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We are the 99 percent

Call to Action: Reclaim Pride From the 1% #OccuPride

Posted 11 years ago on June 4, 2012, 10:31 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

a tyrannosaurs rex in front of a city skyline with a stylized rainbow in the background. text reads: assimilation = extinction / #occupride #pinkbloc / summer 2012

OccuPride #OccuQueers #Tranarchism #PinkBloc

Global Facebook event
Many more events are listed below the call to action!
If your organization would like to endorse the call to action, or if you have events to add, please e-mail lgbtq@occupywallst.org.

Pride 2012: The Struggle for Sexual and Gender Justice Continues

This summer, communities across the world will celebrate Pride Festivals commemorating the birth and victories of the Gay and Trans Liberation Movements. Despite the profound social change these movements have accomplished since the first high-heels were thrown over the barricades at Compton's Cafeteria and the Stonewall Inn, it is clear that the struggle for queer, trans, and gender-variant liberation is far from finished.

From California to North Carolina, and around the world, our relationships remain under assault by the State. The progress made so-far by the established LGBT Rights movement has been uneven, excluding trans women, homeless youth and elders, people of color, low-income and poor communities, immigrants, gender non-conforming people, people with disabilities, neurovariant people and sex workers — the very communities whose militant resistance to police brutality and vice patrol raids first gave life to the Gay and Trans Liberation movement. Now, the life-or-death (primarily economic) needs of marginalized people are ignored by the mainstream LGBT Rights movement in favor of symbolic victories for relatively-privileged members of our communities.

For too long, we have been force-fed an ¨LGBT Rights¨ program centered largely around the priorities of wealthy gay cisgender white men (whom writer Allison Kilkenny aptly referred to as the 1% of the LGBTQ community). Of course every relationship should be cherished and honored. But why are we fighting for marriage equality while trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people are dying, losing their jobs, and being locked up at dramatically higher rates than straight, cisgender populations? Why are we fighting for a few more documented monogamous couples to be let into an exclusionary institution instead of demanding health care, immigration status, respect, and autonomy for everyone? Of course no one should be discriminated against on their job (or anywhere). But why are we celebrating the repeal of the U.S. military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy (which does not even benefit trans servicemembers in any way) while soldiers are still being sent to die in unjust wars and veterans are doomed to poverty because every social program has been cut in the name of austerity?

We've been pushed away from the collective struggle for economic equality and gender/sexual self-determination for our communities, and toward fighting for "inclusion" and tolerance. Some believe we can fight "homophobia" without also challenging the connected problems of class, sexism, racism, transphobia, etc -- and so we leave out all LGBTQ people who aren't wealthy, male, white, cisgender, etc.

Transgender people face universal job discrimination and half have considered suicide. In Washington, D.C. alone, at least half a dozen trans women of color have died violently in the past year, and there are many more in other cities. We will not fight for inclusion in institutions that are built on profit, hierarchy, competition, violence, incarceration, and coercion — especially when these very institutions are the ones carrying out our oppression by killing us, putting us in jails, and leaving us hungry in the streets. We do not need to assimilate into an unjust system. We need mutual aid. We need a revolt. We need — we demand — homes, food, communities, health care, and legal status for all. We demand the end of poverty, criminalization, police brutality, profiling in the criminal justice system, ¨bullying¨ (better known to us as assault and harassment), psychiatric control of our identities, and discrimination. We demand a radically re-imagined society, and we are here to build it.

Why #Occupy Pride?

Adding insult to injury, the Gay Elite who hijacked the movement also sold one of our most important annual festivals to the highest bidder. What once was a celebration of open defiance against violently State-enforced sexual norms and gender hierarchies became a marketing and advertising venue for ¨gay-friendly¨ banks and corporations, complete with entrance fees, merchandizing, and $15,000-a-plate fundraising galas. Decision-making became further centralized in the hands of an emerging white, wealthy LGBT upper-class.

This year in NYC, Pride is sponsored by notorious union-busters, foreclosure profiteers, and other corporations desperate to pinkwash their image like Wells Fargo, Citigroup, AT&T, Whole Foods, and Target. From ejecting veterans of Stonewall because they were trans women of color, to banning free speech for queers who take a stance against social injustices, Pride has been effectively depoliticized and removed from its true history.

