Alternative program Roze Zaterdag
This year on 29 June, we celebrate the “Roze Zaterdag” in Utrecht, an annual event that began as a re-embodiment of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. The Stonewall riots, during which gays and lesbians, trans people and bi's fought back against police harassment and raids on their bars, mark the beginning of a movement for sexual liberation.
Little remains of these radical beginnings. Roze Zaterdag has become a party, uncomfortable political issues are avoided. If there is anything left to take to the streets, it's the legal fight for “equal” rights. In other words: How can we take part in the neoliberal, heteronormative society. Most think that same-sex marriage is the greatest achievement of this century, few question the repressive character of the institution marriage as such.
This illusion that the struggles are won might present itself from the perspective of a white and wealthy gay man, a perspective that seems to have become the benchmark for emancipation. But queer left-wing activists, like Queer Guerilla, still see a number of issues that need to be brought up and fought against during events like Roze Zaterdag:
− First and foremost: Where is the awareness for and the protest against the more and more widespread racism in the mainstream lgbt movement? Together with anti-racist groups, a strong statement should be made against racism, nationalism and islamophobia. But instead we find that more and more lgbt's look to racists such as Wilders, Rutte and Samsom; in short, racists that are only interested in lgbt's as long as they can abuse lgbt rights for their anti-immigration policies and style themselves the defenders of “western” liberties. At the same time, lgbt refugees escaping prison and death in their countries of origin get send back with the advise to simply keep their sexuality a secret.
− Where are the question marks concerning the more and more commercial character of events like Roze Zaterdag? Companies are allowed to polish their images as sponsors of lgbt events, without any criticism concerning their daily activities and practices. They want to be connected to Roze Zaterdag because they profit from it: a pink washed image to be attractive for the well earning prototype gay and lesbian. What do we need their money for?
− Why is the police and the military welcome at Roze Zaterdag? Does the fact that they also have lgbt's in their rows make their work any less objectionable? Tomorrow they'll be back to arresting so-called illegals (refugees without papers), shooting unarmed teenagers, or bombing a country into destruction. We do not want to walk alongside abusers of human rights or murderers, just because they are accidentally also not straight.
− Where is the struggle for real sexual liberation, for gender liberation, for coming out from under our separate labels to which we have to confine ourselves? Why can we be only gay/lesbian or straight or bi? Why do we all have to be women or men? All these stereotypes only empower discrimination. Even in the lgbt world we will still have to make a huge step to overcome sexism, gendernormativity, transphobia and biphobia. We have to fight for a queerer way of living: queer as in a fluid and inclusive identity.
Roze Zaterdag has turned into a commercial party, designed to celebrate a thin layer of tolerance and so-called diversity. We want to reclaim this day as a day of anarchist struggle for liberation. A day where we combine the struggle for sexual liberation with resistance against sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, exclusion, oppression, militarism, neoliberalism, capitalism and imperialism. For a free and solidary world without borders.