We hope you’ve enjoyed a safe and connective pride season and are finding your power in community as the summer kicks off.
For the past two years, due to pandemic conditions and concerns for community safety, we have provided digital alternatives to being on the streets and are beginning to re-imagine how to gather safely, inclusively, and with accessibility in mind as the lessons of the pandemic teach us how to care for each others’ well-being in public spaces. The necessity of consent culture, the normalization of communicating our safety needs to one another in shared space, and the critical importance of understanding who our immediate networks of care are, have been powerful developments in our communities’ values. These are also organizing trajectories that the Audre Lorde Project has always been rooted in, for the purpose of gathering folks safely to advocate for our needs without a police presence. The goal has always been to create tools that do not replicate the white supremacist heteropatriarchal tactics that have been designed to control Black, Indigenous, POC, Immigrant, Femme, and Trans and Gender Non-Conforming bodies.
In 2019, we interviewed Jay Toole on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall to talk about how the riot started as a collective abolitionist response to normalized police violence by a coalition of targeted and marginalized groups. During that time period, the police could take a person to prison if they weren’t wearing gender-appropriate clothing, and it was typical for LGBTSTGNC people to have to choose between self-determination and survival in how we expressed ourselves in public.
We have come a long way in 52 years, but there is still work to do in the areas that remain most critical for our survival: non-discriminatory housing, fair access to employment opportunities, affordable and humane healthcare, and freedom from police violence. For now, we’re still watching the realities of identity-based violence that persist without the systemic changes we have always gathered to demand.
As we begin to organize in physical spaces again, we are moving with evolved sensibilities and awareness about safe convening. We are making organizing choices that consider the balance between our human need to be in community and the life-saving aspects of prioritizing our collective and individual well-being in an ongoing global pandemic. Not everyone in our communities will be able to get vaccinated and it's not a safe option for many others. How we navigate inclusivity in the coming months will set the tone for a post-pandemic reality where organizing and political education occupy digital and physical space in tandem.
The work at hand is the development of an accessible and adaptive movement building strategy that holds us accountable to one another, and to our own needs in defining the options that post-pandemic organizing holds in store for us. We are currently embedded in a global struggle with a virus, and many people are drawing connections between their own struggles and those of folks connected by common structural challenges. When we begin to understand this common ground, and act with synchronic awareness, we build movements that create a better world for all.