Democratic Socialists of America Protest Gay Pride Parade Over Corporate Ties, Police Support
The Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has released a statement condemning the Pride Parade and its organizers, Pride NW, for working with the Portland police and allowing The Evil Corporations™ to sponsor events.
Suddenly it’s a problem to be accepted by the city, police, media, and corporate America, for which the past generations of LGBT activists worked so hard to achieve.
The group urged Pride NW to sever ties with it corporate sponsors and the Portland Police, saying that corporations and cops are exploitative presences at the parade, which was originally “a protest led by trans women of color against the police.”
“Pride celebrations today, which are promoted by multi-billion dollar corporations and which use queer bodies as a new, profitable marketing tactic, look very different from the original Pride protests,” the statement read. “We used to revolt against the norms; now we celebrate conforming to them.”
The caucus alleged that six sponsors received incomplete scores on the Human Right Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which analyzes large company’s policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ employees. It also highlighted that only a third of the event’s sponsors are based in Oregon and only three of the 39 are LGBTQ-focused.
“Similarly, three of your sponsors are from the drug industry which, like the tobacco industry, preys on marginalized populations,” the group wrote. “As queer people, we are a diverse group, and yet we are truly not represented by these corporations.”
The group specifically criticized a high-profile sponsor, Seattle-based retail giant Amazon, for allegedly “exploit[ing] the labor of queer people making poverty wages and fail[ing] to protect those queer people from on-the-job harassment.”
The Queer Caucus also condemned police presence at the parade and said that the police bureau is “notorious for targeting the most marginalized in our community.”
“We believe the solution to our queerphobic culture is not greater inclusion in systemic exploitation,” read the statement, “but a radical departure from a system that perpetuates inequality and turns queer people into a market to be exploited.”
Portland has long been considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, but somehow that has morphed into being “queerphobic.” In fact, the Portland Police Bureau actively participates in the parade and associated events.
Portland Police Bureau even has a recruitment video specifically marketed toward encouraging members of the LGBT community to join the force. The video profiles several officers who are transgender and gay, and they speak about how they were depressed and wanted to hurt themselves. And they are now police officers.
But this isn’t good enough for the DSA. Their complete jumble of word soup reads:
To board members and staff of Pride Northwest Inc.,
Portland Democratic Socialists of America’s Queer Caucus calls on members of the Queer community to write letters to Pride Northwest to demand an end to their collaborations with major corporations and the Portland Police, and instead focus on empowering the Queer community.
Queer people are under attack in this country. This has been true for decades in the United States, and today the hatred spurred on by Trump’s bigoted presidency has bled into our community: two months ago, the Portland DSA Queer Caucus was targeted by Patriot Prayer, while Trans and non-binary people in Portland have been harassed and attacked on the streets. All the while, Portland police ignored our community and blamed the victims. However, as Queer people we know that it is not just proto-fascists and the police we need to worry about, but also the exploitation by major corporations who wish to profit off of our identities.
The DSA continues in multiple paragraphs with its diatribe.