Pride 2024: Solidarity with Gaza

Queers for Palestine march in New York City. SLL photo: Melinda Butterfield

Meet danger with resistance

LGBTQIA+ people greet Pride Month this year with a mixture of joy, fear, and anger. 

Joy at the annual celebration of our vibrant, diverse community and our struggle for liberation, marking the anniversary of the heroic 1969 Stonewall uprising of trans and other queer youth in New York City. 

Fear at the growing tide of anti-trans laws and violence and attacks on all LGBTQIA+ people that seek to kill us or drive us back in the closet.

Anger that so many cisgender and straight allies have not answered our increasingly desperate appeals to join us in fighting back while others have allowed themselves to be influenced or bought off by our enemies.

Queer people, especially trans youth and adults, are in danger. Over half of U.S. states have now enacted laws and regulations aimed at harming trans people. 

These attacks on gender-affirming health care, bodily autonomy, free speech, sports participation, and even our right to use public restrooms feed violence and hate – like the attacks that led to the death of Nex Benedict and so many others.

The corporate-owned media have joined in this hate campaign, gleefully spreading misinformation and stoking the far-right campaign by “just asking questions.” It’s not just Fox News but also mainstream and liberal outlets like the New York Times and the Guardian that are responsible. 

In April, the FBI issued a warning that Pride Month activities were again likely to be targeted by violent extremists. But we know all too well that the FBI, the police, and the military are no friends of queer people. From Stonewall 1969 to West Hollywood 2023, the state’s repressive agencies not only attack us outright but regularly aid and abet neo-Nazis threatening our events. 

The cops and the federal government want us to be too scared to resist while state governments peel away our rights and our ability to even exist in public.

But we refuse to sit by as our rights are stripped away by the far right while Biden offers only “thoughts and prayers.” We refuse to run, and we refuse to stay silent while the Democratic Party and the administration arm, fund, and provide political cover for the ongoing genocide of our Palestinian siblings in Gaza.

Supporting our Palestinian siblings

June marks eight months of genocide in Gaza by the terrorist apartheid state of Israel. Over 35,000 Palestinian people have been killed so far, including over 14,000 children. Among them are uncounted numbers of LGBTQIA+ people. 

Yet there are still people trying to convince us that Israel is a “democracy” that is “queer-friendly” while Palestinians are all homophobic and transphobic barbarians. 

The best answer to this racist lie comes from Palestinian queers themselves: 

“We refuse the instrumentalization of our queerness, our bodies, and the violence we face as queer people to demonize and dehumanize our communities, especially in service of imperial and genocidal acts. We refuse that Palestinian sexuality and Palestinian attitudes towards diverse sexualities become parameters for assigning humanity to any colonized society. We deserve life because we are human, with the multitude of our imperfections, and not because of our proximity to colonial modes of liberal humanity. We refuse colonial and imperialist tactics that seek to alienate us from our society and alienate our society from us on the basis of our queerness. 

“We are fighting interconnected systems of oppression, including patriarchy and capitalism, and our dreams of autonomy, community, and liberation are inherently tied to our desire for self-determination. No queer liberation can be achieved with settler colonization, and no queer solidarity can be fostered if it stands blind to the racialized, capitalist, fascist, and imperial structures that dominate us.

“We, queer Palestinians, are an integral part of our society, and we are informing you: from the heavily militarized alleys of Jerusalem to Huwara’s scorched lands, to Jaffa’s surveilled streets and cutting across Gaza’s besieging walls, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

“We call on queer and feminist activists and groups around the world to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance to displacement, land theft, and ethnic cleansing and their struggle for the liberation of their lands and futures from Zionist settler-colonialism. This call cannot be answered only by sharing statements and signing letters but by an active engagement with decolonial and liberatory struggles in Palestine and around the globe.”

(Full text: A Liberatory Demand from Queers in Palestine)

Queers for Palestine

From coast to coast, a mass movement against genocide and for Palestinian liberation has shaken U.S. society to its foundations. The powers that be, from the White House and Congress to universities and city halls, have failed to repress or brainwash this solidarity movement with false charges of “antisemitism.” Anyone can see that anti-Zionist Jewish people are in the front ranks of this movement.

Also at the center of it, from day one, have been mobilizations of Queers for Palestine. Why?

For eight decades, Palestinians have been:

  • Told they do not actually exist
  • Demonized and dehumanized
  • Driven from their homes
  • Forced to build and rebuild communities of resistance wherever they can
  • Targeted by capitalist powers as scapegoats for the crimes of the system

No wonder so many queer people, especially trans youth, have put their bodies on the line for Palestine! These attacks on the whole Palestinian people parallel on a global scale what so many of us have experienced in our own lives. We empathize, we are in solidarity, and we feel compelled to act.

Just a few decades ago, it was nearly forbidden to mention Palestine even at progressive events in the U.S. But Palestinians’ courage, resistance, and refusal to be silenced, no matter the odds, has won them the solidarity of millions here and billions worldwide. We can, and we must, learn from their example as we work together to end U.S.-Israeli war crimes.

It’s the same U.S. ruling class, the same bosses and profiteers, the same reactionary politicians and media – the same capitalist system – aiming at people in Gaza and trans and queer people here at home. We are all sand in the gears of their efforts to turn back the clock on people’s rights worldwide.

Let’s do whatever we can to unite our struggles, together with all workers and communities under attack, to say: Our rights are not negotiable, and we are not going anywhere!

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