Monday, May 06, 2019

When It Becomes Big Business


It is a celebration of life.

It is a celebration of our rights.

It is a celebration of overcoming oppression.

It is a celebration of corporation sponsors… wait what?

I saw an “I Love NY” ad on Facebook that caught my attention on just how commercial Pride has become.
WorldPride 2019
We're not just proud in the city, come see all of New York State!
New York is the most desired travel location in the world for the LGBT community and no other place offers a warmer welcome. Outdoor adventure, world-class culture, beautiful beaches, unbeatable shopping, magnificent mountains, lazy lakes, the best sites, and the tastiest food all await you in New York State.

For the first time, WorldPride is coming to the United States, and with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, it's no surprise that New York is hosting. That means bigger Pride celebrations, more special LGBT events, and more fun than ever before!

This year, Pride is bigger, and your vacation should be bigger, too. Find what you love in New York State today.
50 years ago they wanted to lock us up!

50 years later they want to make a buck off of us.

The Washington Blade said that the “Official New York Pride” will use wrist bands to control who are marching in the parade.
Last year, for example, HOP [Heritage of Pride] announced it would not allow anyone to join the march unless they preregistered and obtained a wrist band to gain entrance to the march route, which was sealed off with metal barricades on both sides of the streets.
Corporate sponsors are becoming more visible and there are some who don’t like that.
There’s a Corporation-Free Queer Liberation March Happening in NYC
Here’s how a group of activists made it happen.
By Mathew Rodriguez
May 1, 2019

New York will host this year’s World Pride event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. But those who attend the annual New York City LGBT Pride March know that the often 9-hour long affair is now stuffed to the gills with corporate floats and may not always feel welcoming to some due to the over-policing of the event.

There’s now an alternative for those who want to celebrate pride while also feeling the original spirit of the event: a political protest called the Queer Liberation March. The Reclaim Pride Coalition is a group of New York City activists bucking the usual antics of the parade and throwing a smaller event that takes the parade’s original route — starting in the West Village’ Sheridan Square, heading uptown, and ending in Central Park — attempting to inhabit the march’s original spirit. Out spoke to Reclaim Pride Coalition member and ACT UP alum Ann Northrop about the logistics of planning another parade on the same day as New York City pride, why it’s time for an alternative to the actual parade and how you can get involved.
Since last fall we have been working on organizing a Queer Liberation March, just people in the streets, no uniform cops in our parade, no corporate floats and universal access for everybody to join. We’re going to model it after the first marchets [sic], starting in Sheridan Square and going up Sixth Avenue into Central Park for a rally on the Great Lawn. 
And down in Washington DC the Washington Blade article goes on to say…
Members of No Justice No Pride have issued a series of demands calling, among other things, for Capital Pride Alliance to ban most corporations from the parade and for banning D.C. police from marching in the parade or having a visible presence along the parade route.
Last year NewNowNext asked the question,
Opinion: Why We Need to Take Back Pride From Corporate America and the NYPD
"Pride has become less a march and more a parade."
By Jay W. Walker
June 7, 2018

As a proud New Yorker, I’ve called this city home for more than 30 years. In my early years attending New York City Pride, joy, anger, activism, and community enveloped the festivities. In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, when acts of homophobic violence and discrimination against LGBT people were common nationwide, the Pride March route was porous: People on the sidelines could suddenly decide to march with ACT UP, the gay writers, or a church. Revelers could easily navigate the West Village, the neighborhood that flanked the festival.

In the mid-to-late ‘90s, however, things began to change. The New York City Police Department locked the event route down, rendering marchers completely separate from viewers. Parts of the West Village were barricaded into impassable streets.

Then the 9/11 terror attacks changed the course of Pride yet again: Any remaining stops on the NYPD’s efforts to control all public gatherings were off. The police presence along the route and throughout the West Village grew, and for many young queers of color, already subject to racially biased policing, Pride became an event fraught with fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Many longtime activists, mindful that the Pride March stemmed from the Stonewall Riots against the NYPD, balked at what they viewed as a police takeover of Pride.

At the same time, Heritage of Pride (HOP), the organization responsible for producing Pride events, became more reliant on corporate support. With corporate contingents numbering in the thousands, the march also lasted longer each year. Pride became less a march and more a parade. Oddly enough, at a time when acceptance of LGBT people in metropolitan areas like New York was at an all-time high, the policing of Pride events grew, too.
Local Pride events are a mixture of corporate and municipal sponsors; there are Pride events scheduled all around Connecticut this year including a new event in Middletown and one that was held last Saturday in Bethel. In the coming months there will be other Pride events in Norwalk, New Haven, New London, and Hartford and many of them are being held over several days at various bars in their respective cities.

I recognized that part of the problem is tight municipal budgets, municipal services were provided by the city but now cities want to be reimbursed for police and municipal workers who clean up afterwards and that costs big bucks. That extra expense has to be covered somehow and corporations stepped in with pockets filled with cash.

I remember when the event was held in Bushnell Park by the music shell and they used to have play areas for children now on Pratt Street there are beer vendors and bars along the street and for me it seems less family centered.

The questions now are should we screen companies that want to be sponsors? Do we want adult beverage companies as sponsors? Do we want bars and restaurants as sponsors? In Massachusetts what about marijuana sponsors? What about banks that redline communities?

What about having Pride at libraries for the children? What about having a function at the Science Center? Or the Carousel?

It is time to open an intercourse on where and how we want our Pride celebrated.

Multiple answers are allowed on the poll question.

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