No Cops or Corporations at Pride, please and thank you

Happy Pride month! This is a joyous time meant to celebrate all that is bright and beautiful in the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to march, to sing, to dance, to make art, to make friends, to find your chosen family. It is also a time for corporations and police to pretend to give a shit about us.

Who says they don’t?

I’m glad you asked! Let’s start with corporations. If you are attending your local Pride march this June, you are likely to see representatives from major corporations. They may have a tent with promotional materials and maybe some candy. They probably will march in the parade or stand on a float pulled by a truck. They want you to know that they care about us. Meanwhile, they donate to politicians working to erase our existence, take away our healthcare, allow businesses to discriminate against us, and prohibit conversations about us in schools. All of them? Most of them. Here is a list of some of the biggest rainbow-faced, gay-bashing corporations. So long as our campaign finance system allows corporations to bribe politicians, they will. Sure, queer people aren’t their priority. Their main objective is to maximize their profit by slashing safety regulations, weakening unions, and cutting their taxes. It just so happens that the same folks who favor those policies are the same ones trying to prevent trans people from accessing lifesaving medication or preserving the gay/trans panic defense for people who murder us.

But guess what. Their main objectives harm us too! LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately impacted by Republican economic policies that slash safety net programs we rely on for food, shelter, clean air and water, and basic healthcare. We are more likely than cisgender heterosexuals to be unhoused, to be underpaid, and to exploited by predatory financial institutions.

Whichever way you square it, we are getting screwed. Rainbow capitalism won’t save us.

And neither will the police.

Pride began as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riot in 1969 in which queer and trans people fought back against police that had been beating them and arresting them for refusing to hide their existence. Police have historically oppressed LGBTQ+ folks. Shoot, as recently as 20 years ago, LGBTQ+ people were legally jailed in some states for acting on our existence. Today, immigration police regularly perpetuate sexual and physical violence against us. We are more likely to be questioned, stopped and frisked, harassed, and jailed for doing nothing but existing. We are overrepresented at every level of our criminal legal system. The majority of trans people report mistreatment or abuse by police. Just two years ago, police killed Tony McDade, a Black transman, in Tallahassee, Florida. LGBTQ people of color have been documenting, recording, and fighting back against police violence for generations. Leaders like Angela Davis, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and James Baldwin recognized that we cannot reconcile or compromise with armed agents of the state who neither recognize or value our humanity.

We deserve a society with life affirming institutions that nurture our talents, provide nourishment and health, and keep us safe. Pride is a celebration of our community’s embrace of each other. We are our own life affirming institution. Police and corporations are not welcome.

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