Editorial: Charlotte Pride should keep it political

The organizers of Charlotte Pride, which will take place in August, recently denied the request of a group called Gays for Trump to march in their parade. Peter Boykin, the president of Gays for Trump, said in a statement that he condemns “the rejection of anyone from our movement being condemned from the “Gay Community” one that so called preaches diversity.”

That’s bullshit.

This is not to say that Pride is meant to be comfortable, or that differences of opinion are unacceptable at Pride events. The LGBTQ+ community has seen its fair share of debate and in-fighting (see: the use of the term "queer," the place of allies in safe spaces, the discourse surrounding bisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality, the representation of LGBTQ+ identities in the media, the impact of race, class, age and creed on those identities, the often painfully-felt disconnect between cis and trans people). It's not always cohesive or monolithic, nor should it be.

But Pride is political. It’s easy to forget this now, as corporations that less than a decade ago donated to homophobic and transphobic politicians line up to fill booths at pride events and the same police that have victimized queer people line up on the sides of parades. 

Pride parades began as a tribute to the Stonewall Riots — an uprising of transgender women and drag queens of color taking a stand against a legal system that considered their identities and existence a crime. 

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village was ""the gay bar in the city;" it was one of the only, if not the only, place where people of color, drag queens, homeless youth and butch women could dance. It was also illegal by several standards — the bar operated without a liquor license, and men in drag and women in menswear were subject to arrest. Police raids were common. But on June 28, 1969, the patrons of the bar fought back, and thus Pride — and the slow progress of the Gay Civil Rights Movement — began.  

The LGBTQ+ community doesn't stick to just one set of beliefs, but sometimes a unified front is necessary. It was necessary for Marsha P. Johnson and her trans sisters. It was necessary in the fight for marriage equality. And it is necessary as the community rallies against a President who keeps the authors of homophobic legislation in his Cabinet, against a President who counts — and does not denounce — hate groups as his supporters. 

Pride is not meant to be comfortable. But it is sheer insanity to accept a group who actively is going against their own rights, and that of their LGBTQ+ brethren, at an event meant to celebrate their resilience. And it is well within the defiant spirit of Pride to deny them the right to claim a space that they've voted and worked against.

Thanks for reading.

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