San Francisco Pride, the Bay Area's 42nd annual LGBT celebration and parade, is just around the corner, and Occupy has wasted no time in joining the party.
Running under the tagline "Community, Not Commodity," radical group OccuPride has planned a presence at the event, slamming the commercialization of the Pride festivities and parade.
Pointing to corporate sponsorship, pinkwashing (spinning financial motivations as LGBT friendly-goals), drug and alcohol use, and general commercialization, OccuPride aims to "remind the community of its roots."
"No amount of RuPaul's Drag Race or recreational drug use and casual sex are going to […] help any of our queer and trans youth stuck out in Jesusland," said OccuPride organizer Scott Rossi in an interview with SFist. "Our bubbles need to pop and we need to remember our radical roots."
On OccuPride's website, the group explained its mission:
The Pride celebration has become increasingly commercialized, co-opted by corporate interests that use our struggle for liberation as a market for commodities and a way to boost profit. These interests – the top of the 1% – parade status quo candidates and parties for our consumption, wearing a progressive mask of LGBT equality while marginalizing and criminalizing the poor and disempowered. In doing so they seek to divide our community, catering only to those of us with money to spend. But the queer and trans communities are more than the affluent; we are also the disempowered, the homeless, the sick, the victims of discrimination and violence.
Writer Xavior Breff expressed his support of OccuPride on Daily Kos.
"For those of us who remember early Gay Pride marches and indeed feeling proud, today's extravaganzas look and sound like the Vegas chamber of commerce crashed your family union," he wrote.
"For many years Pride Inc has accepted money from alcohol companies making our community look like a bunch of drunks," wrote one commenter.
In San Francisco, Pride is indeed one of the biggest parties of the year. One San Francisco business has already begun selling booze-soaked Cosmo Cupcakes for Pride.
While OccuPride has been careful not to directly attack Pride or the LGBT community, some opponents have called out the group for piggybacking on the event.
"Once again, Occupy gears up to alienate another demographic on its brief and unfortunate march into historical irrelevance," quipped one commenter on SFist.
Others defended the economic benefits of Pride, noting that Pride has raised nearly $2 million for LGBT nonprofits, and calling the corporate sponsorship essential to the success of the event and a sign of community power.
"Respectable companies are behind the gay rights movement," one commenter wrote on Daily Kos. "It helps them to understand that not only is the gay community sizable, but that it is an accepted member of the larger economy."
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