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LGBTQ Pride month begins

Solidarity with CeCe McDonald, Bradley Manning, marriage equality

Published Jun 6, 2012 10:49 PM

The first Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer Pride month in the Occupy era begins this week. In Boston, New York, San Francisco, Raleigh, N.C., and elsewhere, activists will be organizing Pride march contingents emphasizing opposition to anti-LGBTQ bigotry, racism and war.

In Boston, Stonewall Warriors will be marching and raising banners and placards declaring solidarity and support for CeCe McDonald, Pvt. Bradley Manning, the family and movement seeking justice for Trayvon Martin, and Tarek Mehanna, who was wrongly convicted of terrorism in a Boston federal court. HIV activists from the newly reborn ACT UP Boston, as well as members from the Smedley Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace, will also be joining the contingent.

UNITE HERE locals around the country will be marching with Pride in many cities as well. LGBTQ activists around the U.S. are supporting “Sleep With the Right People,” a coalition between the LGBTQ community and the union, by refusing to stay in or cross picket lines at hotels that the union is organizing. This campaign was organized by Cleve Jones, a longtime activist, colleague of Harvey Milk and originator of the AIDS Quilt.

The LGBTQ movement’s continued power was recently reflected in the endorsement of marriage equality by President Barack Obama and in a federal court decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. DOMA, which was passed by Congress, declares that the only legally recognizable marriage is that between a man and a woman. Bill Clinton refused to veto this law when he was president. This struggle will likely expand this summer when the Supreme Court rules on the issue.

The struggle received an enormous boost internationally in May with the visit of Mariela Castro to the U.S. Castro is director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) in Cuba. Socialist Cuba held its third annual march for the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17 and continues to make gender reassignment surgery available for free. In Boston and New York members of Rainbow Flags for the Cuban Five will also be marching in Pride.