Pride celebrations have begun in the township I live in, Belfast, a place where a brand of ignorant homophobia pervades the largest local political party. In a deeply divided society with enduring scars of conflict, sectarian division and antagonism, there is a great deal of ‘territoriality’ about all things progressive. Those who purport to present themselves as the forerunners of LGB and Trans activism, just like activists in many other sectors, are very keen to claim ownership of LGBTQI issues, and sideline voices that are different to their own, or coming from people from who do not fall within their careerist agendas. Across the world, Pride is a highly commercialised event in which businesses seek profit. Many organisations try to benefit from Pride by flying the rainbow flag and pretending to be supportive of LGBTQI people. Pride is also an event with a past marked by racial and transphobic discrimination. Very few pride events across the world care to remember and honour the memory of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of colour, who pioneered the Stonewall riots. What we know as pride today is an event dominated by cis white gay men, who think they are entitled to draw boundaries and lines, and exercise control over everything LGBTIQ. This arrogance was clearly apparent, for instance, at the 2015 Pride reception at the White House, when Jennicet Guttiérrez, a trans woman of colour and a leading activist at Familia TQLM, interrupted Barack Obama’s all but hollow Pride speech. The largely white audience booed Guttiérrez, and she was forcibly removed from the event. This year, Guttiérrez was not invited, and the White House pride reception included people of colour, also trans women of colour, who, as opposed to the very courageous Guttiérrez, do not cross boundaries put in place by the establishment, who do their activism in a way in which white supremacist arrogance and discriminatory practices are not called out or held accountable.
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