Corporations have caught on to the fact that if QTBIPOC aren’t represented, we don’t gaf. They’ve caught on to what we’ve always known: we exist, we are valid, and we are fire.
But now, they’re USING US to SELL US the POC American dream. Their practices have not changed, just their branding techniques.
Nevertheless, Pride™ is taking over and we are getting further and further from the root, history, and meaning of Pride.
The first Pride was not a rainbow parade of sparkles and leather. It all started as riot in response to a violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969, followed by a wave of LGBTQ organizing. At the center of this organizing were many members of the LGBTQ+ community, who refused to continue withstanding the common and discriminatory police raids and instead worked together to resist the state’s violent treatment of queer and trans individuals.
One of these rioters was Marsha P. Johnson, who Reina Gossett, co-director of the film Happy Birthday Marsha, writes, “was a revolutionary black trans woman who was among the first to fight back against the racist and homophobic police at the 1969 Stonewall Riots. She was HIV positive, a sex worker, and an incredible performer and member of the group Hot Peaches. She organized people in jails and prisons, hospitals, and psych wards. With Sylvia Rivera, she co-founded the group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to provide community care and housing for other queer and trans poor people.”
While Marsha P. Johnson’s exact role in the riot is contested, her connections to the first Pride and her organizing work for communities and against the capitalist prison state, illustrate the gross divergence of corporate pride from the first Pride’s roots in resistance, anti-capitalism, pro-community, pro-wellness, pro-sex workers, and (surprise!) pro-trans & queer Black and Brown people, especially.
Given this history. Given our history. Given our current context and the devastation capitalism inflicts on queer and trans BIPOC communities. Given the power and agency we have to come together to build real communities and imagine worlds that are Pro-Black, Pro-Brown, Pro-community, Pro-wellness, Pro-sex workers, Pro-accessibility, Pro-migrant, Pro-trans, and Pro-queer. There is not room for corporations in our Pride.
So here are a few alternative ideas to honor the season (and note: these are things that we can and should be doing ALL.YEAR.LONG (if we want to). Because in our lives, every day is queer as fuck) :
1. Have a queer dinner party celebration. Invite your favorite queers over (or out to your favorite POC-owned spot) for an evening of celebrating yourselves. Take the opportunity to adorn yourself and dress up. Pop some bubbly and treat yourself like the magical human you are. Celebrate your community and yourself.
2. Attend queer dance parties/events (centered on BIPOC) Attend one of these in Portland, Oakland, or New York.
Oakland: SWAGGER LIKE US
Portland: Peaches and Cream: Pride Edition
New York: PAPI JUICE Vol. 40: Miss Thing
Or host your own!
3. Read books by queer and trans writers of color This could look like: getting a group of folks together to read the same book and then discuss; getting together with friends and silently reading together; or just reading on your own and/or journaling about it during or after
4. Watch queer films View them on your own, host a screening for friends or attend a community screening like this one at Ori Art Gallery in Portland,Oregon
5. Visit queer art shows/galleries/exhibits or make your own queer art
6. Have sex with other rad queers and/or yourself
7. Host a writing group and/or gathering
Here’s a Gathering Guide for Queer Liberation that we published after the Pulse shooting in 2016 and are bringing back for this year’s June Issue.
8. Give yourself time to reflect and breathe outside; connect with the earth
9. Any fucking way you want.
Isn’t that part of the beauty of being queer? We live our lives in the context that feels true and authentic to us. We don’t fit any prescribed mold. We can do whatever we want. So go to the parade, don’t go to the parade. Do any of the things above, or don’t! We love you.