The yearly San Diego Pride Parade is southern California’s largest Pride event. This year, held on July 19, it was infiltrated by radical queers of all stripes calling for solidarity with Central American children, Palestinians, workers, incarcerated trans people, including — at the top of the list — Chelsea Manning. Manning, the WikiLeaks whistleblower, is now serving a 35-year prison sentence for heroically releasing “classified” information about U.S. war atrocities while she was a soldier.
More than 30 queer and allied radicals gathered and marched in the parade, chanting, “There’s no pride in unsafe schools!” “Queer liberation, not prisons, war and occupation!” and “From Palestine to Mexico, apartheid walls have got to go!” The demonstrators held signs reading “Queers against Israeli Apartheid!” “No occupation, no deportation!” and “Resist PinkWashing!”
The Radical Queer coalition’s float displayed an image of Manning, as well as a huge sign reading, “Queer Community, Not Gay Capitalism!”
These forces chanted “Sexist, racist, anti-gay! Right-wing people go away!” as they passed the area where the horrific Fred Phelps haters used to gather and noted that this time around only one individual was there.
Event organizer Gabe Conaway explained to Workers World, “We’re here to protest the militarization and corporatization of queer communities. We hope to prevent the continued pinkwashing of our communities when corporations like Nike donate millions to HRC [the Human Rights Campaign] to make themselves look good, while allowing their queer workers to remain exploited. This is an intersectional dialogue that challenges people to go beyond ‘gay pride’ and to organize around real life issues faced by workers every day.”
Represented in the march were the International Action Center, the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, Canvass for a Cause, Students for Justice in Palestine and Pink & Black, a local activist group devoted to ending harassment and the incarceration of queers. The San Diego Police Department has a long, sordid history of brutalizing anyone who does not appear straight
The coalition organized Guerilla Pride last month to contrast, challenge and subvert the increasingly pinkwashed San Diego Pride. [The expression “pinkwashed” was originally used to characterize the way the garrison, apartheid state of Israel has used its official policy of tolerance for homosexuality to distract attention from its genocidal anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab campaign. But the expression has been generalized to include all the institutions in capitalist society that cover their continuing prejudice and oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people with meaningless “official” gestures of inclusion or support.] Workshops were held and a potluck meal was enjoyed. Topics such as Trans Power and workplace protections were on the agenda. Look for more direct action in the future from these empowered radical queers.