by Jay Rice
It’s always complicated to participate in San Francisco Pride. Against the background of disproportionate LGBTQIA+ homelessness in San Francisco, a supposed “queer mecca,” and the corporate- and cop- washing of a movement rooted in riots and resistance, we carefully considered declining the offer to appear on the main stage.
The event itself celebrated politicians who have terrible and oppressive policy histories that are counter to queer liberation, who donned Pride colors to campaign under the guise of celebrating with our community.
Police have long been enemies of all marginalized groups, and despite persistent (and loud) calls for “cops out of Pride”, the SFPD continues to center their presence in the celebration. This year the police brutally attacked peaceful protestors in a stark reminder of why they have no place in our liberation, and in sharp contrast to the reason we needed Pride in the first place, to counter police targeting and brutality against our community.
Nevertheless, we took to the stage on Pride Sunday, in front of City Hall, to spread the word to housed folks and tourists that LGBTQIA+ homelessness viscerally exists in this City, and that we are all complicit in invisibilizing and marginalizing these family members who are swept out of the way for a celebration that does not celebrate them.
“NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
NO PRIDE IN HOMELESS SWEEPS!!”
“THIS CITY is targeting and oppressing members of OUR family. Our family that is already at massively increased risk of violence, of trauma, of homelessness.
Every day and every night our unsheltered neighbors get no rest or respite. Every June our unsheltered neighbors are swept out of the way for the Pride parade. There is NO PRIDE in homeless sweeps.
All the rainbow-colored police cars in the world could never bring us the future we deserve. There is no Pride in homeless sweeps.
In the words of Stonewall veteran Miss Major:
“The police are destructive to mankind in general, especially to our trans and gender nonconforming community. They are monsters, they are the worst thing to ever happen. Who invited these motherfuckers to be at Pride?”
Our speakers today exemplify resistance, they exemplify resilience.”
The audience chanted with us, they booed the cops, they cheered at our critiques of the City, and of corporate Pride, and they listened carefully to the stories of formerly homeless LGBTQIA+ San Franciscans, who shared impassioned narratives of surviving despite the odds, despite a City that does not care if they live or die as it profits from a “Pride” that is a lie, an insult, when it neglects the most marginalized members of our community.