Protesting the anti-gay GOP
MANCHESTER, N.H.--Nearly 300 activists marched on January 7 in a gay pride rally organized by Occupy New Hampshire. The event, part of a day of action, was held hours before the primary debate started in Manchester and aimed to counter the homophobia that has been rampant throughout the Republican debates.
Protesters gathered in Veteran's Park--the sight of Occupy New Hampshire. Activists from Fed Up Vermont, an anti-sexist coalition based in Burlington, Vt., led people in the chant, "We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, come march with us!" and the march began.
Marching to Victory Park, people chanted, "Stop the GOP, We demand equality!" and "RuPaul, not Ron Paul." As the march passed by a Bank of America, chanting quickly switched to an Occupy favorite, "Banks got bailed out. We got sold out."
The connection activists are making between the Occupy movement and the struggle against LGBT oppression is clear. As Ian Struthers pointed out, "One population hit the hardest [by the recession] is the LGBT community," and "LGBT oppression affects everything, like health care." Struthers, an Occupy Boston activist and co-chair of Join the Impact Massachusetts, came to Manchester for the rally along with other members of Join the Impact Massachusetts.
Another activist explained, "Occupy is a great vehicle for all movements, a great launching pad" and so activists were able to use Occupy as a way to push forward the LGBT struggle for liberation and full equality. She added, "The LGBT of the 1 percent chose very different battles, like marriage, whereas at the bottom, the struggle is much broader and actually for full equality." Occupy opens a space for exactly such a struggle.
The march was a strong response to the homophobia of the GOP, and also a successful way to broaden the struggle of Occupy New Hampshire. By putting LGBT liberation, as well as anti-sexism and anti-racism, at the fore of occupy, the movement opens itself to greater participation and success in movement building.