Some readers may not realize it, but modern-day Pride celebrations are held annually to remember a 1969 riot. In New York City’s Greenwich Village, the local LGBTQIA+ community had undergone years of being harassed, extorted, and brutalized by local law enforcement, usually due to the criminalization of wearing gendered clothing of the “opposite sex.”
The story goes that the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a haven at the time, rose up that fateful night in June. Led by community mothers such as Marsha ‘Pay-It-No-Mind’ Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the queer community banded together to refuse to have their bodies and expressions policed.
Today, I don’t have to worry about getting a ticket for wearing clothing based on how my body is perceived. I am a nonbinary trans person, but strangers not versed in the expansiveness of gender may not see that. Due to my whiteness, how I exist is generally not perceived as illegal, dangerous, or threatening.
This is less true for QTPOC (Queer & Trans People of Color) in our greater LGBTQIA+ community, particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous trans women and trans femmes who are too often the targets of gender-based violence. Today, trans and queer asylum seekers coming from Latin American countries are often fleeing for their lives, only to be confronted by a traumatic and deadly border and immigration system.
At Moab Pride, we recognize that the safety of a QT (Queer/Trans person) in the rural desert of the Colorado Plateau is linked to the safety of trans women of color everywhere. Queer liberation, which for me means the ability for all of us to live and love freely without fear of repercussion, is inextricable from the fight for Black Trans Lives Matter, which is inextricable from the movement to Defend Black Life.
This truth brings us to the theme of this year’s Moab Pride: Wake Up Call!
Between an unprecedented pandemic, an unprecedented uprising against racial injustice and an unprecedented hot summer on the poles of our only collective home, Earth, we see the stark reality of how systems of oppression impact marginalized community members the hardest. We also see that all our struggles are deeply and intrinsically connected.
This year we are holding space for the intersections, and standing in solidarity with all movements. For those that may think it is too much, we say enough is enough.
We recognize Moab stands on stolen Ute and Diné land. We acknowledge the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We understand that No Human is Illegal. We declare Black Lives Matter. We live Love is Love, and we know trans people are magic. The desert teaches us that Water is Life. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in a Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
Official Moab Pride Festival events will be limited this year due to COVID-19. We will not be holding a Visibility March. A Spit Love: Poetry Slam will be held on Friday, Sept. 25 with limited entry and an outdoor Moth Ball will be held on Sept. 26 featuring local drag performances. We are kindly asking only locals and close neighbors to attend, and hope everyone is staying safe. Visit www.moabpridefest.com for info on events.
Currently, Moab Pride is seeking facilitators to help hold Rainbow Club, our LGBTQIA+ youth space, with COVID-19-safe protocols this fall. Additionally, we are working with other local organizations in an effort to begin providing regular anti-racist and anti-oppression training for our community businesses and members. We understand that learning about the ways in which white supremacy permeates our political, economic, and justice systems is an ongoing and interactive process.
For folks interested in learning from different perspectives, we have recently begun a collection of books by QTPOC authors that we hope to feature at our public library. Lastly, we’ve begun a discussion group focused on what alternatives to policing might look like for our communities. These are just some ways to plug in, and be sure to stay tuned for future announcements by following Moab Pride on social media!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved with organizing Pride or helping with other programs.