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Letter To Boston's Queer Community

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Dear Boston Queer/LGBTQPI… Community Members and Allies, The Boston Pride Committee has chosen a divisive theme (and imagery: see left) for Boston Pride that glorifies militarism and shows a misplaced sense of priorities. In response, concerned organizations and individuals have formed the Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition to encourage our community to think about the issues of militarism, corporitization, transphobia, sexism, and racism that are presented by the theme. We are asking for your support and solidarity in ignoring the Boston Pride Committee's theme by including the messages below on your floats, signs, and other Pride materials, and by wearing something hot pink on the day of Boston Pride.

ASK: Why celebrate militarism? We believe that it is wrong to echo militaristic culture for our queer pride celebration when thousands of lives are being lost due to the bloody and increasingly senseless occupation of Iraq. We believe that it is wrong that billions of dollars are spent funding war and occupation around the world while the needs of our veterans and our society's countless other human needs are left unattended. Furthermore, we stand against the trend of prioritizing the fight against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at a time when the youth of our community are facing an epidemic of homelessness, and the transgender people of our community are facing violence and discrimination at every level of our society. There is no pride in war and occupation.

TELL the truth about injustice! We believe that the language that the Boston Pride Committee has chosen creates the impression that Pride is a day for LGBT people to put our lives on display for the straight, dominant culture. Not all of us are willing or safely able to answer any question asked of us, as the theme suggests. While, this theme celebrates “our service to society,” we believe that Pride should not be a day in which we celebrate our "service" to the dominant culture, but a day for ourselves to celebrate our pride in being who we are. We reject this language because many of us are not willing or able to proclaim our pride in what we do for an occupation, to make money, or to "serve." We live in a society in which queer immigrants are enduring violent, terrifying raids at work and home. We live in a society in which many transgender people cannot find jobs due to discrimination. We believe it is unfair, offensive, and in some cases dangerous to encourage the most discriminated against members of our community to march in pride of our "service."

ACT to transform our community, country, and the world! We owe it to ourselves and to the many brave queer people who came before us to continue the legacy of proud resistance that accompanies queer pride celebrations. We must embrace a spirit of liberation. We believe that there are countless ways to express pride in our identities without allowing ourselves to become owned by Big Pharma, Airlines, Credit Cards, Liquor Companies, and Banks. Major corporations have no right to exploit and profit off of our community. Our sexualities and genders are shaped by all the identities we carry. We believe that in order to truly celebrate our queerness we must make the choice to stand up against racism, sexism, classism, militarism, assimilation, and all systems of oppression.

Please join us in making a visual impact at Boston Pride by including these messages of resistance and social justice in your signs, floats, and materials. Instead of camo,wear hot pink on Pride day!

In Solidarity, Happy Queer Pride!

The Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition

P.S. Our Coalition meetings are every Sunday at 5PM at Community Church in Copley Square. All are welcome to attend.


Anonymous said...

What is the P in LGBTQPI?

Mark D. Snyder said...

Some say polyamory, some say pansexual - we'll just let it be for both.
We could probably add about 15 more letters... lol

Anonymous said...

oh jesus. look, i am about as queer as they get, and i oppose militarism, but seriously, are we really going to spend Pride attacking a theme that's meant to be cute/ironic? i really don't think the Pride organizers sat down and said "oooh, let's glorify militarism." seriously, let's pick our battles, eh?

Mark D. Snyder said...

We are sparking important, long over-due discussions in our community by pointing out the problems with the theme. This is about more than just criticizing the theme, it is about pointing out important discussions about race, class, etc. that are important to have - always.

The pride committee did sit down and discuss this theme, and they admit it was going to be more military to begin with, and they admit they knew it would be "controversial."

They have said that they welcome the discussion, so let's let the discussion continue to thrive!

Richard W Lewis Sr said...

Let me begin by saying that I very much admire the work of our youth as seen through Queer Today and the tremendous efforts of Mark Snyder and his people.

However, guys I am just as gay as y'all and yet I reside right in the middle of Corporate America, yup Senior Executive Management no less. While I am recognizing my bias here let me further add that I came to Corporate America after a very fullfilling career in Command of Combat Infantry Paratroops.

I rather fear that you have now completely turned off to whatever I might say as a result of who I am. My message is this: Let us work together, let us respect the fact that earning a significantly higher than average income in Corporate America is not automaticaly a bad thing, let us recognize that many of us are truly proud of our military service and finally let us recognize that we are ALL Americans and no matter how different our lifestyles we are ALL Gay and it is imperative that we stand together, we support each other. We need each other guys!

Tom said...

Thank you Mark for continuing to give Pride and the LGBT a wake up call on this one. Sure I wish Pride could be all about inclusion and queer visibility, but the committee needs to understand that this "whatever" attitude about selections of themes is reckless.

Oh, I got an invitation from the Log Cabins again (they just don't quit) and speaking about a "military theme" and cluelessness...if I become a "trustee" menaing give them $ 1200 I get to go to a parade at the Marine Barracks. You know, I have very mixed feelings about gays in the military for many reasons, I have gay friends in the military and it breaks my heart to hear what they go through. BUT what is even more upsetting to me is the "fetishizing" of the military like Pride did and the Log Cabins.

July 13 - Washington, DC - Log Cabin Trustee DC Fly-In
Supporters who are giving at the "Trustee" level and above are invited to attend the DC Fly-In. Participants will spend the day on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress, hearing from pundits and policymakers, and enjoying fun social events. The program portion of the day will feature Amy Walter, Editor-in-Chief of The Hotline, offering her insights about the political environment in Washington and the 2008 election cycle. The day will conclude with the Evening Parade, a formal military parade at the Marine Barracks. This is a day you won't want to miss. For more information contact Jimmy LaSalvia. Click here to become a Log Cabin Trustee.

Trevor Wright said...

Tom, that is so funny! I would DIE, if I ever found myself spending the day with the LCR's.

Tom said...

Trevor, I just thought of something and it would be interesting to find this out...

Are there any Log Cabins (or just plain gay Republicans) under 30 years old?

There will be "sell out" gays working on Republican campaigns if the money is right--and it can be very profitable, but I am talking about just the college age kids and post grads who are jumping to "sign up."

Mark D. Snyder said...

Richard, we are not attacking any individuals or even the pride committee- we are sparking long overdue discussions about race, class, militarism, etc. sparked by the theme chosen. These discussions are important to have no matter what side you are on.

We appreciate everyone's good intentions and hard-work but we must have these discussions. I think I can speak for most of the queertoday group in saying that we think the best way to support our troops is to bring them home now and give them the medical and psychological care they deserve.

I assure you the people of queertoday (and by the way most but not all of us are young adults but we are not a youth organization) stand in solidarity with all members of our community and do not seek to divide.

We recognize the hard work and good intentions of the Pride Committee but we must speak out about the issues presented by the theme.

I can also assure you, and everyone else who is criticizing us for "picking this fight," that we all work hard every single day at our jobs and volunteer activities to create a better more "just" world - and this issue with the pride theme is barely the scope or magnitude of the work queertoday bloggers and activists do in our daily lives.

The activists and bloggers of QueerToday are not "my people" as you suggest. We disagree all the time and we debate openly all the time. I am the founder of queertoday but we all are free to post anything at anytime on this blog, and we are free to contribute whatever and however much we would like to the cause so long as we believe in the principles of social justice and identify as queer.

The fact that there are few local businesses, and mostly large corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration sponsoring Pride is troubling to many and it should be discussed.

Thanks for your compliments, and for visiting :)