Pride is protest. It has to be. Because homophobic and biphobic hate crimes have doubled in the last four years. Because, horrifically, last year more trans and gender-non-conforming people were recorded as being murdered around the world than at any other time since figures began. Because, both internationally and here in Britain, LGBTQIA+ rights are under attack.
Tory reactionary policies
The more engulfed by crisis the Tories become, the more they push poisonous and reactionary policies, such as the exclusion of trans people from the so-called ban on conversion therapy. The aim of this was to play to people’s fears and whip up hatred, dividing working-class people and creating a handy distraction from Partygate and the cost-of-living crisis.
From the attacks on abortion rights, to ‘Don’t Say Gay’, to the whipping up of racism, these right-wing representatives of the billionaire class are seeking to use so-called ‘culture wars’ to secure a base for themselves in a context of ongoing capitalist crisis.
But throughout Pride month, this cynical ‘woke capitalism’ jars with the everyday experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. The same companies who use Pride as a marketing opportunity, discriminate against LGBTQIA+ employees, offer low-waged and insecure work, and, in some cases, even support oppressive laws and regimes (Disney, for example).
Pro-capitalist politicians, like those from Starmer’s New Blairite Labour leadership, will rock up for a quick photo-op while neglecting to protect LGBTQIA+ rights from their opposition seats.
The fact that some capitalist companies and politicians are now forced to at least pay lip service to support for LGBTQIA+ rights is testament not to their benevolence, but to the brave and heroic struggles of queer people.
History of struggle
From the Stonewall Riots to the struggle for same-sex marriage across the world, LGBTQIA+ people have been at the forefront of social change, leading the fight against police brutality, oppression and exploitation.
It is these best traditions of militant organising and mass protest which we must look towards and reclaim for today. Without struggle, there is no progress.
Pride is an opportunity for building solidarity with all those fighting back against this cruel system. The same government that is hyping up a culture war and attacking queer rights is also launching a battle against workers striking for better working and living conditions.
The strike action by rail workers shows the power of working people to bring the country to a standstill. We must follow the tradition of the militant queer community by organising solidarity with striking workers, taking inspiration from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners during the historic Miners’ Strikes of the 1980s.
Fight to defend our rights!
The LGBTQIA+ community must fight together with the workers’ movement to advance our common interests and defend our rights against the Tory attacks.
Socialist Alternative fights for every reform or improvement that can be won for working-class and oppressed people now. But we do not limit ourselves to demands which are ‘realistic’ within the confines of this sick system.
Instead, we link the everyday battles workers and oppressed people face with the need to completely transform society. We understand that the rotten capitalist system does not only benefit from the oppression of LGBTQIA+ people, but relies on it to maintain itself.
Fight for queer liberation!
If we want true queer liberation, we have to fight against capitalism and for a socialist world. By bringing the huge monopolies that currently dominate the economy into public ownership, production could be planned democratically to provide for everyone’s needs.
Such a society, founded on the solidarity of the united working-class, would lay the ground for ending all forms of oppression, for tackling the climate crisis, and for removing the artificial constraints created by gender-stereotyping and placed upon sexual expression, allowing for the true flourishing of all.
Socialist Alternative says:
- Pride is Protest – build a mass movement to defend LGBTQIA+ rights and fight all reactionary attempts to turn the clock back
- Invest in public education and fight for LGBTQIA+- inclusive sex and gender education
- Stand with our trans siblings – ban trans conversion therapy. Immediately scrap all barriers to legal self- identification of gender. Fully fund trans healthcare and our NHS, stop the attacks on puberty blockers. No to divide-and-rule within the LGBTQIA+ community and in the workers’ movement more generally
- Unite struggles – Stand with workers on strike and all those facing oppression under capitalism. Ffight for the maximum coordination and escalation of trade union action to fight the cost of living crisis and against workplace and pay discrimination for LGBTQIA+ people Invest in public services — For above inflation pay rises, a minimum wage of £15 an hour, rent controls, council house building and living benefits.
- Build international solidarity – support struggles of LGBTQIA+ people. Defend LGBTQIA+ and reproductive rights around the world
- Fight for socialist change – public ownership and democratic planning to meet the needs of all without destroying the planet