Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wristband Rebellion and a Call to Disband HOP: Reflections on Pride Weekend

This writer and Jay Walker with Rise and Resist.  Photo by Andy Humm The Resistance “allowed “ to kick off—most without wristbands—after five o’clock. Next year, no more mistreatment of activists at what should be a civil right march. Corporations out of our march!

And top,  sign this writer found on the way.
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Favorite picture from Drag March
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Gays Against Guns, who were forced to wait until after the cops and politicians.
Still their message was haunting and beautiful. 

Scenes from pride weekend.
The Dyke March by With Kate Barnhart,  Benjamin Heim Shepard, and Brian Griffin and the Church Ladies by Deborah Wolk

Sunday was a glorious day. We woke late still thinking about the dyke march the night before:  My friend Brian recalled cascade of energy: “It’s really the best. As the lesbians pass by and you get to serenade them, it’s a closed feedback loop of joy that just builds.

Pride is New York’s carnival weekend. People throw beads from second stories.

Our first stop was at the Families for Safe Street rally for speed cameras at Union Square.  And then to Judson to Rev Micah speak about the ways our lives intersect with each other in the streets.  Someone sees you.  You chat about fingernails, strike up a friendship.  And move forward through the arteries of the city, touched by the strangers passing by you, the immigrants coming, the queers cruising, the anarchists in their bicycles, the trade unionists rebuilding the city, the ghosts no longer their, whose memories linger, the saints whose stories give the city meaning. Our struggles are everywhere. The blood and guts, triumph and sweat, they make up this city.

And we walked through the East Village.

“Its bittersweet to be here.  Its changed so much,” noted Caroline, reflecting on her lifetime in the city.  “But I also love to see that there are still so many cool people here.”

Young people were zipping around Union Square draped in rainbow flags and capes, with glitter everywhere, some with shirts, as many without.

More and more young people, everyone queer, many gay.

The city has been transformed by queer bodies.

But the memories of the queer kids who rioted five decades ago in June, the homeless, the outsiders, their legacy is contested.

Some remember.

They carry signs calling for us to Abolish ICE.

Others march behind corporate floats, with cops, etc. gradually eroding this history, gentrification of the mind.

Wading through the crowd, I joined the wristband resistance coalition on Sunday at 17th and 7th avenue.

HOP’s organizers let all those in the resistance in without wristbands after hearing the threats of an action.

Wristband Resistance Coalition

“Heritage of Pride has placed The Resistance Contingent toward the Center of the March in Group 7. Call time is at 3:00 PM, but we are encouraging marchers to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Assembly location: 17th between 7th and 8th. RPC members will be present with wristbands for those who wish to March with the Resistance Contingent while not running afoul of the March organizers or risking contact with the NYPD.

There is also going to be an open protest of the wristband requirement, for those who find the wristbands to be an outrageous infringement on the spontaneity, community, and Protest characteristics of Pride. 

These folks are calling themselves the Wristband Resisters and will assemble near the rest of the Resistance Contingent at the SVA on theater on 23rd Street at 3pm, then March over to the entrance for the Resistance Contingent and demand entry without wristbands. We are encouraging groups to have some members assemble with the Resistance Contingent, but to also have other members join this action, depending on their level of comfort.

It should be noted that representatives of the NYPD confirmed at the 6/5 HOP-organized NYPD town hall that there would be NO arrests made because people are not wearing wristbands. However, we also know that last year demonstrators were arrested at HOP’s request for “trespassing.” Therefore, we do not completely discount the possibility of arrest.”

All the years in New York, people have complained about the Heritage of Pride, who seem to adore cops and banks more than the activists.   Abolish HOP, others insist. Its time to start over.
March from Central Park downtown. Or from Stonewall to the Statue of Liberty.

We meander and talk and wait to march.

I talk with Charles from Housing Works and Laurie from ACT UP.  New ACT UP members Emily and company.

Jay is trying to keep it together as people meander to and from, asking him for directions about Rise and Resist.

“Not only is Sing Out, Louise! marching with the resistance at Pride, we are hosting a super fabulous, epic, post march Sing-a-Long and you are invited. 

