The reactionary rulers of the U.S. are attempting to discourage, divide and defeat poor, oppressed and working people in any way possible, at any possible opportunity.
Look at the psychological operations ploy tried by white supremacist Trump in setting his first 2020 campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. — site of a horrendous 1921 white mob massacre of Black people — on Juneteenth, the traditional Black celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.
In the middle of Pride Month, the Trump-Pence administration launched another brutal attack on LGBTQ2S+ people. On June 12 the Department of Health and Human Services announced cancellation of all nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ2S+ people for access to health care and health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
And the government deliberately trumpeted this news on the anniversary of the 2016 Pulse Massacre in Orlando, Fla. Forty-nine people were killed there on June 12, 2016, at an LGBTQ2S+ nightclub — mostly young queer people of color, 90 percent Latinx.
The HHS order gave bigots the go-ahead to deny queer, gender nonconforming and trans people access to a doctor’s appointment, a COVID-19 test, abortion and reproductive services, the emergency room and health insurance.
The timing of the HHS order was cynically designed to be demoralizing. There’s no doubt that in the middle of a global pandemic, this decision means more LGBTQ2S+ people will die. Already more than 50 percent of queer people experience some form of health care discrimination; one in five trans people are without health coverage simply because of their trans identity. (tinyurl.com/yb4t4a6x)
Tia Sherèe Gaynor, a University of Cincinnati political science professor, emphasized that for Black trans people being denied health care: “It’s layers of oppression — it’s transphobia on top of racism on top of economic oppression.” (npr.org, June 12)
SCOTUS unexpectedly upholds discrimination protections
In a surprise June 15 ruling, the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court appears to have contradicted Trump’s attack. SCOTUS held that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status — a major victory for LGBTQ2S+ activists who’ve fought for that for decades.
The victory was wrung out of this capitalist state only because the masses are in tremendous, angry, rebellious motion against multiple oppressions — with brilliant participation and leadership from LGBTQ2S+ people of color. Such a concession has happened before; the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that granted the right to abortion was also forced by a mass movement out of a conservative SCOTUS.
But the ruling class strategy of divide-and-conquer continues. It was revealed in another ruling the same day as the victory: SCOTUS rejected a hearing for cases that challenged immunity for police officers. One key demand of the Black Lives Matter movement is an end to cops being protected from prosecution for their brutal and murderous actions. Two rulings, one yes, one no — designed to drive a wedge between those joined in this massive movement.
Yet we know that when we fight together, we win! This Pride Month we are in the middle of a historic struggle full of hope and fightback against bigotry — an unprecedented multinational, multigendered mass uprising against racism and police repression. In the U.S. — from Los Angeles to Pensacola, Fla., to New York City — LGBTQ2S+ people are part of this uprising and are linking the struggles shared by many communities of oppressed people.
The roots of Pride Month are in rebellion — the Black Cat Tavern, Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall Bar uprisings of the 1960s when queer people, led by trans women of color, fought for liberation.
Members of STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), combatants at Stonewall, issued a 1970 manifesto that foretold the demands now shouted in 2020. STAR demanded an end to homophobia, racism, incarceration, police harassment and job discrimination, and said: “All oppressed people should have free education, health care, clothing, food, transportation, and housing.”
The manifesto ended: “We want a revolutionary peoples’ government, where transvestites, street people, women, homosexuals, Puerto Ricans, [Indigenous people], and all oppressed people are free, and not fucked over by this government who treat us like the scum of the earth and kills us off like flies, one by one, and throws us into jail to rot. This government who spends millions of dollars to go to the moon, and lets the poor Americans starve to death.” (zagria.blogspot.com)
With the U.S. uprisings against the lynching of George Floyd by cops, millions around the globe have come out into the streets — together in solidarity for the liberation of oppressed people and workers everywhere.
In the early 1970s, YAWF — Youth Against War & Fascism, a Workers World Party mass unit — carried a huge banner: “Stonewall Means Fight Back!”
Yes, this is how the struggle is won: To fight for each other’s liberation as if it were our own — because that solidarity will bring liberation for us all.
Stonewall still means fight back. Smash oppression! Fight for socialism!