Policing the Rainbow

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At the NYC Pride March last year, a group of activists staged an alternative to the mainstream parade: the inaugural Queer Liberation March.

In vast contrast to the NYC Pride March, this march had no underlying capitalistic current; there were no flamboyant floats decked out with giant brand logos, no police contingent, and there wasn’t a dime of corporate funding. It was formed as a movement to return the community to its origins of political resistance and rebellion. To quote a couple of last year’s Queer Liberation March organizers:

“𝘖𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘢𝘴 ‘𝘞𝘦’𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘣𝘰𝘸 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘮.’ ” –𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘦 𝘑𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴

“𝘈 𝘣𝘪𝘨 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘪𝘴 [𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵] 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘶𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘧𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘰𝘧 𝘶𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘑𝘶𝘯𝘦.” –𝘍𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘤𝘢 𝘉𝘢𝘳𝘫𝘰𝘯

This year, the main NYC Pride parade went virtual due to COVID, but the Queer Liberation March still took to the streets. It was organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition as a protest for Black trans lives and against police brutality. But police brutality was exactly what they encountered as NYPD officers pepper sprayed, assaulted, and arrested peaceful protesters.

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This post was originally going to be a spotlight on corporations who loudly and proudly sport the rainbow badge but don’t, in actuality, hold up any initiatives that support the queer community. I wanted to talk about how shitty of a move it is to sponsor a giant float for the Pride parade while also donating massive amounts of money to anti-queer organizations (Wells Fargo), or to slap a rainbow all over your storefronts but never once mention Pride (Louis Vuitton). But after yesterday’s events, my concern over policing the rainbow took on a whole new meaning.

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Sources: https://bit.ly/2ViVHDg (The New Yorker), https://bit.ly/31yp1K2 (TeenVogue), https://reclaimpridenyc.org/, @diet_prada

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