The 2017 Midsumma Pride March was held in Melbourne during late January. The event had a huge turnout of over 45,000 spectators. The Socialist Party participated in the march with a strong political message.
The historical roots of LGBTIQ+ pride marches date back to the Stonewall riots of 1969 in the US. Pride marches were born out of necessity; to fight back against bigotry and systematic oppression by the state and its forces.
In recent decades however, Pride marches around the world have slowly become money making ventures where businesses try to tap into the pink dollar. While the more wide-spread acceptance of queer people is positive, the motives of these companies are far from sincere.
They have only come to the party long after societal attitudes towards queer people have changed. Now they want to be seen as “progressive” and in tune with mainstream views so that people will spend money with them. It is a cynical attempt to profiteer from the gains of LGBTIQ+ movement.
In reality oppression and discrimination stem from the profit-driven system we live under. It is a system that thrives on division and the exploitation of the many by the few.
With that in mind, it is also disappointing that the police were invited to the march. The relationship of the police and ordinary LGBTIQ+ people is one of oppressor and the oppressed. In many cases the police have been used to put down LGBTIQ+ rights protests and to harass queer people. This should not be glossed over.
The Socialist Party participated in the march with the aim of standing against corporate domination and bringing politics back to Pride. Our delegation marched behind a banner that read “Unite & fight against inequality & capitalism”. Many on-lookers responded positively to our chants and signs demanding equal rights and our call for a system that ends the discrimination of people based on sexual and gender identity.
By Kai Perry