Pride Is Still a Protest

feature image photo by Avijit Ghosh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pride this year will take place during the eighth month of an ongoing genocide against Palestinian people by Israel. This cannot and should not be forgotten or ignored. It also cannot logically be separated from the origins of Pride itself. The first Pride was a protest or the first Pride was a riot are phrases we hear every year leading up to and during the month of June. And while it’s important to recall and record history, we should resist the urge to use past tense here, especially this year. Pride is still a riot. Pride is still a protest. So long as there are still queer and trans people suffering at the hands of imperialist governments and unjust systems, Pride will continue to be a riot. Pride will continue to be a protest. This is not to say it can’t also comprise parties, joy, rest, and fun. Pride has always been and will continue to be a mix of resistance, rage, release, and revelry. Pride is a rage party, as I like to think of it. But this year at Pride, we must continue to focus on the inextricable links between queer liberation and Palestinian liberation.

One way to do this is to follow and support the work of No Pride in Genocide, a “collective of Queer and Trans anti-zionist Palestinians, Arab/SWANA folks, Jews, and allies working for a free Palestine,” according to the group’s website. No Pride in Genocide utilizes a mix of direct action initiatives, digital organizing, and cultural work to achieve its goals of amplifying the voices of showing solidarity with queer and trans Palestinians as well as combat Israel’s pinkwashing. No Pride in Genocide is based in DC, but they offer all sorts of digital resources — including a free toolkit — and ways to support that can be done from anywhere.

ACT UP NY, which has been part of the pressure campaign on GLAAD and other mainstream LGBTQ organizations and nonprofits to sever ties with the ADL, combat misinformation, and take a stance on genocide, is also cooking up Pride plans, and especially if you’re in New York, there are tons of ways to be directly involved, including the Dyke March on June 29 and the Queer Liberation March on June 30. These marches have a long history of engaging with the more political and radical parts of Pride month. There are offshoots of these marches all over the country, so look up your city to see if there’s a local version for you.

Read and seek out the words of queer and trans Palestinians. Journalist Afeef Nessouli’s ongoing documentation of his anonymous Queer Friend in Gaza’s experiences throughout this genocide have been an impressive example of deeply personal queer reporting. Follow @officialjakegyllenhalal, who is also raising funds and often posts other fundraising efforts for direct mutual aid for people in Gaza or who have recently evacuated. Whatever you plan to spend on a particular Pride event, try to match it with a donation to one of these funds if you have the means. Also, here’s an excerpt from Rand’s newsletter, which you can read in full with a paid subscription.

For those in event planning, do your due diligence on who you’re partnering with. If there are fundraising components to your events, avoid organizations that actively participate in pinkwashing and consider raising funds for direct mutual aid efforts in Gaza. There are so many GoFundMe’s at all times, and again, following folks on social media who have been using their platforms to specifically create content around supporting Palestinian liberation is the best way to find out which ones need funds right now. Ask yourself how you can use your event to organize and build community in a productive and genuinely liberatory way.

Yes, we should use Pride to also rally against the transphobic and queerphobic policies affecting our local communities and legislation sweeping the U.S. that seeks to severely limit the rights of trans people in particular. But the fight for true queer and trans liberation is a global fight. This Pride, it’s especially important to remember that.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 861 articles for us.

40 Comments

  1. There is no pride in Muslim majority countries, even Turkey which was our last hope has abandoned them, I ask my fellow queer people to keep that in mind before you throw in with the Palestinians. I mean, of course they deserve a state and I wish them luck but this isn’t our fight. Please don’t compromise our celebrations and victories next month by linking us to a war in the middle east.

