In the 34 years since a small group of queer people first marched through the streets of Dublin to celebrate their pride in the face of an establishment that had tacitly endorsed the murder of a gay man in Fairview Park, the Dublin Pride celebrations have changed beyond all recognition. For years LGBT+ organising has pushed in a reformist direction, seeking to accommodate us within the framework of the capitalist state. Inevitably Pride has become politically sanitised and intensely commercial.
The members of Working Class Queeroes believe that our struggle against oppression must be based upon building the strongest possible movement. This requires bringing our various activist groups together in common struggle. There needs to be a resurgence of LGBT liberation politics, which can challenge cis heteronormativity, commercialisation, and capitalism itself.
Working Class Queeroes
Last year, we brought together various different groups of activists to march together. As recently as 2010, sex workers were banned from participating in Dublin Pride. Last year, however, Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland (SWAI) carried a ‘Queers for Sex Workers’ Rights’ banner to the front and we are happy to be joined by them again this year to continue that pro-decriminalisation message.
‘Pink-washing’ is the use of supposed concern for LGBT people to cover up harm done to others. Last year also saw Dublin’s first strong anti-pinkwashing contingent, supported by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), criticising ‘Brand Israel’. Similarly we drew attention to the attendance of Airbnb, who list questionably acquired Palestinian homes on their site.
Housing is a queer issue and queer liberation is a working class issue and last year we were joined by The Irish Housing Network who marched down the route to huge applause. It is our intention to build on this bloc and look forward to being joined by many more groups.
You Only Gave Us Rights 'Cause We Gave You Riots
These days Dublin Pride is raucous with colour but otherwise it’s a straightforward parade. Too few know that the origins of Pride were anything but proper; they were radical.
We still need to draw on our those roots. In the year since last Dublin Pride, we’ve seen gay bashings on our streets – most notably the assault on a migrant gay man in Phoenix Park; we have seen the fascist attack on the façade of The George; the massacre of queers in an Orlando nightclub; and the sentencing of queers to internment camps in Chechnya.
Since the theme of Dublin Pride 2017 is ‘Find Your Inner Hero’, we will be marching as the Working Class Queeroes. We are the ‘Fucking Dregs’ Bloc, like the dregs of Stonewall 1969 and Fairview 1983.
L-G-B-T = LInkedin, Google, Bank of Ireland, Twitter
What is Pride contributing to the pursuit of our freedom? An observer could reasonably mistake it for a business promotion festival. Whatever slim queer agenda is being pushed can scarcely be heard above the glee of corporations, not to mention Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour, the Social Democrats, the Greens, and Sinn Féin.
‘What’s wrong with acceptance?’ one might understandably ask. We all know the rainbow is a profit-turner and a vote-winner for corporations and parties, and that shows how much things have changed, but Pride nowadays is little more than an attempt to make peace with that establishment on their terms. It’s a convenient marketing opportunity for corporations and politicians, turning us into the flamboyant PR managers of the powerful.
Queer Liberation is a Workplace Issue
Political organisations pay lip-service to our rights, yet won’t take a stand against religious discrimination. In the year where babies were found buried in a septic tank on Catholic church property, we still have the bigoted church discriminating against us, through reproductive rights, and through Section 37.1, which although ammended has still not been repealed.
Furthermore, we will see many corporations at Pride that refuse to let workers unionise and whose desire is to capitalise from our movement yet display very different class interests when it comes to queer workers’ rights.
Advocacy for LGBT+ equality needs to move out from the offices of lobbying groups and onto the street to pose a direct threat to the system that oppresses and divides us. We call on all anti-capitalist radical queers to form an anti-assimilation and anti-homonormative left bloc of ‘fucking dregs’ and march together. Join our bloc on the parade on Saturday, June 24.