We all know about Pride culture: dramatic makeup, rainbows, confetti, and…advertisements?
If you parade down the streets of any major LGBTQ+ Pride event, you’ll likely find yourself trapped in the marketing scheme of dozens upon dozens of companies. Now, it’s great that companies are making Pride more acceptable but the unspoken stipulation for their approval is that we provide them with cold hard cash and consumer loyalty. We’ve got companies here like Apple and Nike who exploit workers in developing countries and suddenly want to take a public stance saying that they’re all for basic human rights. Big companies who routinely screw over not only most of the population, but in some cases especially members of the LGBTQ+ community are not welcome in my Pride. Companies that advertise to the overwhelming white, cis, and wealthy face of Pride need not apply.
After all, this is about our Pride and not their potential profit.
A pretty common sight nowadays are beer and alcohol companies having a burgeoning presence at Pride parades, and I hate it. Pride is home to the ever depoliticized neoliberal LGBTQ+ (nowadays more often G & L than anything) movement that calls for parties and marriage equality while silently ignoring members of that acronym that are screaming out for further help and support. I feel it’s deeply reprehensible for companies that care about our communities to further promote extensive alcohol consumption for their own profit. It’s no secret that queer spaces tend to be a bit of a “party scene”, but it should also come as no surprise that our communities are being knocked down by the weight of substance abuse. You shouldn’t have to risk your sobriety to be a part of most queer spaces.
Our current Pride, a Pride without history or radicality, adds to the ever present image of the LGBTQ+ community as washed up partiers. Being queer isn’t leather and glitter, it’s oftentimes a lot more pain than it’s worth. It’s bruises that glitter can’t cover and it’s tears that stain even leather. Pride is looking down at broken skin and seeing the darkest shades in the rainbow, then cleaning the wound dab by dab.
In fact, it makes me even angrier to have to say that I can’t stand police presence at Pride. If the police actually gave a shit about the LGBTQ+ community, they wouldn’t be on the streets murdering trans women. We wouldn’t have so many hashtags for dead, black trans women either. The police as a whole serve to uplift the prison industrial complex, and I don’t need the support of hypocrites to feel prideful about my identity.
In 1969, the Stonewall riots directly lead to the formation of the Pride parade. You know who were the victims of the inciting police raids? Who were at the forefront of riots and marches and protests? Black trans-women. I’m talking people like Marsha P. Johnson, who’s easily one of the most iconic figureheads of the events. I find it laughable that the police want to be a part of our Pride without an apology, and without a change in attitude or policy. I find it deplorable that people like this Maori trans woman who protest police presence get brutalized and demonized.
In the words of Queers Against Injustice, “As queer subjects, we object to the representation of queer identity in terms of consumptive and wealthy citizens.”
I’d love for the support of the mainstream, of the world, but fuck the compliments of hypocrites. Fuck “support” if that support is for cisnormative ideals, white, and wealthy individuals. I want Pride not Profit. I want Pride, not Prisons.