    • This is a ludicrous take, it is absolutely 100% our fight. a) Queer Palestinians exist, we should be in community with them and be fighting for their rights as part of the wider struggle for rights for all LGBTQIA+ people (this includes fighting for their basic human rights) . b) I will gladly repeat this till I am blue in the face – nobody’s free until everybody’s free, there is no liberation for us without the liberation of all

      • It is a ludicrous take to not understand that by rallying around Hamas and other Iranian terror proxies you are supporting the oppressors of queer communities in these middle eastern countries. Brave women and queer people from the region have spoken out and said as much, begging you to stop cheering for their oppressors, but the fringe left in west refuses to listen. In order for our queer communities to be free worldwide we must continue to fight to free Palestine from Hamas, their oppressive regime, that kills their queer citizens, indoctrinates them to hate their neighbors and steals all of their international aid to further their singular goal of wiping Jews from the face of the earth (aka actual genocide). Hold Hamas accountable for all of the innocent lives lost due to the war they started (Don’t even start with the 1948 BS, the history of this conflict didn’t start on October 7th or in 1948, not to mention it was the Arab counties that also started the war in 1948). Hamas can stop this war at any time but they won’t because the Iranian propaganda has done its job so easily to fan the flames of antisemitism and divide us. Wise up people. You fell for it. The fringe left is as deeply embroiled in propaganda and conspiracy theories as the far right. Iran and Russia have fooled you both.

    • “I ask my fellow queer people to keep that in mind before you throw in with the Palestinians.”

      Lol. Wow. White LGBTQ’s are not beating the allegations that they only give a fuck about themselves anytime soon. Y’all wouldn’t even have Pride to begin with if it weren’t for the rest of us Black and Brown Queers you look down on who were on the frontline of our liberation movements. None of y’all are about to police Pride as far as I’m concerned. I swear y’all don’t even read the article or know the history of civil rights movements before you show in these comments to act ghoulish every fucking time.

      IDK how y’all can watch thousands of people get buried under rubble, burned alive, mutilated, orphaned, etc and think that it is deserved and that you are somehow the good guys for being glib about their suffering. I don’t care what your or their religion is. My solidarity is not transactional. These people don’t owe me a damn thing in order to believe they don’t deserve any of this shit whether they are queer or not.

      And all this shit you have been indoctrinated to believe about Arabs are a lot of the exact talking points white people have used over the years to justify their bigotry of the Indigenous, Black people, Mexicans and yes Jews as well. That we are all rapists and terrorists and homophobes etc and that’s why we deserve the things that happen to us. And that propaganda is still being parroted by our governments and media in varying degrees. I would caution against falling into the dehumanization of others who are not like yourselves and learn some empathy and compassion that isn’t based on what they can and can’t do for you. But you do you I guess.

      • And another thing—–Y’all don’t want Pride to be “linked to a war in the Middle East” but don’t seem to have a problem with Police in their rainbow squad cars or some of the worst Fortune 500 companies in the world having floats and pretending to care about us for a whole 30 days before they go right back to funding laws that oppress us here and around the world(not to mention helping to fund this very war that you are complaining about) so save me the righteous indignation.

    • If you’re in the US, you/we are already intimately linked to this genocide —our tax dollars are bankrolling it. The question is what are we doing to counteract that complicity. Aside from the linkage of shared humanity (and shared queerness with queer Palestinians).

    • This is absolutely our fight because it is our FAULT. Your tax dollars are funding this genocide just like mine and there is nothing we can do to stop it. I can’t stop paying taxes. Biden ignores the progressive constituents that sucked it up and got him to the White House. And you are also incorrect that Turkey no longer supports Palestine:
      May 2: “Turkey stopped all exports and imports to and from Israel as of Thursday, the Turkish trade ministry said, citing ‘worsening humanitarian tragedy’ in the Palestinian territories. ‘Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products,’ Turkey’s trade ministry said in a statement. Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli Government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.” https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-says-turkeys-erdogan-is-breaking-agreements-by-blocking-ports-trade-2024-05-02/
      May 12: “Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree a ceasefire in Gaza, after Palestinian militant group Hamas’ move to accept a truce proposal.” https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/turkeys-erdogan-says-us-europe-not-doing-enough-pressure-israel-into-gaza-truce-2024-05-12/

