Don’t allow anyone to stop your Pride for their agenda

Pride flags wave in the wind
Pride flags at Philadelphia City Hall. (June 2022)

Last Sunday in Philadelphia, a group carrying signs saying “Queers4Palestine” attempted to disrupt the Pride parade. They believed that our Pride should be shelved due to the war that is raging in Gaza. Let’s put this clearly: They wanted there to be no LGBTQ+ Pride. As someone who was at Stonewall, a marshal at the first Pride one year later in 1970, and has fought for our rights for 55 years, I say: YOU WILL NOT TAKE OUR PRIDE AWAY. And you failed to do so. Maybe it’s because you don’t understand the meaning of what Pride is to our community. You have no appreciation for those who fought the battle so you can be out and protest, and your actions show a lack of respect for LGBTQ+ history.

Pride is about the community being united and being visible in the face of oppression. Currently, the LGBTQ+ community is fighting a backlash that wants to make us once again invisible. In Florida and other states, they have passed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws. Those are intended to keep us invisible. Pride keeps us visible. Your tactics do exactly what Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump want: To make us invisible again at a time when our trans community — especially our trans people of color — are literally being killed. Our Pride showcases our battles to stay visible and, in many cases, alive.

Then there’s the issue that you’re supporting a government that literally kills LGBTQ+ people. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which states clearly that LGBTQ+ people should be put to death. This is done through a practice called honor killings. Because of this plight, many LGBTQ+ Palestinians escape to Israel for safety. 

Hamas has a tactic for PR stunts, and you were their pawn. 

As someone who has fought for LGBTQ+ rights for 55 years now, I find your actions against the community at Pride offensive. Over the years, I’ve seen you before in many forms, so full of self-hatred that you have to join a cult to feel safe in your LGBTQ+ skin. You actually have something in common with Log Cabin Republicans. You both want to feel accepted by your political peers that you’re willing to destroy the Pride that we have built as a community. You failed last Sunday since over 75,000 people feel as I do and went on celebrating like you weren’t even there. We celebrated the community we created from a riot, while you bullied those at Pride. Many in our community know about bullies. They now know what you are.

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