Why we’re campaigning to kick fossil fuels out of Pride
We love all the ways Pride brings us together for celebration and protest. The music, the crowds, the dancing, the outfits, the love and the fighting spirit. We’re also all familiar with the rainbow brand logos, corporate sponsorship, and commercial advertising that have co-opted Pride in recent decades. Now, when our Pride events are being sponsored by fossil fuel financiers, many disillusioned queers have been left wondering how this working class protest got hijacked.
This is why the Fossil Free Pride campaign to kick fossil fuel sponsorship out of Pride has started. The campaign calls on Prides to exclude fossil fuel corporations and the big fossil fuel financing banks from any sponsorship. This would see ethical sponsorship policies that excludes the likes of Barclays who currently sponsor a number of Prides in the UK while providing $167bn of financing to fossil fuel corporations in the last 6 years.
These campaigns are crucial for reclaiming a democratic Pride that allows grassroots power to flourish in LGBTQIA+ communities. Accepting sponsorship from banks that fund fossil fuel projects would be completely unimaginable within the political framework of early Pride or groups such as the Gay Liberation Front that formed after Stonewall, or Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners that supported the UK miners’ strikes in the 80’s.
It’s also important to create this space for environmental politics within the LGBTQIA+ movement, and there are many links between our movement and the climate movement. These kinds of existential struggles of reimagining, reconfiguring, and radical intervention that are necessary for preventing ecological destruction, have always been part of queer history and an inherent part of the way we live and relate as queer people in social and sexual economies.
When asked why we need to bring environmental politics into Pride, we only have the coarsest answer: nobody is free until we’re all free. We don’t want to be free in a society that doesn’t emancipate everyone. Solidarity is our weapon but also a significant part of what it means to be queer. If you ain’t against fossil fuel companies, you ain’t queer, that’s for sure.
We also truly believe in these local level boycotts to challenge fossil fuel capital. When banks sponsor Pride and fossil fuel corporations put their rainbow logos everywhere, they are misappropriating our liberation movement as their own advertising vehicle and to improve their image. We must remove the social license that allows these businesses to continue their destructive activities unquestioned.
Ultimately, Pride should always be for people, not corporations. Barclays can keep the rainbow capitalism Pride, we’re looking for more hopeful alternatives that bring us real pride. We’re searching for other queer collectives with new strategies of serious direct action and international solidarity that show some promise of genuine freedom from global racial capitalism. We’re looking for opportunities for mass transnational revolutionary anti-capitalist organising, using all the power that we have. We want to cut through the mass conservative unconscious psychology of a repressive capitalist civil society and build something better for everybody. Pride should be empowering this kind of movement and devoting effort to the people who need it the most.
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