Pride is a Protest – Not a Parade | Publisher's Corner

Photo Composite by Craig Tuggle. Photo via adobe.com.

The first Pride was a riot. Many LGBT folks especially BIPOC people of trans experience were forced to defend themselves from the harassment and brutality of the police and partook in a days-long rebellion in the streets of New York City.

Those brave souls started a worldwide movement. Nowadays Pride is nothing more than a remnant of a remnant a party without a purpose.

What does the LGBT community have to celebrate in Florida?

Gov. Ron DeSantis and his cronies have declared war on our community. Theyre targeting every aspect of the LGBT alphabet from gender-affirming care for transgender youth to drag shows, and any gay men and allies who object - are branded as groomers” – even high school students.

DeSantis is winning.

There is no appeasing our hate-filled governor or todays far-right conservatives. DeSantis won by 19 points in November a landslide in Florida politics. Its no wonder he feels so emboldened to push his bigotry down our throats.

We all know hes not trying to protect children or champion parental rights. As other stories have pointed out, hes not targeting rated R movies or establishments like Hooters.

Theres no working with someone who isnt operating in good faith. Give him an inch and hell take a thousand miles or more. His actions have stopped the progress of the LGBT community in Florida dead in its tracks.

He objected to a Black studies class because it included queer theory. Hes targeting books with LGBT characters and themes. Hes banned gender-affirming care for our trans youth. Hes expanded the Dont Say Gay bill to include all grades. 

DeSantistactics are scaring our allies into submission. Hes using his executive powers to silence and erase us while his allies in the legislature do his bidding.

DeSantis is winning.

Getting anything done on a statewide level in Florida was always an uphill battle, but we could at least count on our local leaders to champion our causes.

No more.

In 2021 the school board in Miami-Dade voted 7-1 to recognize LGBT history month. In 2022, they voted 8-1 against it. In Broward we have a school board member speaking at anti-LGBT rallies and calling on the Proud Boys to protect the children.

Even our local LGBT leaders are negotiating with known homophobes.

In 2021 conservatives were outraged over a school field trip to a local gay-owned restaurant - despite the fact the trip took place before opening hours and the racymenu had been swapped out for a kid-friendly version. The community, and our allies, rallied behind the establishment. In 2022 the annual field trip did not take place. Wonder why?

DeSantis is winning.

For years we counted on the courts to protect us, but thats no longer guaranteed. Recently a court overturned our local bans against practicing conversion therapy on minors. The Supreme Court may very well allow certain businesses to discriminate against gay weddings. If that happens, right-wing conservatives will not stop there. They will most surely find new ways to discriminate against us.

Remember when conservatives told us they were just protecting the children? Dont believe their talking points. These extremists are not operating in good faith.

I have no doubt DeSantis will look for now ways to target our community. Hes already instilled fear into the leaders of many of our Pride organizations.

But it can get worse. This year has shown that. Imagine him taking his anti-LGBTQ crusade to the White House. 

DeSantis is winning.

Were too busy planning parties, galas and more. But what do those things all mean when the government is stripping us of our rights?

Where are the LGBT-friendly businesses DeSantis has targeted? Theyre silently negotiating a way to stay in business.

Now is the time to be loud and proud and bold. Instead were cowering in fear. Our leaders are looking for ways to appease DeSantis - to avoid his wrath. No one wants to be his next target.

DeSantis is winning.

How much will we give up before we decide as a community DeSantis has gone too far? What will it take?

DeSantis has already attempted to curtail our right to assemble and protest through an anti-riot law he championed after the Black Lives Matter protests. The ACLU called it the anti-peaceful protest law blasting it for being broad, and vague, and warned it would have a chilling effect. Luckily a federal judge has blocked parts of the law from taking effect for now.

DeSantis is winning. And were letting him.

I am reminded of the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. who once said, The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

That proclamation wasnt a call to non-action, to do nothing. The universe may indeed bend towards justice, but only if we push it along.

King also said in that speech: The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.

So when we celebrate just remember what the LGBT folks at the Stonewall Inn risked when they fought back against harassment, discrimination and bigotry their lives and livelihoods.

Now ask yourself this: what are you willing to risk to protect future generations of LGBT people?

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