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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 wasnโ€™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 yearโ€™s Queer Liberation March organizers:

โ€œ๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฎ.โ€™ โ€ โ€“๐˜•๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ ๐˜‘๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด

โ€œ๐˜ˆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜จ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด [๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต] ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜บโ€™๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ต ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ. ๐˜๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง๐˜ง ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜‘๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ.โ€ โ€“๐˜๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ข ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ซ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ

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.ย 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 donโ€™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 yesterdayโ€™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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