gender roles, ‘traditional’ family ideals and perpetuated the Queer people’s oppression. This goes from the economic convenience of romantic familiar parternships, the reproduction of the working class, the repression of gender and sexual exploration – that has caused the exclusion and alienation of nonconforming people . Capitalism cannot be a tool to fight for the Queer cause.

The capitalisation of queer activism is also the reason why people of colour and trans people are left aside when discussing pride because companies will use what sells within the LGBTQ+ community alias white rich cis gay men. 

RACISM/NEO-COLONIALISM

Pride is a protest and should fight for every Queer people because LGBTQ+ people are diverse and they don’t all have the same struggles. Thus, intersectionality when fighting for LGBTQ+ people’s rights is indispensable. Within the Queer community many other factors than discrimination against LGBTQ+ people must be pointed out. White Queer privilege is a problem because the LGBTQ+ community is not immune to racism, colonialism, anti-semitism or Islamophobia. 

As an example of how White queer folks benefits from white supremacy when they were fighting for marriage equality, Black queer people were still struggling for survival. This isn’t to suggest that marriage equality isn’t vital, but it’s far from the only issue at hand.

Although nowadays LGBTQ+ friendliness has been associated with ‘Western modernism’,  queerness is not a Western concept. Non-Western countries are not essentially LGBTQ-phobic. For instance, Ottoman empire had decriminalised homosexuality in 1858 and some writer from the Middle East were writing about homosexuality a long time ago already. In fact, colonialism had a big impact in bringing an anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment  in former colonies. First, because they brought the criminalisation of homosexuality. Secondly, Western powers also brought a very binary understanding of sexuality and gender which was more fluid before colonialism. Furthermore, Western countries cannot pretend to be super LGBTQ+ friendly and in opposition to non-western countries and then ignore LGBTQ+ refugees.

ABLEISM

Pride is a protest, however, it shouldn’t undermine people with disabilities and make sure that it is accessible and safe for disabled people, which is often not the case. Pride should include all members of its community, and not exclusively the able-bodied LGBTQ+ folks. Involving all members of the pride community in the organisation as well as making all of these voices heard is necessary to succeed in the fight for equal rights.

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/25/san-francisco-gay-pride-corporate-orlando-shooting

https://abcnews.go.com/US/lgbt-pride-month-2021-history-events-parades/story?id=71017699

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190620-how-the-stonewall-riots-changed-history

https://www.history.com/news/stonewall-riots-timeline

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/06/10509012/rainbow-capitalism-explained-memes

https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/06/how-homosexuality-became-a-crime-in-the-middle-east

https://www.vox.com/2018/6/25/17476850/pride-month-lgbtq-corporate-explained

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/white-gay-privilege-exists-all-year-it-particularly-hurtful-during-ncna1024961

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/env.2010.0026?casa_token=8aWCj5xvWeQAAAAA%3AQ-Qy4a2vPd–Tn03N381eqNeqmW-KFpDyiQIq9MKZR_vxXKNkmrPMsQXs2OafEDCWPAUnviBwBNPBjoy

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/stonewall-50th-anniversary-rainbow-capitalism-or-lgbtq-liberation/

https://www.leftvoice.org/queer-oppression-is-etched-in-the-heart-of-capitalism/