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    Pride and Prejudice in the Age of Trump

    By Kin Folkz–

    June: 30 days, 720 hours, 43,200 minutes. It was a magnificent month filled with precious Pride opportunities for our TLGBQIA+ community to publicly profess the rightness of our identities. As we gathered and coalesced each strident and shiny social media worthy moment into rainbow filtered posts, Trump acted as if the millions of us were nonexistent. 30 days, 720 hours, 43,200 minutes of disregard and silence from the White House.

    Very few celebrants found that news to be revealing. In fact, many of us expected vile behavior from this demonstrated racist, misogynistic xenophobe. We marched, danced and rolled, in spite of the blatant mistreatment. We picked up our pain, slung it ’round our neck and wore it like a bejeweled cape of courage. We congratulated ourselves for the effort and rushed to fill in any gaps in our show of unity. Many of us rhythmically remarked on the return to our activist roots in the face of fascism. We came forth in colossal corporate columns and small ragtag contingents.

    Many of us also felt neither pride nor a connection to the euphoria enjoyed by the throngs of privileged TLGBQIA+ and heterosexual people who have continued to hold sway on Pride boards and contingents, and as paid Pride staff and contractors. Many more of us did not feel safe attending Pride knowing that even our TLGBQIA+ abusers rationalize away their accountability simply by announcing themselves also as the oppressed. Racism, sexism, classism, trans/bi/homophobia, ageism and ableism still run amok in our community by masking bitter prejudice as “preferences.” Pride is not immune.

    Recent surveys validate how people of color and women of all genders experience Pride as spaces fraught with oppressions. There are documented instances of anti-POC, anti-immigrant, anti-trans, anti-elder, anti-disabled, anti-child and anti-woman violence perpetrated between Pride anthems and politically correct posturing. Our voices are absent or silenced in spaces where we can provide the necessary experienced leadership to address these abuses.

    QTPOC and femme-identified folks struggle to be heard when we point out that the Pride decision-makers, power-brokers and media-makers are still primarily white-identified folks, masculine-identified people and QTPOC figureheads who refuse to release their privilege or to use it to provide parity. In effect, during this most glorious 2018 Pride season, many of us QTPOC, poor and femme-identified folks were disregarded twice over—our needs rendered irrelevant, less worthy and impotent by both the general population and our own rainbow community. QTPOC, poor and femme-identified folks’ rights deserve attention and the dignity to delve deeper than simply serving as Pride props that all too often are denied access to decision-making power and wealth equity.

    Pride was conceived by authentic equity seekers and freedom fighters—by folks living in the margins. They envisioned a revolutionary gathering of TLGBQIA+ people being led by the most oppressed among us—a demonstration that would breathe balance and sanity into the world.

    Many of us have lost sight of our noble Pride objective by continuing a practice of power-hoarding and unwittingly buttressing the toxic pro-white, pro-male power agenda that Trump embodies. Our opportunity to upend our own community’s prejudices against power sharing with QTPOC, poor and femme-identified people and prioritizing our leadership depends completely upon whether we all truly want to co-create equity.

    Authentic equity liberates us all and calls for much more than mused over slogans on hand-drawn signs. It asks that we drop the pretense and address the oppression recreated in our Pride celebrations and communities. Many Pride boards and Pride staff stand as excellent examples of equity-seeking entities walking unflinchingly into an evolved TLGBQIA+ and ally future.

    Yet, most remain unchanged. As we face the fight for our freedoms in a nation led by would be oligarchs, we must adopt a universal set of equity objectives and agreements across all Pride boards and provide community practices that honor our origins. #NoJusticeNoPride

    Kin Folkz is the Founder and Executive Director of Spectrum Queer Media (http://www.spectrumqueermedia.com/), an Oakland-based national LGBTQ rights advocacy organization.