Queer and trans people of color elevate concerns of racism and transphobia at 47th Annual Boston Pride Parade
Queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) disrupted Boston Pride to elevate concerns of racism and transphobia within Boston Pride, the parade structure, and the broader LGBTQ community.
Black, Latinx, and Indigenous queer and trans people—as well as white allies—reclaimed the front of the parade to honor the history of Pride as a protest against racist, anti-trans police brutality and the systemic oppression of queer and trans people further marginalized by race, class, ability, gender, religion, and immigration status.
The group held signs that read, “Sin Justicia, No Hay Orgullo” (Without Justice, There Is No Pride), and fought to bring attention to the injustices perpetuated by Boston Pride year after year, including Boston Pride’s glorification of law enforcement, support of transphobic rhetoric, inclusion of corporations that exploit QTPOC as well as LGBTQ people living in poverty, and marginalization of political QTPOC voices. This behavior aides in the creation of an environment in which QTPOC—specifically trans women of color—experience staggering rates of violence, discrimination, poverty and other societal injustices.
As the group honored trans women murdered in 2017 by reading their names and holding up their photos, Marty Walsh and those marching with him pushed through the group without taking time to honor those being uplifted or to understand the experiences and concerns the group was raising. By uplifting Pride as a joyous event while ignoring the ways in which the oppression of QTPOC is perpetuated, Marty Walsh continues to ignore the voices of those most marginalized within the City of Boston.
Several LGBTQ-serving organizations supported the action by uplifting the messaging and demands throughout the Parade, including The Network La Red, Boston GLASS, United American Indians of New England, The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition, United Steelworkers Local 8751, Tod@s, Jewish Voices for Peace, and the Massachusetts Six. The action was organized in collaboration with the Stonewall Warriors who marched at the end of the parade to elevate the same concerns and demands.
Together, the coalition reminds Boston Pride that Stonewall was led by trans women of color who continue to experience the highest rates of violence within the LGBTQ community. In 2017, the life expectancy for trans women of color in the U.S. is just 35 years, yet Boston Pride continues to post transphobic articles, ignore non-binary and gender variant people completely, include imperialist institutions, and remain silent on most issues of racial injustice. In order to achieve the liberation of all LGBTQ people, Boston Pride must understand how its behavior makes it complicit in this violence and move towards centering those most marginalized within our community.
By allowing corporations like TD Bank, Santander, Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, Bank of America, and Capital One to march in the parade, Boston Pride celebrates those who profit most from systemic racism and white supremacy. These financial institutions fund pipelines—including the Dakota Access Pipeline—that destroy the earth and crush Indigenous sovereignty. These financial institutions also profit from prisons that disproportionately target POC and abuse queer and trans inmates. Allowing these institutions to march is a direct affront to Two Spirit people, all QT Indigenous people, QT Black and Latinx people, and all QTPOC.
This year, Boston Pride planned a “Stronger Together” rally the day after the parade in conjunction with the Global Equality March for Unity and Pride. However, rather than address the concerns that QTPOC brought to Boston Pride’s Board of Directors by centering racial justice in the main parade, this event relegates those speaking on these issues to the day after.
Additionally, last year, Boston Pride appointed Woburn Police Officer Anthony Imperioso to lead the parade as a pride marshal. Imperioso had numerous Facebook posts expressing blatant racism and Islamophobia, yet was not asked to step down until public pressure mounted from QTPOC and other community members. Boston Pride has done little to address the police presence at Pride events, and the culture of Boston Pride continues to be one that centers the comfort of LGBTQ law enforcement while ignoring the QTPOC victims of police brutality and ongoing ICE violence.
In 2015, a group of QTPOC using the name #WickedPissed disrupted the Boston Pride parade to elevate similar concerns. Until Boston Pride can affirm the lives of all members of the LGBTQ community as well as the history of Pride as a fight for basic human rights and against systemic injustice, we will continue to raise our voices to say:
Black Trans Lives Matter—speak out and ACT UP against transmisogynist violence!
Stop the sidelining and erasing of queer and trans people of color!
Refuse to accept police & ICE terror!
Get big banks OUT of Pride!
Coalition for Queer and Trans Liberation