(Reposted from vday.org)
The first PRIDE was not a parade, but a protest. The fight for justice continues in 2021, as police brutality disproportionately affects Black communities and systemic injustices continue to put Black transgender women and other Black LGBTQ+ people at risk of facing police violence. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 has become the worst year in recent history for anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping across state legislatures in the United States. These bills vary from banning transgender girls from participating in sports to banning LGBTQ+ people from serving on school boards to making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life saving healthcare. On top of these outright homophobic and transphobic attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the systemic injustices many LGBTQ+ people face all the more clear as LGBTQ+ people are more likely than the general population to live in poverty and lack access to adequate healthcare, paid sick leave and basic needs during the pandemic. In countries where LGBTQ+ people face more social stigma and legal discrimination, they are more likely to be poor and more likely to be left out of any economic recovery programs. Anti-LGBTQ+ bias reared its head in places all over the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Uganda, LGBTQ+ youth were detained by police on bogus charges of breaking Covid-19 restrictions and were tortured in prison. In the Philippines, village officials humiliated LGBTQ+ people while enforcing curfew. In Panama, police officers discriminated against transgender people while enforcing a gender-based quarantine. In Hungary, they’ve enacted a ban on speaking about LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Capitalism, the prison industrial complex, and policing are all interwoven with anti-queerness and racism, with the deeply ingrained mission to uphold white supremacy.
This Pride Month and every day, we RISE for the deconstruction of patriarchy and heteronormative gender roles. We RISE for liberation from homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, and capitalism. We RISE for an end to the disproportionate rates of police brutality against Black trans women, and the domestic violence and denial of healthcare trans women face. We RISE with queer communities around the world, who are persecuted, dehumanized, and punished. We RISE for queer liberation, for access to healthcare, for celebration and community. For the queer Black, Indigenous, women of color who have paved the way before us. We denounce rainbow capitalism, as we continue to see corporations taking advantage of Pride month as a fleeting trend, and we continue to do our part to dismantle these oppressive structures. We RISE to continue this work, for love and transformation.
As Marsha P. Johnson, LGBTQ+ activist, drag queen, and survivor, says “There is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”
“Covid has unleashed the most severe setback to women’s liberation in my lifetime. While watching this happen, I have started to think we are witnessing an outbreak of disaster patriarchy.” In her newest article in The Guardian, “Disaster patriarchy: how the pandemic has unleashed a war on women”, V (formerly Eve Ensler) explores how Covid-19 has unleashed a setback on women’s liberation and their fight for rights. V interviewed activists across the globe – from Kenya to France to India – on how the process of disaster patriarchy is affecting them and how they fight back.
“Naomi Klein was the first to identify “disaster capitalism”, when capitalists use a disaster to impose measures they couldn’t possibly get away with in normal times, generating more profit for themselves. Disaster patriarchy is a parallel and complementary process, where men exploit a crisis to reassert control and dominance, and rapidly erase hard-earned women’s rights. (The term “racialized disaster patriarchy” was used by Rachel E Luft in writing about an intersectional model for understanding disaster 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.) All over the world, patriarchy has taken full advantage of the virus to reclaim power – on the one hand, escalating the danger and violence to women, and on the other, stepping in as their supposed controller and protector,” writes V.
V talks about the myriad of issues women have had to face all over the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, ranging from girls being unable to return to school, an explosion of intimate partner violence all over the world, women losing their jobs and being unable to return to work in India, United States, and Italy, increasing economic pressures for women, frontline women workers being unable to access proper PPE, and more.
“In very different contexts, five key factors come up again and again. In disaster patriarchy, women lose their safety, their economic power, their autonomy, their education, and they are pushed on to the frontlines, unprotected, to be sacrificed,” writes V.
V talked about disaster patriarchy with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, a daily, global, independent news hour hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González. In addition, tune in to V talking about this piece on Indisputable with Dr. Rashad Richey.