June 1 marks the first day of Pride, a month-long celebration of visibility and joy that centers the LGBTQ+ experience in its many forms. What’s often lost in the sea of rainbow and glitter that-just-won’t-leave-no-matter-how-hard-you-scrub is the fact that Pride is first and foremost a protest. To be visible; to exhibit pride in one's identity in the face of policy and rhetoric that aims to wipe you and your community off the face of the earth, is inherently rebellious and radical. The radicalism of Pride is why it is so potent. It serves as a reminder to remain steadfast in our commitment to liberation, for all.

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This year especially, in light of what can credibly be called a genocide in Gaza, collective liberation is essential. (The Humanist Report) In the past 7 months, many LGBTQ+ folks who support Palestine, myself included, have been told that we’re “traitors to the LGBTQ+ community,” or that “if we went to Gaza, we’d be thrown off a building, beheaded, or otherwise publicly executed.” It’s intriguing, given that the vast majority of these comments come from folks living in the United States, a country that has introduced over 570 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year alone, another record-setting year. Many of these laws target life-saving healthcare for trans individuals, which is troubling for a number of reasons, including that “LGBTQ+ young people are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers,” as a result of “how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.” In 2021, we saw the highest number of murdered trans people, the majority of whom were Black and Brown. There have been 17 such murders so far in 2024.

On the other hand, some of these comments about our fate as queer and trans people in Palestine come from Israelis, a place run by an ultra-conservative political party, where conversion therapy was only banned a few years ago and is still practiced by ultra-religious sects who hold immense power and privilege in a religious ethnostate. Same-sex marriage is illegal, although if performed outside of Israel, it is recognized.

Of course, we know that governments are often poor metrics for public sentiment. For example, despite ongoing violence against LGBTQ+ individuals; despite the hateful rhetoric employed by politicians and ongoing legal persecution in the U.S., a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ individuals. The same can be said of Israel. It’s worth pointing out that there are LGBTQ+ Palestinians—a fact well known to Israeli troops, who have sought to blackmail them with threats of exposure.

Every religion has its extremists. Yet, Western governments and corporate media insist on the term “Islamic extremist,” a pairing rarely, if ever, made with other faiths. (Just one example of this disparity: the ultra-religious, white nationalist Proud Boys were referred to as “some very fine people,” by President Trump.) This vilification of Islam is rooted in bigotry. Islam is not inherently more conservative or violent than any other religion. But the West tends to view just about anything outside of Judeo-Christian order as suspect. The U.S. and its allies bomb cities, kill civilians en masse, contaminate water and flood supply, block aid, and forcibly displace whole populations and it’s called military force, an unfortunate byproduct of war, a “tragic mistake.” (The New Republic) Arab-led Middle Eastern states do any or all of the above, and it’s called terrorism. The U.S. and other Western powers will shame Arab-led countries for their treatment of women, of LGBTQ+ folks, and of minorities, and it’s not that these criticisms are unsound, it’s that they are hypocritical and work  to homogenize an entire continent.

All of this is to say that Palestinians are not a monolith, nor is any religious or ethnic group or race.

Saying that the LGBTQ+ people advocating for Palestinian Liberation are traitors to their sexuality orientation or gender identity, or saying that they would die if they were in Gaza ignores several key points:

1. We could die and are dying in the U.S.

2. Everyone is at risk of death in Gaza, LGBTQ+ civilians and otherwise, as a result of Israel’s actions.

3. Inherent in these claims is a Western, white savior complex, which holds that foreigners—namely people of color—need saving from their draconian practices and views. This line of thinking is just a few steps shy from calling indigenous people barbarians.

I will continue to advocate for a ceasefire and decolonization, but more than that, I hope we can continue to decolonize our minds. I hope we stop using people’s identities as excuses for oppression and as weapons against them. I hope we can begin to look at other people and see parts of ourselves looking back. To quote a source in my latest piece for Atmos, “Free Palestine means a free world. The liberation of Palestinians inherently entails the liberation of everybody.” The road to liberation is long and arduous, but so is remaining where we are. And there’s a lot waiting for us at the end of the road: thriving Palestinian children, Black trans elders, queer visionaries, a liberated Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, Sudan, Congo, Tigray–a liberated world. This Pride Month, let’s march, engage, and participate with our collective liberation in mind. We cannot settle for anything less.

With that, let’s get to it.

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More of the Latest

🏳️‍🌈 In Arizona, a recent study found that “school districts across Arizona in rural, suburban, and urban areas…representing at least 37,000 school-aged children in suburban and rural parts of the state…said they do not offer any kind of sex education, currently.” They cited recent “heated politics around LGBTQ+ issues as an excuse for denying students the curriculum.” (AZ Mirror).

🏳️‍🌈 Assigned Media analyzes some of the faux-science often cited by far-right media and pundits when they wrongfully categorize trans people as “violent, irredeemable criminals.”

🏳️‍🌈 FAIR examines the dangerous implications that come along with the NYT’s feeding their largely liberal readership “subtle” anti-trans propaganda.

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Positives & Resources

🏳️‍🌈 Documented compiled a list of LGBTQ+-friendly shelters and services in NYC.

🏳️‍🌈 Chauncey, a small village in Ohio, just passed “protections for LGBTQ+ residents [and] low income renters.” (The Buckeye Flame)

🏳️‍🌈 Also from The Buckeye Flame, despite biblical death threats” and calls for cancelation at a city council meeting in Ashtabula, Ohio, the city’s Pride Festival is slated to happen on June 15th.

🏳️‍🌈 The Nation reviews Griffin Hansbury’s new book, Some Strange Music Draws Me In, a novel that explores the intricacies and contradictions of gender identity, set in a small town in rural New England.

🏳️‍🌈 If you’re looking for Pride related events:

🏳️‍🌈 A calendar of Global Pride Events (including U.S. events).

🏳️‍🌈 A 2024 Ohio Pride Guide from The Buckeye Flame.

🏳️‍🌈 You can find New York Pride events here and here. This year, the NYC Dyke March’s theme is “Dykes Against Genocide.”

🏳️‍🌈 And since Gov. Ron DeSantis declared summer 2024 the “Summer of Freedom,” here’s a list of Pride events in Florida.


Thank you for being here, and thank you for your diligent, informed, and independent news consumption. Remember to hold each other. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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