Image from WAMU
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LGBT Pride Parades have become increasingly corporate, with contingents organized by banks, cell phone companies, life insurance companies- you name it. Police contingents also march in the parade, despite harassing and imprisoning LGBT people and especially LGBT people of color. Only a week ago, we saw the cops get away with the murder of Philando Castille, the most recent of many police to be acquitted. Despite this and countless other murders, the cops were welcomed (by some) to Pride Parades around the country.
However, there are sectors of the LGBT community who refuse to quietly accept corporatized and pro-police pride. There are sectors who remember that Stonewall, the birth of the LGBT movement was a riot against the police. Around the country, these radical LGBT people interrupted the corporate pro-police Pride celebration with political messages.
You may be interested in Rainbows on Their Cars But Blood On Their Hands: No Cops at Pride
The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St Paul) Pride occurred only a week after the “not guilty” verdict for Philando Castille’s murderer. Originally, organizers planned to scale down police presence at the parade to “respect the pain the community is feeling” after Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted. However, after meeting with the police chief, organizers went back on the decision, issuing a statement that read: We recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission..Our intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late, but our original approach fell short of our mission.” The organizers went on to apologize to the police for not including them in the march. Organizers said “”We would like to apologize to the law enforcement community for neglecting to communicate and consider input for other possible alternatives prior to releasing the details of this decision.”
At Pride, Black Lives Matter protesters marched a block ahead of the rest of the parade with signs reading “No KKKops at Pride. Make Pride revolutionary again.” Protesters delayed the parade by stopping at intersections and demanding that the police be removed from the parade. They also organized a moment of silence and a die in for those affected by police violence.
However, the cops remained in the march. Even Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau marched and danced in the parade.
— Rose Heaphy (@RoseHeaphyFox9) June 25, 2017
New York City
In New York City, 12 people were arrested for blocking the Pride Parade in front of the Stonewall Inn. They carried banners that read “No Cops, No Banks”- referring to the huge police contingent who marched in the parade and banks, like Bank of America, who also participated.
Arrest were made co-facilitated by the board of directors for blocking police presence out of pride. Today the police…
In the week prior to the march, the #NoJusticeNoPride facebook event put out a leaflet that said, “Yesterday they incarcerated us. Tomorrow they will poison our water. Today they want to dance with us.”
According to CNN, the organizors of the Pride Parade “decided to “authorize” the arrests so the march could proceed after the activists had demonstrated for 10 minutes.”
In Chicago, a group led by trans women shut down the pride parade. A statement put out by Radical Faggot says, “ The Compton’s Cafeteria Riots and the Stonewall Riots are how we mark the legacy of Pride: Strong, proud, and unapologetic trans resistance in the face of a world that continues to prefer our bodies as corpses in the ground, rather than revolutionaries in the streets.
We reject the image of Pride offered to us: Empty platitudes from politicians who cover up the murders of Black youth, productions put on by corporations that abuse trans and queer workers, and the constant presence of murderous police officers armed to the teeth with, tasers, pepper spray, automatic weapons, and the audacity to say that they are here for our protection, as they rush to arrest us for celebrating our own legacy. The rainbow masquerade is not enough.”
— No Justice No Pride (@NJNP_DC) June 25, 2017
— LaSaia Wade (@LaSaiaWade) June 25, 2017
In Seattle, protesters also blocked the Pride Parade, speaking out against banks, mass incarceration, corporations and the police department.
— DeMilitarizeSEA (@BlocktheBunker) June 25, 2017
At Columbus Pride, which took place on June 18, protesters blocked the parade and initiated a 7 minute moment of silence in protest to the acquittal of Philando Castile’s murderer. They saught to “raise awareness about the violence against and erasure of Black and brown queer and trans people, in particular the lack of space for Black and brown people at pride festivals and the 14 trans women of color who have already been murdered this year,” according to Black Queer Columbus.
Four people were arrested and are being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
At Washington DC Pride earlier this month, protesters blocked the parade route demanding that the police, military organizations and corporate entities not be allowed to participate in pride. They also demanded that people of color and oppressed communities be included in more leadership positions of pride planning.
Left Voice sends complete solidarity for those protesters who were arrested and is open to publishing any news on their current and future legal situation.