Pride month has been marked, as usual, by an avalanche of rainbow-painted multinational corporation logos (in countries where this is a good marketing strategy, of course) that will come to disappear in the next few days. On top of this, a State variant of the same pinkwashing strategy has developed – rainbow flags over the government palace, a widely mocked rainbow-painted police car, the huge Frente Amplio contingent at the pride march led by congresspeople, constitutional convention representatives and mayors who are accomplices and ideologues of the violent repression that takes place in the same street that they paraded down.
Once again, as anticapitalist queers, as marikas of the South, we have to come forward and denounce the transparent attempt by the ruling party to use and coopt our struggles. As trans and travesti sex workers are attacked and murdered in the streets, as a trans man is in prison por defending himself from a hate crime, as LGBTQIA+ teenagers take their own lives because of harassment at school, the response from the patriarchal State has only ever been silence. However, this government has now given itself the luxury of using us to rehabilitate the image of one of the institutions that has most violently attacked queer people, women and all peoples that live in this territory.
This strategy is not new nor is it unique to the current management of the capitalist State in this region of the world; on the contrary, it has been largely historically developed in the United States and Israel, who also pinkwash their image internationally, presenting themselves as defenders of LGBTQIA+ rights, while in reality they enforce the most brutal aspects of the cisheteropatriarchy inside and outside their borders. Queer people will not be complicit in pinkwashing the State’s most repressive institutions, which enact patriarchal violence upon our bodies, nor will we give points to a government over some symbolic gestures that do not impact our material reality.
We will not be content with simply assimilating to capitalism as yet another demographic to be catered to as consumers. We cannot forget that our supposed integration is only available to those who are somewhat more acceptable for the cisheteropatriarchy, for those who aspire to assimilate into a family unit, and for those whose bodies capitalism and the patriarchy can comfortably exploit. Trans and nonbinary people are practically excluded from the formal workforce, or we are forcibly stuck inside at a closet at our workplaces; any attempt at assimilation – even if that’s what we wanted – is impossible for us, so we are forced to manage our lives in much more precarious conditions. Queer people who are also migrants, indigenous or Black, confront this reality even more crudely in a colonial State. Therefore, we cannot simply assimilate to capitalism. As long as capitalism exists, even if it paints itself rainbow, we will never be free.
This is why it’s important to remember the spirit and origin of pride month, wherein we commemorate times of struggle, rebellion and uprising. 53 years ago, led by racialized trans women sex workers, queer people who frequented the Stonewall Inn in New York broke out in an uprising against a police raid that tried to enforce a law outlawing crossdressing. Even after the uprising, solidarity and mutual aid organizations created a lasting and resilient community in that territory, even leading later down the line to organizations that would help get through the worst of the AIDS crisis. Closer to our territories, and 13 days earlier, something similar happened in Antofagasta, on Huanchaca street, where over 50 queer people faced the police when they arrived to shut down and raid a birthday party. This is all to say that our community has been shaped by a history of struggle that we must claim each and every day. That is where we will find a path to queer liberation, and the liberation of all. It is only through radical mobilization and organization in our territories and as queer people, that we will be able to rid ourselves of the chains of capitalism and cisheteropatriarchy.
Only our struggle will free us!
Towards the creation of autonomous safe spaces!
Combative queers against capitalism and patriarchy!
★ Liberación ★
July 3rd, 2022