This Pride month 2020, as queer young Greens from CDN and FYEG, we take this moment to reflect on the world that we live in today, where we observe systemic issues becoming more apparent as we experience the COVID-19 pandemic, and support the Black Lives Matter protests. Allowing us to also question what Pride was yesterday, what it is today and what we can make of it tomorrow.
Questioning is not new for us. We, LGBTQIA people, continuously question, battle with, compare, and figure out who we are in comparison to the normative status quo. We deal with systematic oppressions, legal regressions, and violence against our transition-ing/ed bodies and expressions of genders, loves, and lusts – or lack thereof.
We live in a world where those in power, corporations, governments, mass media, and other institutions, continue to dictate who we should be by disseminating their propaganda in the education systems, cultural productions, ads and laws. The dominant forces on the top of world hierarchies have for centuries decided on the meanings of truth, economy and justice that only suited their own. We ended up with these flawed systems that supports profit over people, the systems of capitalism, white supremacy and hetero-cis-normativity.
This is why we must remember the origins of Pride. The first Pride was a riot against police oppression and state-sponsored violence against LGBTQIA people, started by Black and Latinx trans women, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, in the U.S. – their power must continue to course through our veins as we celebrate global Pride this June.
Our fight is one, our cause is common, our goal is liberation.
Lately, in Europe and beyond, we experience oppression, reminding us of the importance of Pride, including:
– The growth of the so-called “LGBT-free zone” municipalities in Poland, now almost a hundred, is spreading anti-LGBTQIA messages and agitating unprecedented violence against activists.
– The government of Boris Johnson discarding the plans to depathologise and facilitate the process of gender self-identification in the UK.
– The Hungarian government using as smoke screen the emergency measures related to COVID-19 to make it impossible for trans and intersex people to align their legal gender with their gender identity, replacing the characteristic “sex” for “sex assigned at birth” in official documents.
– In Georgia, the government continues to refuse to grant identification that recognises trans peoples’ gender identity, leaving them with no social protection. During the protests in Tbilisi, trans activist Madona Kiparoidze set herself on fire.
– The Romanian government have banned any theories or ideas that establish that gender identity is a separate concept from biological sex in education.
– Sarah Hegazy, a lesbian activist who was incarcerated and tortured in Egypt in 2017 for raising the rainbow flag during a concert in Cairo, committed suicide this month. She was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the humiliation and mistreatment she faced during her imprisonment.
However, we also experience and observe more positive currents of change, including:
– Scotland becoming the first country to include LGBT+ history and rights in schools
– The redefinition of traditional beliefs and discourses, like German bishops starting to accept non-heterosexual orientations and rejecting any form of discrimination against homosexual people.
– Celebrations of Pride, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with messages of support and solidarity being shouted from balconies in Tirana, Albania.
The fight is far from over.
In a world where our stories are tokenised, where we are used and abused – let Pride be an open space of our own making, part celebration – part protest. Where we use our agency to demand rights, justice and equality for all LGBTQIA people, to break down and open borders that divide the haves and have-nots, to work in solidarity with anti-racist, feminist, and other movements to create a Europe that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all.
This is why, for global Pride 2020, we young greens from CDN and FYEG:
– recognise that the fight for LGBTQIA rights, equality and justice should not happen in isolation from other fights, including for climate justice and social justice;
– demand solidarity between movements and to fight together to topple the white-supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist, anti-trans and homophobic systems;
– acknowledge the often invisible work of trans- and cis- women, transgender men, non-binary people, genderqueer, intersex, asexual, aromantic, bisexual, and lesbians within our communities;
– promise to fight alongside LGBTQIA activists, in Azerbaijan, Poland, Hungary, England and other places, as they face new and old threats of violence against them;
– question and oppose the commercialisation of Pride and its symbols, and the abuse of LGBTQI stories for capital gain;
– remember and mourn all victims of fatal homophobic, biphobic and anti-trans violence – in all its forms – in Europe and beyond.