The commercialisation of Pride is nothing new, though I suppose its acceleration is unsurprising when you consider the nasty political landscape we find ourselves in today. So, it wasn’t a shock when a friend of mine observed the involvement of a well-known drinks brand at the London event last Saturday (yes, that brand: the one that refused to let consumers customise their bottles with ‘lesbian’ last year) and found that though there was “no passion or sex or politics”, they did have an MOD mobile cinema showing fighter jets.
It’s therefore interesting to note that some of the recent ‘feminist’ objections to Pride-related messages of trans inclusion in shops have not been focused on commercialisation, but a perception of discrimination against so-called ‘sex realists’. (I’m not linking to such people and Googling the term comes with a content warning.)
This seems to me like a bizarre attachment to centring transphobes as ‘the real victims’ when commercial rainbow activity from big brands is often not even that deep. It’s just a well-meaning but mostly superficial gesture that is partly about trying to be nice, kind and inclusive, but is surely mostly about adhering to equality standards and moving with the times in order to continue being profitable as a business. I honestly doubt many places have ‘upsetting TERFs’ as a serious business objective.
But activists refusing to be intersectional or work with ‘other’ liberation movements because they think their particular priorities will be somehow compromised doesn’t feel new either. [See Black Panther, Huey B. Newton’s speech about uniting with the women’s liberation and gay liberation movements for a challenge to this in 1970.] It seems that, for some, thinking about anyone other than those exactly like them is a degrading and risky imposition to be resisted at all costs – even if some of those costs are to themselves.
And with that: over to the links!
As always, the articles in this round-up haven’t been endorsed by the whole team. We do our best to add appropriate content notes, but some links may contain further upsetting details about oppression and injustice, so please click with caution. And if you notice we’ve missed out any important articles/issues from the past week or would simply like to share your thoughts (particularly if you attended the GLF’s Pride anniversary protest against the Tories on 1 July!) do please get in touch with us via the comment form at the bottom of this page…
This week’s links were sourced and compiled by Holly, with thanks to Lissy and Connie for contributions and to Nettie from GLF for sharing her knowledge, experience and insights.
I was at the first Pride march 50 years ago today. Here’s what it taught me (Stuart Feather, openDemocracy) From the article: “Coming out was important, GLF told us, because most heterosexuals thought they didn’t know any lesbians or gays. They needed to see that we were (more or less) just like them. That we counted – that we were not simply to be tolerated, but acknowledged for who we were.
“GLF taught us that it was not we who were sick, but society. That it was not us who should change, but society. Confronted by the necessity of coming out, I felt disgusted at my deceit – at my lack of self-worth and gay pride.”
Gay Liberation Front veterans reflect on ‘radical’ changes since UK’s first-ever Pride march (Patrick Kelleher, PinkNews) From the article: “Things have changed radically in the last 10 years. I think the movement got pretty complacent. People were saying things like, ‘Well we’ve got gay marriage and anti-discrimination laws, we don’t really need to exist anymore.’ But some of us were saying, ‘Yes, but for how long?’ It doesn’t mean we mightn’t be more oppressed again in the future, and I think we can see the way things are going. There are terrible things happening around the world with Roe v Wade and the issue of conversion therapy, which the government pretends they’re going to outlaw for lesbians and gays but which they’ll refuse to outlaw for trans people. We’ll have to see if they actually do anything – I don’t think they’re going to do anything for anybody. They’re just targeting trans people because they’re not as popular as the ‘respectable’ lesbians and gays” [Nettie Pollard, who took part in the original GLF march].
Gay pride veterans ‘snubbed’ by event (Melissa York, The Times)
[The ‘share token’ link here is needed to circumvent paywall as far as I can tell] From the article: “Hundreds of marchers, some in their seventies and eighties, walked the original route taken by members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in 1972 from Trafalgar Square to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park.
“According to a GLF press release, the volunteer-run body that organises Pride in London with the Mayor of London’s office initially approached the front to ask for historic information and to offer payment in return for banners, but talks stalled when members asked to lead the main parade, ‘an honour GLF thought it deserved on its 50th anniversary’.” Also seethis press release from the London GLF:
“Gay Liberation Front stands with all forcibly and systemically marginalised people. We’re Black, we’re Trans, we’re people of colour, we’re white and we’re un-abled. We invite UK Black Pride and Trans Pride, and all who can’t stand what Cameron, May, and Johnson have done to this country, to join us…
“…GLF has never been beholden to corporate interest or neoliberalism’s assimilationist demands, nor have we courted the favour of politicians and charlatans. We believe in the power of the people, in accountability and that a politics of solidarity is essential to ‘pride’.”
