Gay & Lesbian Review May-June 2019

i n June 2017, i co-organized an oral history fieldwork trip to document the equality March for unity and Pride (eMuP) in washington, d.c. it was one of many mass demonstrations taking place that year following the in- auguration of donald trump. eMuP was organized to coincide with d.c.’s capital Pride, but the two re- mained distinct events. in finalizing the schedule of events our group would attend over that weekend, i came across no Jus- tice no Pride (nJnP). this grassroots trans- and queer-led or- ganization was hosting a “qt night of healing and Resistance” with the trans women of color collective, another grassroots organization within the district. we met dozens of black trans women and learned about their experiences and used oral his- tory methods to record their stories, which are now archived at the university of Florida. this was one of the first times i so clearly identified the gaps within our communities and the lgBtq + movement more generally. Black trans women face intersecting systems of op- pression within a structure of white supremacist capitalist het- ero-patriarchy. they are routinely marginalized, and so they turn to one another to find and build community. at the same time, just a few blocks away from this event, thousands of people were celebrating at the annual capital Pride Parade. People lined the streets to watch the decked-out corporate floats pass by, dancing and singing along to the songs that were blaring from speakers. later that weekend capital Pride was also hosting a star-studded concert and festival. this contrast is wor- thy of note: in one space a grassroots contingent, organized for and by trans women of color to provide room for healing and re- sistance within the context of the growing number of black trans women being murdered for simply existing; in the other space, thousands of lgBtq +-identifying people and allies celebrating “gay pride.” what does this disconnect between the two groups represent within our community? what is there to celebrate when members of our community continue to face structural oppression? how do we begin to transform the ways in which we build solidarities across difference to reach for liberation? For the past few years i have conducted participant ob- servations and interviews with trans/queer activist organi- zations in cities around the country to better understand how they interpret the answers to these questions and par- ticipate in building a trans/queer intersectional movement. By tracing the history of pride marches—how they have changed over the years and the work that activists in vari- ous cities have done to transform them—it is possible to imagine what an intersectional march would look like. ESSAY Why We Need ‘Reclaim Pride’ R OBERT B AEZ Robert Baez is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the Univ. of Florida, where he researches sexualities and social movements. F ROM P OLITICAL M ARCH TO N EOLIBERAL P ARADE on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall inn was raided by police, which resulted in several nights of street violence and militant resistance. activists and community members used this mo- mentum to collectively organize actions through a series of meetings and ultimately founded the gay liberation Front (glF) on July 31, 1969. numerous members of the glF par- ticipated in adjacent social movements like the antiwar move- ment and the Black Power movement. others, however, viewed this varied set of commitments as a distraction from the central glF mission of sexual liberation. this difference in ideology produced a division within the glF. those who chose a single- issue approach to their activism broke off and formed the gay activist alliance in december 1969. these tensions are similar to those existing within lgBtq + organizing today, as infighting over the importance of marriage equality and the inclusion of our community in the u.S. military, to name but two contentious issues, illustrate the different ways in which people imagine lgBtq + politics, whether through a homo-normative, queer, or other lens. Many mark the Stonewall rebellion as what “sparked” the modern gay rights movement, but it is vital not to erase those people and moments that created a pathway for Stonewall to be remembered as it is. For example, the east coast homophile organization (echo) had been holding an annual march each Fourth of July in Philadelphia beginning in 1963. echo de- cided in 1970 to transfer this annual march to new york city, joining new york organizers in a march that was named christopher Street liberation day. while it was held a year after the Stonewall Riots, the name was supposed to re-center the struggle for gay and lesbian liberation while moving away from 22 The G & LR Photo courtesy of Reclaim Pride Coalition.

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