    • “This isn’t our fight” <— when kids are being blown apart by US weapons funded with our taxpayer dollars it kinda is our fight…. Biden already admitted Israel has committed war crimes with U.S. weapons but won’t change his policy of unlimited no strings attached weapons transfers even though he said there would be consequences if Israel went ahead with an attack on Rafah. Most of the Palestinians Israel has killed, starved, tortured are civilians

      • If this is your logic then where were you on October 7th? To pretend US tax dollars did not also fund Hamas is a fallacy considering how complicit and guilty UNRWA has proved to be in the October 7th rapes, kidnapping and slaughter. And even worse than just US tax dollars people who continue to donate to “Palestinian Aid” fronts directly without doing their research are giving their money right to Hamas. Hamas continues to use that money to fire rockets at Israel and commit other atrocities right to this day (with no outcry from any of you).

        Also you should mention that you’re getting your estimate of how many people have been killed directly from Hamas. The UN has already cut their reports in half. Not to mention Hamas is responsible for all innocent lives lost by committing the war crime of using human shields and humanitarian infrastructure as military bases.

  2. Thank you for this Kayla. it has been so hard to see people support this genocide using queer rights as a justification, and I appreciate this and everyone else who says, this is not in my name. free Palestine!

    • If I really care about people suffering you would cover the war in sudan. It is the biggest humanitarian war crisis in the world right now. But your indifference is clear and obvious. I despise the war in Gaza, it is outrageous but I refuse to be a pawn in a war. The LGBTQ+ community is so undifferentiated in choosing “their” side. The only side to choose is peace. But no, you choose to participate in these war by choosing to be influenced by one side. Like I said, if you really care about people suffering due to war, why don’t you fight for peace in Sudan?

  3. All the people commenting against Palestine…I just ask: why should we support an entire culture’s genocide just because they are anti LGBTQ? Should we support the murder of 35,000 people in the American South? Should we support the total elimination of entire generations of families because they are against me? This is the first time I have seen queers respond “Well, their government and culture are homophobic, so let’s bomb all their hospitals and universities and schools and murder thousands of their children.”

    Why on earth are some of us ok with this logic instead of mourning for the uncountable destroyed lives of children who will never have the opportunity to move their culture forward, let alone come out themselves?

      • Your Iranian Supreme Leader thanks you for your continued support and for parroting his buzzwords. (Source: his twitter post). Keep up the good work.

        War isn’t genocide. October 7th was genocide. Hamas’ assurance that they will continue to commit October 7th atrocities until they wipe Jews from the earth is genocide. Israel trying to dismantle Hamas and rescue its hostages while Hamas throws every woman and child it can in the way isn’t genocide. There is no future for Palestinians while Hamas is in charge either. Start asking Hamas to surrender instead of asking Israel to lay down and let their people be slaughtered. You’d never accept such a response from your own government.

        Never watched Fox News in my life and don’t have any grandparents that do either- we’re all liberals here but we’re just not idiots. (I know it’s easier to tell yourself that though.) I have spent my whole life being taught about this conflict. I support Palestine’s cause for freedom but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of anyone else’s right to life. Hamas are not freedom fighters just another Iranian terror proxy that they use to sow hate and chaos. Israel deserves to exist and so does Palestine.

        Most Jewish people feel the same. No one wants this war and everyone deserves to live in peace. There are always going to be outliers in every community. And of course a Jew can be anti semitic the same way a queer person can be homophobic. I mean some of the worst homophobia is the internalized kind. It is very tough to be different and unaccepted in this world and it can make you say and do crazy things.

        • thank you! 90% of american jews identify as zionists and feel a strong connection to their homeland and heritage. so what does autostraddle want….round up 90% of american jews? put them in a,…..reeducation camp? commit violence against them?

          hmmm gosh where have we seen promises of utopia just become a reason to ostracize and commit violence against Jew before????

          • Agreed! Autostraddle is complicit in spreading misinformation and fanning the flames of hate.

            Hamas supporters like to label their “token” Jews that are “anti zionist” as good Jews and the rest as evil.