UK’s first Pride march couldn’t be further from Pride in London, original marchers say (Patrick Kellher, PinkNews)
“[Dan] Glass and other GLF activists are profoundly concerned by some of the organisations that are allowed to march in Pride in London, including police (Pride in London made a last-minute announcement after this interview, following widespread calls, that uniformed police would not be welcome at its march), arms companies, and ‘capitalist institutions which perpetuate economic austerity’.
“‘The people who started Pride don’t want to have anything to do with that,’ Glass says. ‘That’s why we’re doing a separate one, to draw a line in the sand between the distinctive political differences.'”
Thanks for the video, Pride in London, but it’s time for a total rethink (Rob Harkavy, Out News) From the article: “Of course, big business could do the decent thing and donate their parade spots to ordinary LGBTQ+ people while still paying for them, which would allow more ordinary punters to attend while the event receives the cash it needs, but then they would miss out on those lovely photo opportunities which make the diversity and inclusion pages of their websites so right-on.”
Why are transphobes so transphobic? (Brian Hughes, The Science Bit) From the article: “…Transphobes tend to score high on scales that measure social dominance orientation. In other words, they tend to be the type of people who always want to be in control. A recent large-scale study from Belgium — which examined more than 5,600 adults — found a recurring pattern of relatively high dominance scores among transphobes, a finding borne out in a subsequent study by researchers in Poland. Similarly, several studies have shown that transphobia is also related to various measures of authoritarianism.
“So far, so obvious, perhaps. But some aspects of the transphobic personality are a bit more subtle. For instance, research suggests that transphobes are much more likely to score high on a variable known as ‘need for closure.’ This means they are the type of people who favour clarity and concreteness over abstractness. They look for quick answers to complex questions, and find ambiguity inherently frustrating. By contrast, people who have high risk-tolerance thresholds — in other words, people who are generally unperturbed by uncertainty — are relatively less likely to hold anti-trans views.”
The Metamorphosis of J.K. Rowling (Sarah Wheaton, Politico) [via Lissy and Holly]
[CN: transphobia, disablist language] From the article: “Fiona Robertson, a Scottish National Party activist who worked on the proposed gender-identification overhaul that Rowling objected to, called the novelist’s intervention in the debate “a perfect campaign in terms of radicalizing people.” Rowling’s essay, Robertson said, kicked off a vicious circle, as ‘a huge influx of people with no grounding and no knowledge on this issue’ adopted language perceived as hateful by the trans community — which responded by lashing back.
“Skeptics of trans rights who had cast their objections as ‘just asking questions’ found permission in Rowling’s letter to go ‘full in on the cruelty,’ Robertson said. ‘It enabled and ennobled,’ she added. ‘People felt like they had a champion on their side, and significantly a champion with a fuckton of money.'”
So, I see Jowling is trending again (Twitter thread, @phoenix_7_9) From the thread: “This is the same tactic used by virulent Islamophobes. Each time an extremist does something horrific, the average, everyday person on the street is suddenly expected to loudly denounce them or be seen as agreeing. This [ignores] that the community has a long record of denouncing such acts, each time the clock is reset. The conversation, which may have progressed, returns to the same point and must start over. The same is happening with the trans community and its allies. Every time some utter dipshit does something vile, everyone is expected to stop what they are doing, condemn the Vile Thing and then the conversation starts over, back at the beginning. And this is intentional, it is a deliberate effort to derail conversation. To stop any attempts at discourse.”
The unity of our movements terrifies them: Pride and right-wing backlash against LGBTQ people (Natalia Marques, people’s dispatch) [US]
[Interview with transgender rights activist Morgan Artyuhkina] From the article: “We’re on the cusp of something even bigger. That’s what they’re afraid of. They’re afraid, as I said, of the movement for trans lives and for LGBTQ rights becoming thoroughly enmeshed with the movement to fight against police terror, to fight against the police state, to fight for tenant’s rights and to fight against imperialism. The ability to link all of those things together is extremely, extremely dangerous to the capitalist order.”
Pride Month: The power of intergenerational friendships for LGBT+ people (Joanna Whitehead, The Independent) From the article: “Lois, 27, from North London, cites her involvement in bi and queer activism as instrumental in fostering the intergenerational friendships in her life. ‘The people I’m closest to, I met about five years ago. They’re actually the people who got me into bi activism, and they’ve since become friends and mentors,’ she says. In addition, she also knows a lot of people from older generations ‘who have become — almost in the chosen family sense — like distant aunties or uncles or cousins to me’.”
How Black women put an end to R. Kelly’s ‘violence, cruelty and control’ (Evette Dionne, MSNBC)
[CN: abuse, misogynoir, adultification] From the article: “Kelly isn’t facing such a reckoning because people finally began caring about the harm Black girls experienced. It’s because Black women — including Kelly’s former background singer Sparkle, journalist Jamilah Lemieux, writer Mikki Kendall, filmmaker dream hampton and activist Tarana Burke, to name a few — continued to sound the alarm, even when it was costly and dangerous to do so. I first became aware of Kelly’s history of ensnaring underage Black girls in his abusive trap about 10 years ago.”
