A statement from the organizers of Queer Pride
“Perhaps we don’t have to strive to be one community. In reality, there isn’t one women’s, or lesbian, gay, bi community. What is realistic is the goal to build a coalition between our many strong communities in order to form a movement capable of defending all our lives.”
-Leslie Feinberg, Living our True Spirit
Queer people have protected themselves from violence and control perpetrated by the authorities and society for years in many different ways: from gender non-conformity to education to throwing bottles at cops’ heads. If we examine our lives and stories it becomes clear what abuse of power, authority, and oppression mean. Surely, we must want to eliminate the systems that uphold such a state. Not only for “us”, but for all. We must want the politics that propel the fight for queer liberation in Iceland to stand against all oppressive systems and institutions: capitalism, the Directorate of Health, the National Registry, the Directorate of Immigration, prisons and the police, to name only a few.
So we ask: What are the political currents that drive queer movements in Iceland today, including Reykjavík Pride 2020? Whose interests are being prioritized? Is it really a current that prioritizes the lives, health, and well-being of us all, with the goal of protecting us all too?
We must not forget that queer people also belong to other marginalized groups: we are refugees, we are immigrants, we are homeless, we are disabled, we are black and brown, we are sex workers, we are poor, we are old, we are everywhere. Being queer while belonging to one or more other marginalized groups increases one’s chances of being left behind in the struggle for queer rights. We refuse to leave people behind and that is why we fight for total liberation.
The commodification of queer culture is not liberation. The construction and maintenance of border policies which repeatedly punish queer refugees with deportations and social isolation is not liberation. The forced or coerced “consent” by trans people to treatment by psychiatrists and a special supervisory team to have their genders recognized is not liberation. The government permitting surgeries to be performed on intersex children without their consent is not liberation. Governmental policies that allow for low wages are not liberation. The war operations of NATO are not liberation. Refusing medical care to people who “do not look like taxpayers” is not liberation. Punishing people for homelessness and/or drug use is not liberation.
For too long, Reykjavík Pride has ignored the struggles and the very existence of many of us, and it has collaborated with institutions that threaten our freedom. Last year, the police attacked a queer individual at the Pride parade after members of the Board of Directors and the Parade Committee, labeled the individual in question a threat. Their current parade “safety rules” show quite clearly that they intend to continue such collaboration, and make the event into a bourgeoisie celebration, while at the same time pushing out the radical queer activism from which Pride originates. Their rules state: “All participants should keep an eye out for problems that can arise, such as protests and sabotage. If participants become aware of anything like that, they must first contact the police by calling 112 and then the parade’s security manager should be informed.”
We consider it to be humiliating, inappropriate, and an endangerment of all our safety to involve the police in the week during which we celebrate our struggles and lives. The police are not there to “protect us”, as has been shown by the aforementioned example, and we have always been fully capable of protecting ourselves, especially against police violence.
This – and much more – is why we, radical queers and anarchists, are now organizing Queer Pride, where all events are free of charge. We plan to come together to watch movies, learn about queer sex, host discussions and a concert, have fun, enjoy, remember, and get angry, all while protesting the ruling power structures.
Queer struggle is a constant protest, and a breakdown of the status quo. Queer activism is an active struggle, all year round, against violent and oppressive government institutions, and it manifests itself in many ways, including protests, direct action and sabotage.
Queer liberation is a struggle to take back our lives and to build solidarity among all groups within the queer community to keep the fight going. It is a struggle lead by radical, revolutionary politics which aims to confront all domination.
“By ‘queer’, we mean ‘social war’. And when we speak of queer as a conflict with all domination we mean it.”
-Towards the Queerest Insurrection