This year, we will reclaim Pride. We will truly honor decades of militant resistance by carrying those struggles into the present and future. We call on a broadly-inclusive coalition of people to #OccuPride.

We remember the work of groups like the Street Transvestite/Transgender Action Revolutionaries, a radical network of trans women of color and sex workers in New York who provided housing and mutual aid and allied themselves with the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. We pay homage to the sex worker activists who jump-started a movement against State-enforced morality and for human rights by occupying churches across the world (with the help of many clergy — Trinity on Wall Street has a lot to learn from them). We carry on the traditions of the trans and gender non-conforming civil rights activists who held sit-ins at lunch counters to take direct action against transphobic and racist discrimination.


We stand in solidarity with the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP), who continue to use creative direct action to end the HIV/AIDS crisis. We support the queer and trans youth who occupy Christopher Street Pier in defiance of gentrification. We send our love to, and demand the immediate release of, CeCe McDonald, a young trans woman of color in Minneapolis who is currently incarcerated for defending herself against a violent racist, transphobic attack.

This summer, we invite you to join us. Form a militant trans-feminist bloc, show your unashamed support for sex workers, or march with an anti-capitalist queer contingent for your local Pride march. Set up an info-table or booth at the Pride Festival (but don't pay for it). Distribute literature that reminds people of the radical history of Pride. Hold a benefit for CeCe McDonald. Mic-check against the corporate cooptation of our movement. Crash a Gay 1% fundraising gala. Take over a building and give it to homeless queer and trans youth. Organize your own DIY alternative Pride full of radical workshops and free dance parties. Get creative. Stay militant. Never give up.

We are the 99%. We are here to recruit you.

With queer love,

Trans World Order, the trans ladies (and our allies) who brought you OccupyWallSt.org

More Info: Off your computers and into the streets!

This is a preliminary list and a living document. More events are being planned in many other cities. Check back often for updates! Let us know what your plans are for #OccuPride and we will add it to the list. E-mail lgbtq@occupywallst.org.

Social media:

Twitter: #OccuPride #OccuQueers #Tranarchism #PinkBloc
Global Facebook event

Events & (some) Endorsers

Regional (Official) Pride Dates

  • June 1-10: Boston Pride Week
  • June 9: Brooklyn Pride Parade
  • June 9-10: Washington, DC Pride March & Festival (we hear some radicals are already planning mischief for this one)
  • June 10: Philadelphia Pride Parade & Festival
  • June 16: New York City Pride Rally
  • June 16-17: Baltimore Pride Parade, Block Party, and Festival
  • June 23: NYC Pride VIP Rooftop Party
  • June 24: NYC Pridefest, March, and Dance on the Pier



Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by xxqueerxedgexx (2) 11 years ago

could you please add to your events list the Occupy Seattle Queer Affinity Group (aka G.L.I.T.U.R.) event for Friday June 22: "Drag Out Capitalism", the anti-capitalist dance party and drag show.


[-] 2 points by QueerJohnLosAngeles (1) from Los Angeles, CA 11 years ago

Greetings from Los Angeles! Thank you all so much for your work and for this wonderful posting on OWS -- so glad this is available and will be distributing it widely here in LA and at our tabling events! It is so wonderful to have such a clearly articulated alternative perspective on the corporate domination of GayInc and how Pride has been pinkwashed and lost its historic context. I, too marched in NYC in the early 70s and am deeply horrified by what our movement has become. Thank you for an alternative, fabulously Queer perspective. Thank you for bringing these issues to the occupy movements. Thank you for creating controversy and dialogue!

It is challenging to bring out a perspective, contrary to the current mainstream LGBT dialogue, but so very necessary. I hope that the Queer caucus will continue its work, as we do here in LA and that we engage everyone in these radical and necessary conversations. I struggle constantly with how to articulate this perspective, and how to be critical of current LGBT politics/strategies without undermining community solidarity and degenerating into nasty arguments and personal attacks -- it's quite a challenge. BUT, it is CRITICALLY important to open up space for those in our 'community' that have been marginalized and sidelined by the current assimilationist strategies and issues. POWER to ALL QUEER PEOPLES.

