Illegal Queers PGH – Open Letter Regarding Orlando

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Originally posted to the IQP facebook group.

Illegal Queers Pittsburgh is a collective of Pittsburgh-based queers organizing benefit dance parties for our prisoner & formerly imprisoned trans & queer comrades who are under attack by the racist, trans & queer-phobic, misogynist, ablest, classist so-called justice system. We are feeling sad, terrified and angry about the mass shooting this past weekend. We are also feeling very motivated by our commitment to queers and people of color in Orlando and around the world who are now and have been under attack and fighting for survival and liberation.

We understand the attack in Orlando as being a result of a long history and culture of exploitation and repression of queers and people of color, and part of this history is state-enforced racism, misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia enacted by the legal system and its agents. We reject the dominant narrative that police presence makes everyone safer. We reject this narrative based on the experiences of tens of thousands of trans and queer people, most often people of color, who have been unsupported, attacked, and imprisoned, suffering grotesque atrocities at the hands of police and the legal system.

We recognize that the hateful violence against Pulse nightclub is directly linked to sovereign violence and US imperialism at large. We will not be complicit in the racist fear mongering from the right, framing this as a “terrorist attack” committed by an outsider. We will not be complicit in the homonationalism from the left, which endorses white and middle-class lives, seeking to integrate these as “model citizens,” while rejecting and attacking people of color and poor folk.

We are reaffirming our commitment to making our events safer for queers and people of color by not collaborating with police or governmental forces and, instead, seeking alternative ways of defending our communities and spaces. We strongly encourage other organizers of Pride events, queer-friendly dance parties, and all other events to do the same. We seek to support queers and people of color through our organizing efforts.

Please consider reflecting further on the terrible events in Orlando through further researching and amplifying Latinx queer & trans voices.

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