LGBT pride marches continue legacy of Stonewall

TransJustice Day of Action, June 27.
TransJustice Day of Action, June 27.
WW photo: John Catalinotto

Lesbian, gay, bi and trans pride was marked with activities continuing the struggle for LGBT rights from June 27 to 29 in New York City.

The Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice kicked off the weekend. The march was organized by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color center for community organizing. It demanded equal access to employment and educational opportunities; respect and dignity from the Human Resources Administration, the Administration of Children’s Services and the Department of Homeless Services; and the end to the U.S. “war on terrorism” and the war on U.S. immigrants; and an end to police violence and the prison/industrial complex that incarcerates so many LGBT people of color.

Despite pouring rain, women-identified people marched militantly through the streets of New York without a permit in the next day’s Dyke March. And on June 29, the annual Manhattan pride parade marched past the Stonewall Inn, site of the historic 1969 rebellion against police repression that helped launch the LGBT rights movement in the U.S.

LGBT Pride march, June 29.
LGBT Pride march, June 29.
WW photo: Monica Moorehead

Marching in the parade this year was Governor David Paterson, New York’s first African-American governor and the first governor to ever march in this parade. His office issued an order in mid-June directing state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of New York.

An anti-imperialist contingent representing the International Action Center; the youth group FIST —Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; and Workers World Party was well received. Onlookers joined in chants of “NYPD go to hell! We are all Sean Bell!”

FREE THE JERSEY 4!

One focus of the anti-imperialist contingent on June 29 and a FIST contingent at the June 28 Dyke March was the ongoing struggle to free three of the Jersey 4 political prisoners—young Black lesbians who were given prison sentences of three to 11 years for defending themselves against a violent anti-LGBT attack.

On June 19, Terrain Dandridge’s indictment was dismissed and she was released from prison. Renata Hill faces retrial after her conviction was vacated but the indictment upheld. Appeals for Patreese Johnson and Venice Brown are still underway.

A legal expert told Workers World that the lawyers for the Jersey 4 are calling the dismissal of Dandridge’s indictment a total vindication and declaration of their innocence, as it is rare that charges are dropped through the appeals process. She cited the use of the so-called gang laws against the Jersey 4, which can be used against any group of three or more people, regardless of whether they are affiliated with a gang. Coupled with the demonization of the Jersey 4 by the corporate media, the attorney said the law was used against them based solely on who they are and their various levels of oppression.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that New York pride marks a rebellion against police brutality, at the end of the June 29 parade, hundreds of young LGBT people were pushed out of the West Village by gangs of cops, some on horseback, who barricaded the entire area, stopping people from eating in restaurants and even getting to their cars.

Imani Henry contributed to this report.

E-mail: ldowell@workers.org

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