We all need to celebrate Pride, and I don't want to rain on anyone's parade -- but opening up a counter dialogue, expanding the perspective, being critical of elements of the mainstream LGBT movement that marginalize and exclude members of our community are very prideful actions and very necessary. So we will have controversy and we will have disagreement (and even hard feelings), but these are conversations we must have. I hope that we never forget that Queer lives are at stake here, for queer youth in many parts of the country, and for our Transgendered non-cis standard sisters and brothers this is still the case even in our gentrified 'gay' urban spaces.

Thank you again for pridefully generating and articulating a necessary and important dialogue!

[-] 2 points by willowfairypdx (2) 11 years ago

Occupy The Pride Portland, Oregon will be on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park just north of the official "festival" cage. http://occupridepdx.wordpress.com/ and local hashtag #occupridepdx

[-] 2 points by Tif (1) 11 years ago

Let's march! Over the last 3 years, the grassroots LGBT movement has started taking the reigns from gay inc. - and is NOW demanding full nondiscrimination protections for SO & GI - by 2014 the 50th Anniversary of the Civil RIghts Act of 1964 (i.e., equal protection in the NEXT Congress!).

We have been left behind on this front, and suffer insidious harm from discrimination from mental disorders to suicide, family rejection, homelessness, joblessness, vilification and societal rejection. This is ABUSE by any standard and is a matter of urgent public health and safety. And - It is the duty of the dominant culture to address homo/transphobia as the social illness that it is, not the victims'.

PLEASE Take The Pledge for Full LGBT Equality (by 2014) here: www.actonprinciples.org/thepledge/

And check out the MASS Die-In at Grand Central Station here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqi6OCHDCXg

[-] 1 points by CollegeKid101 (1) 11 years ago

As one of the people helping to organize the March (and some other events for Pride), I've taken offense from a lot of things expressed in this article, unfortunately. While I understand that, yes, there are several groups in the LGBTQ community that are under-represented, I am very disappointed to see that many people in the Occupy community view us (the organizers) as sellouts responsible for making the March "effectively depoliticized and removed from its true history." Being criticized for this many years of work and told that our efforts have been largely misdirected is incredibly disheartening, to say the least. Throughout this article, I've also picked up a sense that many think the executive committee responsible for these events are all stereotypical, young, glamorous, rich, white, gay men. Many of the most involved individuals do not fall into these categories (except for gay). Admittedly, the events hosted by Heritage of Pride is quite/very flamboyant and extravagant, but that is hardly a reflection of the organizer's operations. For those of you who don't know, the office for HoP is in a rather old, somewhat dirty, damp, over-packed, underground room where they share a KEY to access the bathrooms. I also believe that the mainstream LGBTQ dialogue is overpowering at times, especially for those perspectives that do not align very well with it. I think that change is necessary, that's for sure, but I am concerned to read that so many individuals from the Occupy community are so willing and primed to undermine the entirety of HoP's operations simply because they believe improvements can be made. I would like to see Occupy and Pride as two facets of the same movement calling for social change, but I do not think that this (the article) is the most appropriate way for anything productive to get done.

[-] 1 points by nauruking (0) from Salem, MA 11 years ago

Boston is having an anarcho-queer bloc. please add if you dont mind







[-] 0 points by rbd171 (0) from San Antonio, TX 11 years ago

they were heard, nearly short to the point message, and then the meeting resumed... not sure how effective this is, but it is a start and is a whole lot better than doing nothing... which is what the masses are doing right now.

[-] 0 points by emmaemma (1) 11 years ago

Check out the corporate sponsorship of your local Pride March. NYC Pride is sponsored by two monster banks, Wells Fargo and Citibank (not to mention Coca-Cola).



[-] -2 points by treasure (-81) 11 years ago

In Washington, D.C. alone, at least half a dozen trans women of color have died violently in the past year, and there are many more in other cities.

You put emphasis on the fact that the trans women who got killed were of color. This indicates that white trans women did not get killed. It would thus seem the problem was racism and not a gender identity issue. Why not concentrate on an anti-racist parade?

[-] 1 points by amesa (11) 11 years ago

yo, do you not get how intersectionality works? people can be affected by more than one kind of oppression at a time. also, pride should be anti-racist. everything we do should be anti-racist. that's called not being a racist.