            They will never understand, and don’t stop to consider, that Jews have never had a safe place in the world other than Israel. They don’t consider what it must be like to watch the horrific brutality of October 7th and see the world turn a blind eye, cheer, excuse, and turn against Jews in every country thinly rebranding their anti semitism as anti zionism.

            Just because the Roman’s conquered Israel and shipped the Jews off to Europe as slaves that makes Jews European now? Newsflash – when I take a DNA test you won’t find a single European country on it despite how long my family may have been there before the Pogroms and the Holocaust- it just says Jew. It’s an ethnicity of the people of the Levant and it has been unchanged for thousands of years. It’s an ancient civilization deeply rooted in Israel. Jews have always lived in Israel- why should they be labeled as colonizers now just because some of them were traded away as slaves and have been forced to flee around the globe since? It’s just a convenient narrative to justify their anti semitism rebrand.

        • Oof, I hesitate to comment because I don’t know if anyone’s mind is ever changed by arguments in the comment section. But hey Shana, and “Not a Useful Idiot”, I’m saying this on the off chance that you feel like talking…

          When you say “Jews have never had a safe place in the world other than Israel”, I said, “Wait, there are people who have a safe place in the world? I thought only billionaires got that?”

          I’m being serious, what is going on with the idea that having a religious ethno-state will keep you safe? And what is going on with the idea that a piece of land you spend hardly any time in, belongs to you?

          I’m coming at this as a Black British queer of Caribbean descent. My parents and grandparents were always trying to tell me that the Caribbean was my homeland and that I should never forget that I was an Island Girl. I went back to St Lucia once and it took me about five seconds to realize what nonsense that was. The idea of the Caribbean id been taught about had been dead for about 50 years, and the other teenagers quite rightly side-eyed me and kissed their teeth at me for daring to compare myself to them. “Island Girl”! I’d never lived there, I’d given and taken nothing to the land and the people there, and they were sick of people (like my grandparents) idolising “the island life” to help them cope with the discrimination they faced in the UK.

          I would never have dreamed of displacing any of them so I could maybe, maaybe have a space where I belonged.

          Plenty of places in the Caribbean it’s straight up illegal to be gay. The cultural violence against queer people (and women and children) is a legacy of colonialism, and it’ll be poisoning people for centuries. I lost a lot of family when I came out. I hate them for how they treated me.
          But I still don’t want to see any of them dead, or maimed, even though they hurt me personally. Even though they probably want me dead.

          And I don’t think they should be colonised, brutalised, traumatised. I don’t think ANYONE should be. Do you get me? No one deserves that. No. One. Not you, not them (whatever enemy you’re thinking of), not anyone. And you’re lost if you think you can slaughter your way to safety.

          I’m sure you know how right wing and racist Britain is. I’ve been told all my life to go back home. I say- “I am home. Home is where I’ve built my life. I didn’t inherent it from my ancestors. Home is here and now, it’s love and solidarity and choosing not to hurt each other. Home is how we show up.”

          At the end of the day, the idea that you’ll be safer within a set of walls or a border is just ludicrous to me, especially when the foundations of those walls are set on violence. Can you make me see it your way?

          • I like hearing your point of view and it is well taken.

            At the end of the day your diaspora and mine are not the same. And Israel is not the same as the Caribbean. And the Jewish ethnicity is not the same as yours. For one, your grandparents are able to tell you where you came from and you were able to return there. Mine did not have a place to call home, to return to, to seek refuge in, only place after place they were hunted and had to flee from.

            The Jews were hunted and murdered so often throughout history in their diaspora that there are now 15 million left worldwide. A very different number than people of your ethnic background. A very different number compared to 2 billion Arabs. I also wish that we did not have to have our own land with borders and walls to feel safe but history has proven otherwise to the point of our near extinctions. And the last 8 months have certainly proven otherwise as well.

