Stand in solidarity with Occupride!

English: Photos of Occupy Wall Street on Day 2...

English: Photos of Occupy Wall Street on Day 20, October 5, the day of the big march with unions in solidarity with OWS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an organizer for the Portland Occupride, I have encountered a lot of oppositions to this action.  I do not think, aside from the “diversity of tactics” actions involving property destruction, this has been by far the most controversial actions in the Occupy movement in Portland.

I find that there are two reasons why some Occupiers are against Occupride:

1. Misunderstanding. They thought this is an action or demonstration against Pride — and therefore protesting the LGBT community.  They feel that it would make Occupy look anti-gay, or at the very least, misdirected.

2. Privilege. As the intentions for the Occupride became better communicated, the first group of oppositions is diminishing. At the same time, I am hearing a lot from those who have personal investment and stake in the “Gay Community”  institutions including Pride NW, Q Center, and Portland Area Business Association (PABA, the “Portland’s GLBT Chamber of Commerce”), who are also Occupiers.  It is really telling that almost all of these come from white, middle-class/professional, cisgendered, gay men (and some older white lesbians who have attained similar social standings after “tough decades of fighting”).  On the other hand, the worldwide Occupride has been by far driven by the working-class, often people-of-color, lower income, younger, often genderqueer, gender-atypical or trans activists who are not assimilated into the culture of the One Percent Gay Elite and are not about to assimilate.

If you are feeling uncomfortable with the idea of Occupying the Pride, first please check your own privilege and understand how much better you have it by choosing to become part of the very institution that continues to oppress and marginalize the Others.

~s

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