We'll bring the hymnals, tambourines and kazoos, you bring you. Stay tuned for exact-ish time and location (should be near the parade end spot).


They are the most fun to march with, but I navigate between all my friends from ACT UP to Rise and Resist.

We rehearse a big singing our own resistance versions of Faith and YMCA:

22. FAITH (George Michael; Tjhung) Well I think it would be nice, if we could break your lobby, Cuz no, not every lobby knows how to lobby like you-u-u. No! And you never think twice—before you take our dreams away. Well, we say FUCK the N.R.A.—and all the cash you blew! Oh yeah, you bought up Congress for 20 million, and then the White House—30 million more! Well you can spend your heart out—a billion zillion! We don’t care about your money, we are showing you the door! CHORUS Cause we gotta have faith. We gotta have fai-aith. Oh yeah, we gotta have faith-a faith-a faith. We gotta have faith-a faith-a faith-ahhh! Baby! We won’t go back to yesterday, so please, please, please Sashay away—You are giving us the blue-ue-ues. Maybe—we’re gonna break the money chain, Then we won’t have to feel the pain of another day loaded down with a lotta bad news. Just watch this river become an ocean. Listen, do you hear that mighty roar? Yeah baby, we’ll keep resisting your evil notions— We have had it up to here, and we are saying not one more!

CHORUS 23. RISE & RESIST (‘YMCA’; Leydorf/Johansen) We know: what it’s like to feel down. Cause it’s psycho: nazis marching around. And that yo-yo—is a traitorous clown—just a fascist fake with fake hair. We know: things could not be more bleak. Quite a combo: the whole criminal clique. Some new shitshow—every week with this freak. Can we wake up from this nightmare? CHORUS Come on, America—rise & resist! Do not despair, you can—rise & resist! We can bring ’em all down, we can send ’em to jail, Stand together, and we can’t fail! Rise and resist! Come on America—rise and resist! You don’t wanna stay home—gotta join in the fight, Come and stand up for what is right. Haters. Fearing diversity. Russian traitors. Hacking democracy. Collaborators. Down in Donald’s D.C. only want to make a fast buck! Sing it. If you give half a shit. And then bring it. Give it all of your grit. You can’t wing it—babe, you gotta commit! Do not quit or we are all fucked! CHORUS Rise & resist!

I also love their new version of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

We don’t need no racist nation.
We don’t need no ICE patrols
You the only infestation.
Trumpie, leave them kids alone!
Hey Trumpie!
Leave those kids alone.
All in all, you’re just
another prick with no wall.
All in all you’re just
Another prick with no wall.

My problem is there is not enough waiting I kvetch.

I talk with Voices for Chechnya about human rights violations queers are experiencing around the world and I’m a little sad their message is not front and center of the parade.

Finally, we kick off around 5 PM, after all the corporate floats have passed.

It’s a joyous angry moment.

But we’re finally marching.   One of the floats ahead of us plays YMCA.

GAG stages a die in.

And we march. We know all our gains are temporary, as inequality expands, immigrants are detained, and the right wing stacks the courts.

We should disband HOP.

As Andy Humm put it: “ABC-TV used a drag queen from Ru Paul's Drag Race to co-host their three-hour coverage of NYC Pride. Shangela said she's been to a total of TWO Pride marches--"once with American Express and once with Delta." Shangela finished up the three hours of coverage by kvelling at all the uniformed police in the parade. "It is truly a blessing to see them here." It was beyond pathetic. And don't get me started on how many historical errors the three hosts made in their coverage. But I'm sure it didn't bother the parade organizers a bit because plenty of interview time was given to corporate sponsors from T-Mobile. NOT ONE PARTICIPANT IN THE STONEWALL REBELLION WAS INTERVIEWED. Next year, let's give them a civil rights march they cannot ignore--and put all the elected officials and corporations on the sidelines or in the back. NO FLOATS!”

Rally for speed cameras at 11 AM at Union Square. 

1 comment:

  1. Good post, I really impressed with your efforts. Keep it up. I also share best rated magnetic wristband. Must read.