Rainbow Rebellion call on Pride WA to return to their protest roots

Protest group Rainbow Rebellion have staged a protest in Perth’s city centre on the day which would have hosted the city’s annual Pride parade.

The group say that Pride WA the community group which organises the annual PrideFEST should focus on political action and spend more time honoring the Pride movement’s origins in protest, saying the event which originated as a protest against those in power has now been corporatised and co-opted by the rich and powerful.

The annual Pride Parade was originally scheduled to be held today but was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns.

The ‘Put the Protest Back in Pride’ demonstration was described as an alternative to the official PrideFEST events, which they say does not do enough to honour the “radical history of the gay rights movement”.

Protest organiser Jacqueline Blackburn said that “the first pride march was an act of rebellion. Since then, it’s been co-opted into a corporate affair. It now features police and is sponsored by fossil fuel companies and corporations that are a barrier to the liberation of LGBT+ people.”

The group said they objected to corporate sponsor Woodside supporting event for the LGBTI communities.

“Pride isn’t about going to $190 luncheons featuring Liberals and members of ‘the corporate community’. Pride needs to celebrate and continue the fight for LGBT+ rights, through more collective, rebellious action like today’s protest. When people come together, they can create change for the better,” Blackburn said.

The group said they were opposed to the WA Government’s defunding of the Inclusive Education Western Australia program, saying it was a “disgusting attack on the quality of care trans students received in school, which greatly limits the ability of school staff to create safe and inclusive environments for trans students”.

“Pride has always been about the fight for our rights,” Blackburn said. “Homophobia and transphobia are widespread, with bigots in power all over the world, including our own anti-homeless, pro-business, transphobic mayor Basil Zempilas.

“There is an urgent need to challenge the oppression LGBT+ people face, by continuing in the tradition of the first radical gay rebels who demanded their rights by rioting, and demonstrated their pride by fighting back.”

OIP Staff, images: Kate Salinger 

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