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Milwaukee begins to Take Back Pride

By staff |
June 29, 2022
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People march in the streets of Milwaukee in opposition to cops and corporations
People march in the streets of Milwaukee in opposition to cops and corporations in Pride. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Milwaukee, WI – Despite the sporadic rainfall throughout the day on June 25, 100 people showed up to say no to cops and corporations in Pride. The rally and march honored the radical character of the LGBTQ struggle. In Milwaukee, the legacy of Black and brown trans working-class people - like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson - has unfortunately been whitewashed by people who welcome cops and corporations with open arms to Pride. 

After departing from Walker’s Point, a neighborhood with many LGBTQ-friendly establishments, the march descended upon the Wisconsin Center, where a summit of conservative figures like Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson was underway. 

Speakers of the host organizations - Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (MAARPR), Students for Democratic Society (SDS), and Democratic Socialists of Milwaukee (DSA) along with a representative of Mothers Against Gun Violence - delivered powerful speeches at the entrance of the Wisconsin Center. 

Lauryn Cross, a member of the Milwaukee Alliance, noted, “It is important to apply the messages from Stonewall to the same struggle for LGBTQ rights going on today.” The Milwaukee Alliance recognizes the murder of Antonio Gonzalez as another murder and attack on LGBTQ communities by police. Similarly, the recent murder of Brazil Johnson, a Black trans woman in Milwaukee, is the result of police inadequacy in taking up issues that affect LGBTQ safety in the city.

“We need to know who our friends are,” declared Nadezhda Young Binter of FRSO. “The pigs who beat my friends during the George Floyd uprisings, who picked them off the street in unmarked vans, who funneled the crowds towards Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha. Those are not our friends. We need to draw our lessons from our real friends, the movements of the oppressed against the ruling class.”

The Cops and Corps Out of Pride event also comes after Judge Clarence Thomas addressed his threats to Lawrence v. Texas, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Griswold v. Connecticut, landmark decisions that helped eradicate laws against LGBTQ sexual activity, legalize gay marriage, and increase access to contraception. 

Now more than ever is the time to organize for LGBTQ communities. It’s evident that the reactionary movement is coming after LGBTQ people. The fight for LGBTQ rights will only be won with an organized and persistent grassroots movement, not cops and corporations. Saturday was the first step in taking back Pride in Milwaukee and strengthening our LGBTQ communities.