No Pride in Genocide

Growing Queer Solidarity for the Palestinian Struggle

By Gerry Scoppettuolo

LGBT Pride 2024 Marches this year have become something of a barometer for queer community solidarity with the Palestinian Community struggle in the U.S. Marches in North America and elsewhere are sporting No Pride in Genocide banners along with the usual rainbow colors in many cities including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston and Washington, D,C, as well as Brussels, New South Wales, (Australia), Winnipeg, Halifax, Edmonton and Toronto, Canada.

In Boston on June 8 hundreds of thousands of onlookers applauded the Pride at Work-Eastern Massachusetts/Jewish Voice for Peace contingent for the entire march route. The Boston Teachers’ Union carried a Palestinian flag. The UNITE/HERE Local 26 contingent passed out flyers and posted an online petition demanding that the Boston corporate Pride organizers refuse sponsorship from Fidelity Investments, owner of the Seaport Hotel in Boston which is trying to bust the Local’s contract campaign there. Other labor contingents included IBEW Local 3, the Massachusetts Teachers Association (NEA) and SAG-AFTRA, New England. On June 30 in NYC, a multi-union contingent from Labor for Palestine National Network will be marching in the Reclaim Pride march.

Over the years many Pride marches have sold out the vision of queer liberation’s roots for truckloads of corporate cash and the use of cops to keep people in line and arrest protestors who refuse. In Boston the “official “pride march organizers directed Boston Police to assault and arrest members of the Stonewall Liberation Organization (SLO) who briefly and nonviolently interrupted the march to state their demands. A similar action happened during the Philadelphia Pride March the week before.

Corporate Pride’s political approach is deeply unpopular with Boston’s queer community. 80 organizations have signed SLO’s petition demanding that the official Pride Boston organizing committee commit to never again accept sponsorship or money from the New England Israeli Consulate, Delta Airlines, Fidelity Investments or any other Zionist organizations and to keep cops out of Pride. A complete list of demands and a list of the 80 signing groups can be found here.

This year queer organizers have utilized many types of protest, including one from ACT UP/NYC which took down a flag honoring U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) from Fire Island Pines’ Trailblazers Park, citing Torres’ views on  the israeli entity, replacing it with a flag of trans activist Cecilia Gentili and hanging another flag with their iconic “Silence = Death” logo. More than 3,500 LGBTQIA+ artists have signed on to a letter under the title “Queer Artists for Palestine” calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. The letter reads,

“Our queer Palestinian siblings have asked us to stand firmly with them in their call for dignity and self-determination,” this includes challenging Israel’s whitewashing, or ‘pinkwashing,’ of its brutal military occupation, by exploiting queer performers and voices to cover up decades of right-wing, violent, and racist policies against Palestinians. Now more than ever, we must be clear: queer people are no friends to Israeli apartheid. We use our voices and our platforms to oppose systemic violence and inequality—against Palestinians, and against all people everywhere.”

Queer community solidarity with the Palestine Liberation Movement has been growing globally since the Palestinian LGBTQIA+ group, alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Queers in Palestine issued its statement “Reflecting on Our Queerness in Times of Genocide” this month, seeking support. Nearly 600 organizations from more than 50 countries have thus far signed on to the statement,  A Liberatory Demand from Queers in Palestine. The full statement and the signers list can be found here.

The organizations include queer groups of all kinds, from Vegan Rugby Lesbians to Queer Mutual Aid Lebanon and queer Palestine solidarity groups from around the world like the Queer Palestinian Empowerment Network, Los Angeles LGBTQIA+ 4 Palestine, Queer Artists for a Free Palestine, Queer Cinema for Palestine, and Queers for Palestine chapters in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany.

A comment:

From the mass Anti War in Vietnam marches in the 1960’s/70’s to the provinces of Leon in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution in the 1980’s all the way up to the Palestinian Solidarity movement of today, the queer community has continued to give power to antiwar and anti-imperialist movements. These accounts have been mostly hidden from history and are largely unknown to current younger generations whose current fervor may well yet eclipse what their queer counterparts did, “back in the day.” Popularized Stonewall Riot accounts only scratch the surface of this history but, fortunately, today’s queer movement, more importantly, is making history.

The author is the Chapter Leader, Pride at Work/Eastern Massachusetts
District 65, Distributive Workers of America (UAW) retired.

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