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Pride & Resistance: The LGBTQIA+ Struggle is the Working Class Struggle

Tomorrow, ANSWER Los Angeles is hosting an anti-corporate Pride event to fight Rainbow Capitalism and bring Pride back to its roots.

Flyer with light purple background and drawn images of protestors in bright colors with megaphones and signs that read "United to Defend Trans Lives" and "Fight for LGBTQ Liberation." Text on the flyer reads: "Pride & Resistance: Stonewall Means Fight Back. March and Celebration. June 26, 2021, 3:30 PM"
Flyer with light purple background and a map of East Los Angeles that reads: "Pride & Resistance: Stonewall Means Fight Back! Meet at Black Cat, march down Sunset, program and performances at the intersection of Echo Park Ave. and Park Ave.

Tomorrow, June 26, ANSWER Coalition Los Angeles, an anti-war and social justice organization, is hosting Pride & Resistance: Stonewall Means Fight Back! — an anti-corporate Pride March and Celebration. Given that the annual LA Pride Parade was canceled this year, ANSWER felt it was important to hold their own Pride event, an event for the people, to get back to the origins of what Pride really means and to shine light on the violence and discrimination that many LGBTQIA+ people still face.

“We at ANSWER Coalition, especially LBGTQ members, with the recent upsurge in attack on trans people and something like 250 anti-LGBTQ laws out there (many specifically targeting trans people), felt it was important to organize this event,” says JB Barrios, an organizer with ANSWER Los Angeles, “I don’t want to say there has been radio silence, all the right groups are out there, but from the mainstream media, we are seeing a silence and we want to uplift that LGBT struggle.”

In 2021 alone, more than 250 Anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced across the United States, eight of which have been already enacted and four of those are specifically anti-trans. Not to mention the uptick in transgender violence, with at least 29 trans and gender non-conforming people killed already this year, the majority of which are Black and Latinx transgender women — and these are only those that were reported. 

“This is not just about rainbow flags and face painting,” says JB, “this is about every single step that we’ve made, every single inch of progress made in the LGBTQ struggle, and every working class struggle, is a result of the people. The people working together in a unified mass, taking the streets and making the message super clear that an attack on one is an attack on everybody and we are not going to tolerate it anymore.”

People in the Queer community have been especially vocal this year about speaking out against “Rainbow Capitalism” or the “commercialization and commodification of LGBTQ movements, most notably Pride.” Not only are large corporations profiting off of Pride and Queerness in general, but clearly many have forgotten how the LGBTQIA+ struggle has always been a working class struggle, and ANSWER Coalition seeks to remind people of that.

“Not only do we need to take the streets and uplift the LGBTQ struggle but really make it clear that the LGBTQ struggle is the working class struggle. All of these oppressions that we are facing, police brutality, anti-Blackness, anti-Asian racism, attack on reproductive rights in Texas and all around the nation, these are all one fight, so that’s where the march came from.”

The march will start at the Black Cat Tavern, a historic site in the LGBTQIA+ struggle, and will end at Echo Park Lake, the site of another recent struggle, where there will be speakers, musicians, spoken word poetry, and a celebration. The recent events at Echo Park Lake and the houselessness crisis in LA hits very close to home for many in the queer community.

“This is all tied to a working class struggle because LGBTQ oppression is not just in the realm of ideas. Our oppression is houselessness, not having medical care, let alone affirming and inclusive medical care. It’s hunger. All of these are policy decisions in a country that spends a trillion dollars a year on a military budget. This can go way over night but again, it’s the same people who are running these corporations, who are sponsoring the mainstream events, who are backing these laws, who are dividing the working class and oppressing in every other facet.”

Echo Park Lake is still fenced off and patrolled heavily by private security and LAPD, so the celebration will be in the streets surrounding the park — unlike LA Pride held by the city, where police are present to “show how far we’ve come.”

“Pride was bold. Pride was a bold, organized, mass struggle with thousands of people taking the streets but was also a celebration of our collective strength. Stonewall was a huge embarrassment to the ruling class. Not only were the cops defeated and pushed back, but they were defeated and pushed back by a group of people they tried so hard to dehumanize and terrorize. To terrorize them into helplessness.”

“Although LA has a beautiful and horrifying LGBTQ struggle history, we think it will be a peaceful and fun event and hopefully super inspiring for people.”

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