Putting ‘liberation’ back into ‘gay liberation’
Published Jul 3, 2006 3:15 PM
Speech given by WW Managing Editor Leslie Feinberg at the 2006 San
Francisco LGBT Pride Parade.
Members of Trans/Gender Variant in Prison
and Leslie Feinberg, center, protest
district attorney speaking at San Francisco
It’s time! It’s time!
It’s time to put the “liberation” back into “gay
liberation”—into lesbian and bisexual, transsexual and transgender,
intersexual and queer liberation.
No politician is gonna do it for us. The
Democrats and Republicans have declared war on same-sex marriage. We need to be
the ones to fight this state discrimination against our families. At the same
time, imagine how we could electrify the country if we declare that people
shouldn’t have to get married in order to have health insurance—we
demand health care for all!
Frederick Douglass said it best: “With
out struggle, there is no progress.” And solidarity is what unites us in
Those who fought the police at the 1966 Compton’s
Cafeteria Rebellion and the 1969 Stonewall Uprising knew that in their bones.
Asian and Latin@, Black and white, trans and gay, lesbian and bi—when they
united against a common enemy, they gathered the storm clouds of their
We need to gather our power today.
Our movement was born out
of struggle against police violence. Let us unite today with those whose
communities are occupied by police the way Pentagon troops occupy Baghdad. Let
us offer our deepest solidarity to the families and communities of Black and
Latin@ and Asian and Native and Arab youth gunned by cops, like Asa Sullivan,
killed by police here on June 6. We want money to rebuild our cities, not more
prisons and police terror.
In the 1970s, many of us in the gay liberation
movement organized in defense of Chicano farm workers struggling to create a
union—the United Farm Workers—in the California fields. And Cesar
Chavez and the UFW have defended gay rights. Today, the UFW is asking us to help
stop union busting by boycotting Krug and Mondavi grapes. Let’s tell the
UFW: We support you!
Let’s show solidarity with the life-and-death
struggle of embattled Colombian trade unionists by supporting their call to
boycott all Coca-Cola products.
Let’s truly mobilize our movement in
support of undocumented immigrant workers. As the federal and state governments
scrutinize identification documents, many LGBT bodies, lives and loves will be
scrutinized and policed as well. The government is sowing the seeds of racism.
Let’s tell them: No human being is illegal! Stop deporting our loved ones!
There are no borders between our struggles.
Our South Asian, Arab and
Muslim immigrant co-workers and neighbors are being locked up without charges by
the government in secret locations. For those who ask: How could
Japanese-Americans have been interned in WWII here in California—this is
how it begins! Let us raise our voices to demand: Stop the round-up of Muslim,
Arab and South Asian immigrants!
In the Middle East, Wall Street and the
Pentagon have been funding the brutal occupation of historic Palestine with our
tax dollars. Let’s organize to build the boycott of the World Pride March
in Jeru salem. There is no pride in occupation!
And beware when Big Oil
and Wall Street say they’re going to war against Afghanistan or Iraq or
Iran in order to liberate women or liberate gay people. Since when was the
Pentagon a vehicle for women’s and gay liberation? Our job here is to
demand: No wars for oil! Bring the troops home, now!
And what about the
racist war right here? Look at New Orleans—an African American and LGBT
capital. You know why the levees broke? Because the money to fortify them was
channeled into the war drive. Now tens of thousands of Black people have been
forced into yet another Diaspora, while real estate developers in New Orleans
are popping champagne corks as they plan to gentrify the city for wealthy
whites. Let us demand the right of all Katrina survivors to return
The same real estate interests are displacing the Black population
of Bay View/Hunter’s Point here. We want affordable housing for all, not
We want money for AIDS and breast cancer funding—not war. We
want Deaf and disabled access, not wars that kill and maim. We want reproductive
rights, not a war on women’s bodies. We want jobs at decent wages, not an
In order to fight for rights, as well as for liberation,
we have to make the struggle against racism and sexism, and for greater and
genuine respect for the leadership of people of color and youth and women the
top priority of the agenda for movement building.
Can we build the kind of
unity that we need to win our liberation? ¡Sí se puede!
¡Sí se puede! Long live the spirit of Gwen Araujo!
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