June 24, 2016

YCL Hamilton at Pride 2016: "We’re here, we’re Queer, no racist fear!"

RY presents a speech delivered at Hamilton Pride 2016 by Young Communist League – Hamilton representative Sha Ali

There have been some amazing words today, so thank you to everyone who has spoken and everyone who has come out in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

It’s the voices you’ve heard today that allow us to stand in true solidarity with the victims of the shooting, and indeed the victims of violence around the world.

It is these voices that are so important right now. They are so important because, as we speak, forces are already mobilizing to use this struggle — our struggle — to cause more violence.

Already, mainstream media has implicated Islam for the Pulse shooting. The comparison between the tragedy and 9/11 has already begun. The attack on refugees and immigrants is intensified. The attack on Muslims, now justified.

Queer Muslims have been virtually erased during the coverage, and our identities pitted against one another in the service of imperialism and capitalism.

Statements of so-called solidarity have already been issued by Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is the same Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall to keep out undocumented queers, and who wants to ban Muslim queers from entering the United States. The same Donald Trump whose party has introduced over 200 pieces of anti-gay legislation in the last 6 months. Unsurprisingly, the top comments on Trump's Islamophobic Facebook statement are from queer conservatives from all over the world in support of his jingoism and xenophobia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has issued a statement saying that “we are all victims” of “Radical Islamist terror”, and that he will “fight back and triumph”. By this he means the Israeli forces will continue to occupy queer Palestinian land, detain queer youth on their way to school, and initiate vicious bombing campaigns against queers in Gaza and the West Bank, predominately killing women and children.

Even our so-called “Feminist” PM Justin Trudeau, who is now the second largest arms dealer to the Saudi Regime, sends his solidarity. Unfortunately, he does not extend that same solidarity when he arms reactionary and homophobic militias in Syria.

Our queer siblings in Syria, Palestine and Iraq are under Canadian military occupation. Just like the invasion of Afghanistan to supposedly ‘liberate’ women, our lives — queer lives — are already being used to justify the so-called war on terror, which has already cost between 1-2 million lives.

These are the voices who wish to co-opt our struggle, and use it in service of theirs.

We must remember that the victims of the tragedy were not just Latinx and Afro-Latinx Queers — they were Boriqua (Puerto Rican Amercian) queers. In fact, majority of the Latin American folks in Orlando are Boriqua. Why? Because Puerto Rico is still an American colony. America’s imperialist “Jones Act" refuses to allow Puerto Rico to make a dent in their $73 Billion dollar debt, created itself by US economic policy. This debt has raised the price of living so high, that Puerto Ricans have been forced into Orlando as economic refugees. The Boriqua queers targeted in this attack, are victims of the same imperialism and colonization that the right is inflicting in the Middle East.

This is pink washing and homonationalism at it’s worst — using the deaths of Boriqua queers (ravaged by imperialism and colonialism), to justify the deaths of Palestinian and Arab queers (ravaged by imperialism and colonialism).

Opposing homophobia, transphobia, racism and Islamophobia are all part of the same struggle.

If we do not speak out against capitalism and imperialism when we mourn these victims, we are doing them a disservice. We are denying their material realities. We are letting their deaths be pawns in a greater capitalist game for which we are all the losers.

So let us speak up. Let us remember the 50 we lost, and fight so that we don’t have to lose anymore.

Let us speak out against Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia and Islamophobia. I would like to ask you to join me in a chant.

"We’re here, we’re Queer, no racist fear!"

For the Young Communist League's joint statement with the Communist Party of Canada for Pride 2016 click here.

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