Indy Pride shows LGBTQ community unafraid and politicians don’t speak for us

This year’s Indy Pride parade was, as always, energizing, fun, and inspiring. If one’s knowledge about Indiana and Indianapolis only came from the mainstream press, it would be truly shocking that in such a “red state” Pride would be so massive and sprawling. Especially in light of the recent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation, it’s easy to feel deflated and demoralized. Today, however, demonstrated to our community, our city, and the world that we aren’t demoralized, that we aren’t going back, and that we are standing up to fight to defend and advance our rights!

Thus, the fact that tens of thousands of people woke up early on a Saturday, with many braving the regular traffic made even heavier with so much construction downtown, marched, and gathered in community was educational for us and the whole world. It shows that the politicians, whether in City-County Council, Statehouse, or in Washington do not represent the masses of people.

Based on the rapid increase in the intensity and volume of cheers and claps as our contingent marched through the route with placards reading “Stonewall & Pride: A Rebellion Against Cop Terror” and “Cops out of Pride: Justice 4 All IMPD Victims! No Pride In IMPD!” it is clear that the LGBTQ community, which includes everyone who supports the cause, doesn’t want the IMPD there. In fact, for years we participated in a campaign to kick the IMPD out of Pride, and we won in 2020 with Indy Pride announcing they would only contract with the IMPD for traffic coordination. The cops are back, and now we need to kick them out again.

The IMPD’s presence is not only dangerous, but an insult to the event we commemorate this month.

Pride: Commemoration of a rebellion against cops

Across the country, we celebrate Pride during June, the month the contemporary LGBTQ liberation movement launched after an uprising against police repression at Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969.

Pride commemorates that rebellion. It’s a time to remember fallen fighters in the struggle and, most importantly, to carry on their legacy and keep fighting! The Stonewall Rebellion we marched for today was not a struggle to elect this or that politician, to ensure one of the two imperialist parties had the majority of seats in a governmental body, or a petition to ask for the right to live; it was a rebellion against LGBTQ oppression and those who physically enforce it, then as today: the police.

At the time of the uprising, the U.S. state openly did everything it could to repress the expression of any non-normative gender or sexual identity or life. The cops would send undercover officers into known “homo neighborhoods.” As soon as the cop identified a behavior that was “gay” or “queer,” which—the American Psychiatric Association defined as a human “aberration” or form of mental illness that required isolation from society—they’d call for back up. Cops would run in, raid the bars, beating those inside, choking them, and arresting them for “illegal drinking.”

This repression was normalized, but the oppressed knew it shouldn’t be routine. The cops were the real criminals. On the night of June 27, after the cops threw everyone out of the Stonewall Inn, the people fought back, and they didn’t stop. They threw bottles and anything they could find at the cops. Some even took out a parking meter and used it to trap multiple cops inside the bar before setting fire to it.

June and every month, remember why we fight

Some see the overall embrace of LGBTQ people and the struggle by mainstream society, politicians, and even corporations in a pessimistic light. Like all things, however, it’s contradictory. On the one hand, it is certainly true that corporations, financial foundations, and others worked overtime to influence the direction of the struggle. Today we even have openly gay politicians, like Zach Adamson who, as of now anyways, serves on the City-County Council.

For us, it’s a positive development that people’s consciousness has advanced so much the capitalists and their politicians need to tail behind or to try and keep up with us. We are proud that our people created a society in which an openly queer person can not only live but occupy positions of power.

It is also a negative development, however, in that it lets politicians like Adamson off the hook for his fiercely pro-IMPD stance. Again, however, the people are running ahead, one of the reasons why his challenger, DSA member Jesse Brown, amazingly beat the incumbent Adamson in a wild primary upset.

The lesson Stonewall taught us is that when we unite around a common cause rather than with pro-corporate LGBTQ organizations that try to channel our outrage into the electoral arena, we can win.

Today was an empowering reminder to us all: We have the power, we aren’t going back, but we are fighting back! We won’t be divided by the ruling class who wants to keep us preoccupied fighting each other so that we don’t fight against our common enemy.

If you want to build that kind of movement, join the Party for Socialism and Liberation, volunteer with ANSWER Indiana or the Indianapolis Liberation Center, support Jesse 4 Indy, and please donate so we can keep the movement growing in this city!