“…Reproductive rights in America are under direct and unrelenting assault. This is only possible because of Purity Culture and the desire to control women’s autonomy. Current events are tied so closely to the purpose of these two books that we felt it necessary to speed up the timeline. This is an all hands on deck moment in history and we’re doing what we do best to fight back.”
How I May Destroy You is helping make stealthing a crime in Chile (Charis McGowen, gal-dem)
[CN: mention of rape and harassment] From the article: “For Orsini, Coel’s writing revealed that lack of justice is shared by abuse survivors across the world, ‘The series is set in the UK … but [survivors] experience the same difficulties as women here,’ she reflects. ‘The feminist fight is international. We have to constantly look to other countries to advance equality for all, not only in our countries.'”
Are You Ready to Be Surveilled Like a Sex Worker? (Olivia Snow, Wired) From the article: “If abortion legislation continues to mimic restrictions on sex work, Big Tech will use the artificial intelligence currently shadowbanning and suspending sex workers’ accounts to target users it suspects are seeking abortions. Because the suppression is primarily algorithmic, meaning that it’s embedded in computer code designed to improve user experience and streamline content moderation, it’s invisible to those of us using these technologies as products—in fact, it’s already happening, and it has been happening for years.”
Sex workers warned us about the US right – now it’s time to listen (Liara Roux, Dazed Digital)
[CN: authoritarianism in reproductive health, medical control] From the article: “The right is outlawing abortion for the same reason white women campaigned against prostitution after they realised it was a far more lucrative career for the Black women they used to exploit as slaves or servants in their homes. By foisting the skyrocketing cost of reproductive labour onto people in precarious situations, instead of subsidising childcare, the right seeks to create a continuously renewable supply of cheap labour.”
It is time for white supremacy to be rooted out of the Aid Sector (Lena Bheeroo and Jon Cornejo, Charity so White)
[Response to the IDC report on Racism in the Aid Sector] From the article: “The full story has yet to be told. The story of how white supremacist ideals of superiority over African, Asian, Arab, and Native American people have shaped the ideologies at the heart of the development sector. How white saviour narratives created to bring ‘civilisation’ and ‘help’ to people across the colonies, created movements that erased the histories of many non-white people and caused irreparable damage to their ways of life. How wealth extraction throughout the colonial project created the material conditions for generations of Black and Brown people to live and die in extreme poverty. And how the development sector as we know it, provides for basic needs without dismantling the unequal power structures that would ultimately enable communities to control their own destinies. This full story of how colonialism still shapes the development sector needs to be told, and this report did not give us that.”
Against Swooping In (Kate Manne, More To Hate) [via Lissy]
[CN: racism, linked disablism, classism] From the article: “One of the texts I always assign alongside Singer is Tressie McMillan Cottom’s characteristically brilliant piece, ‘Why Do Poor People ‘Waste’ Money on Luxury Goods?’ which makes the point that what counts as a luxury good for a white person may be a literal lifeline for a person of color. A camel-colored suit and pearl earrings helped her mother get her neighbor the benefits to which she was entitled at the social service agency. The lack of a silk shell cost a Black woman a desk job at a cosmetology school McMillan Cottom once worked for. It was denied to her by a Black VP, notably. Looking neat and presentable in minimally respectable, clean clothes is enough for someone with Singer’s privilege and prestige; for a poor Black woman, it may be grossly insufficient.”
The Latest Tory Privatisation of Our NHS (Johnbosco Nwogbo, Tribune) [via @mswhitehead100] From the article: “Integrated Care Systems mainly affect the planning and commissioning of services. NHS campaigners have argued that increasing the role of private companies at the level where decisions about who provides services are made will bring in profit calculations and therefore worsen the quality of the service people receive from the NHS…
“…We Own It has developed a tool, which makes it easy to see which ICS you’re part of, and who the chair of that ICS is. Once you find out, you can contact them and demand they rule out allowing private companies to sit on these boards. 20,000 people have already contacted their local ICS chair—and ten ICS chairs have already ruled private companies out.”
The featured image shows a mass of rainbow flags, held aloft by a large crowd at a demonstration (seen from the back). This is by PxHere and is released free of copyrights, under a Creative Commons CC0 license.
We welcome discussion on our social media pages or via the comment form near the bottom of this page: if you scroll past ‘Related posts’, you’ll find the comment box below ‘Leave a reply’.
Any abusive comments – including those containing ageist, anti-sex-worker, classist, disablist, fatphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist or transphobic language – will be left unpublished (or result in deletion or blocking, in the case of social media).