            The Jews who have returned to Israel have contributed greatly to the prosperity of all people in the region including the Palestinians. The land was a merely a big desert with many Arab and Jewish settlements throughout during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The land of Palestine did not exist until the British said so which was just a few years before the land was called Israel. There was never a plan to displace people. Borders were drawn where people were already settled. On the eve of the creation of Israel the Arab counties attacked the Jews and the Jews won the battle resulting in a capture of additional land and what is known as the Nakba. Do I agree with what happened? No. Do I think Jews are to blame? Definitely not solely. Does it make Jews colonizers? Definitely not. Do I agree with any of the modern day settler mentality in the West Bank? Absolutely not, it is disgusting. However, Jews (not the West Bank settlers) living in and returning to Israel as refugees does not meet the definition of colonization in anyway. That is simply the truth.

            Of course all of this history of the creation of the state of Israel is always a hot debate and leads to many arguments with no real right or wrong. The answer is as you said, the creation of all modern nations has a bloody origin. If you call Britain home then you must be all too familiar with theirs and the hand they have played in many others but yet you are still comfortable claiming it as your nation and being proud to live there. We are living in the time of the creation of Israel as a state and it’s not pretty. But I don’t see it as the fault of Israel alone. Israel has worked hard to normalize and create peaceful relations with all of its neighbors. Israel was about to sign another historic peace treaty with Saudi Arabia right before Iran goaded Hamas into October 7th.

            To sum up:
            1. I wish it was true that the Jews could be safe around the world. The United States has existed for less time than my family probably lived in Europe but the Europeans still turned on them. We have in fact been murdered in organized pogroms since we were first kidnapped from our home to the point of near extinction of our culture. This is not true for you.
            2. You have a place that your grandparents proudly could refer to as your home. This was not true for me.
            3. The Jews that have returned to Israel have brought much prosperity to the land that everyone in the region profited from. As you said you did not offer anything to the people of the Caribbean.
            4. Jews and Arabs lived together in this land before 1948 and the intention was for that to continue. It has not proven easy. Israel is not an ethno religious state- 20% of the state is not Jewish (this does not include those living in Palestine but just strictly within Israel). But it is the only place with a Jewish ethnic majority in the world. This is not something that could be said about your ethnicity.
            5. I look forward to peace in the land. Israel has made so much progress towards it. The current leadership in Israel and Palestine needs to change in order to see this through.
            6. Thank you for sharing your point of view.

          • Sigh Haley’s Comment. How easy it must be to claim you don’t need something that you have. How noble you are to say that if Britain started rounding up their black community and putting them in death camps you wouldn’t dream of jumping on a plane to St. Lucia or one of the many other places where being black is the norm.

            You have your own hardships I’m sure but your experience is not the Jewish one. I wouldn’t pretend to know something about being black but at least I stand with you when your people are brutally murdered. Or are they not your people because you are British now and that’s all that matters?

  4. “Not a Useful Idiot”, well, thank you was a thorough and thoughtful response. We’re not in agreement on the necessity of killing civilians, even if your civilians were killed first. Its possible to commit war crimes in response to war crimes, but it won’t bring peace. That’s where I’ll have to bow out to people smarter and kinder than me, in terms of who and how conflicts are resolved

    But, Big Sigh- thank you for actually making me laugh out loud this morning!

    You know Britain invented the concentration camp, right? To be fair, they interred both Black and White folk that time around, but they were really clear about their guiding principles. Lord Milner famously wrote: “You have only to sacrifice ‘the n*gger’ absolutely and the game is easy.”

    As for fleeing to the Carribean, for safety? Did you hear about the Windrush Scandal, Big Sigh? And before that, did you hear about the goddamn slave trade? I’m not fleeing to the Carribean, because that’s where the mass graves are. Haiti is the perfect example of what happens when oppressed people stand up for themselves, if they don’t have the backing of an imperial power or two.

    British establishment hates and has always hated Black people. That’s why it’s an act of defiance for me to call myself British; because I’m Black, its controversial for me to say that the place where I’ve spent my entire life is where I belong.

    And when I said that as a kid- white British adults would sneer, laugh, frown and politely correct me ( or if they were also kids, they’d just tell me to go back to my own country). And even then, saying that I’m British is bitter and really fucking uncomfortable, because of the historical violence committed by Britain against people around the world and- if I’m honest- against me. And if I even mention that Britain did a bad thing or two, then I’m unpatriotic and ungrateful.

    TLDR: You’ve missed the entire point I was trying to make. I am not safe anywhere. I’m not safe in Britain. I’m not safe in the Caribbean (no one is). I’m not going to support bombing civilians so that I can imagine having a safe place. I would never dream of something so ghoulish. I’m not convinced I’ll be safe anywhere in the near future, and if anyone saves me, it won’t because of a war waged by a nation-state. It will be other marginalised people working in solidarity with each other.

    Flee to the Carribean for safety? Big Sigh. Huge.

    • Hmm don’t remember saying anything about the necessity of bombing civilians or trying to justify eye for an eye excuses. So I guess we are in full agreement!

      As you said, you, nor anyone else on left, has a real solution. Just a loud, false, proclamation that Israel is committing genocide and that they should end the fight unilaterally and continue being slaughtered indiscriminately by Hamas, because Hamas has at no point stopped firing rockets or stopped proclaiming that they will commit October 7th over and over again. That doesn’t sound like a peaceful solution to me either. But it is the one the left is ok with.

      See you in 75 years. It is nice that you can walk away and say that engaging in a debate about why Jewish lives matters too is probably not worth it.

    • Woe is truly you Haley’s Comment. We can sit here and compare slave trades, slur words, mass graves and death camps all day. Of course your stories of the latter two are not from this century. Could you maybe consider that the Jewish trauma is quite fresh and their current determination to seek safety in numbers is a reasonable result?

      You take for granted all of the safety, numbers and communities you do have. For instance, the queer community is still a safe place for you but as you can see it is not a safe place for the “wrong” kind of Jew. You also have a massive amount of people in your diaspora and even more concentrated in ethno countries throughout the world. Lastly, the sheer number of people and communities that stand with you when even 1 of your people here in my country is brutalized is staggering.

      I can’t imagine all of those privileges but I sure wouldn’t take them for granted.

      As for Haiti I wouldn’t try to argue or make any proclamations. I know that it is dangerous to a cause to only have a little knowledge and so I don’t speak out of turn.

      As for your defiance in calling yourself British. Good for you? I suppose my defiance is then in calling Israel my homeland no matter how many people today and throughout history try to take that away.

      • Absolutely Big Sigh. It must be nice for Haley’s Comment to be able to say that her safety comes from other marginalized communities supporting each other. Of course Jews are big supporters of other marginalized communities but do we have anyone supporting us? Nah. Everyone here is on the highest horse I’ve ever seen.

  5. Shame on autostraddle for being complicit in making the queer community a less safe space for the majority of Jews in the world. Their limited understanding of the conflict and willingness to spread false narratives makes them dangerous to freedom and peace for all people.

  6. Why in hell Jewish ppl are the only minority that doesn’t have the right to live safely in their home land ISRAEL. After many years of dehumanizing Israeli women you just can’t even acknowledge the horror that happened to us. How dare you take our fight and align it with a conflict you don’t nothing about ! You are dragging our flight years back . What a privileged you have to drop the hart or our fight. what about our trans brothers and sisters what they are going to gain from calling free Palestine??? What about those women that are held hostage being raped who is going to fight for them??

    • Anti Zionist???my wife Jewish grandmother lived in Palestine from late 1800??? So why we don’t deserve to live in peace together. You are just brainwashed you don’t care about the facts. Israel is the only safe state in the Middle East for gay ppl. what about the Islam treatment for gay ppl or women. You came up with this theory that Israel is the responsible for all the wrongs in the Middle East . This calls antisemitism. The last person did that was Hitler putting the blame on the Jewish ppl in Europe. 1 million Jewish ppl were expelled from Arab countries in 48? What about those ppl? What about my grandparents that were expelled from Poland after their family were murdered in death camps by white Europeans. Jewish ppl are small minority and we deserve the protection like any other minority.

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