Pride & Resistance: The Oklahoma Pride Alliance on Palestine

Oklahoma Pride Alliance on Palestine

Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Pride Alliance posted on social media that “Oklahoma Pride Alliance supports a Free Palestine and calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire”. Their post went on to detail their message, and also featured a picture of individuals in “Free Palestine” shirts made by local volunteer run business soft hand. The post has since been removed from social media. 

Historical Context of Violence in Gaza

Since October 7th 2023, the settler-colonialist entity “israel” has carried out the most deadly military campaign in modern history, and the world has witnessed an ongoing genocide in Gaza. This violence did not start nine months ago, as Palestinians have undergone decades of apartheid policies, brutality, and land theft. 

Reactions to the Statement

Many people welcomed the Oklahoma Pride Alliance’s support as communities across the globe have struggled to find joy in anything as we have seen babies slaughtered on social media, read horrific reports of torture and sexual assault, and seen countless men and women massacred trying to feed their families. 

Backlash and Withdrawn Support

However, OK Pride Alliance also received backlash from other supporters and multiple sponsors threatened to drop out and withdraw funding. Just this week, Oklahoma City Public Schools withdrew as well, specifically citing their stance on Palestine and their “alignment with Soft Hand”. Soft Hands has been targeted as the scapegoat for organizations backing out, even though they also sell shirts supporting trans youth and abortion rights. Furthermore, the business is one of many participating in the parade, not a formal sponsor.

Roots of Pride Parades

The origins of pride parades and protests are not rooted in passive, easy activism. While actions had been ongoing, the Stonewall Riots are the most cited origins of “Gay Pride” in the 1970s. These riots featured extreme police brutality, especially towards people of color. However, these protests unified people and stood to highlight the unjust and discriminatory systems that we live in.

Intersection of Pride and
Pro-Palestine Movements

Many groups that have joined to support the OK Pride Alliance and other pride initiatives like the Dyke March have shared Pro-Palestine content. While the genocide in Gaza should be enough to call in humanity, here at home there have been increasing attacks on 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, particularly students. For groups to withdraw support during these times is telling of their own policies and where they stand. Freedom Oklahoma released a statement regarding the OKCPS decision, highlighting the need to focus on pride as “a riot, a radical demand for freedom, and a commitment to building that freedom together”. 

Political Nature of Pride Events

Critics have claimed that pride has “gotten too political”. Pride has always been a political event. For organizations and donors backing out, they need to evaluate their own morals and acknowledge that they do not care about genocide abroad, or at home. While pride often centers joy, it is also about resistance to these deadly systems, and the fact that people are still fighting for their lives. Collective liberation is  not complete without full solidarity with indigenous groups here in Oklahoma, in Palestine, and with the 2SLGBTQ+ community. 

The Call for Collective Liberation

Collective liberation means fighting for freedom and justice for all oppressed groups, whether in our communities or across the globe. This includes standing in solidarity with Palestinians, Indigenous peoples, and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Join us in advocating for an end to all forms of oppression and supporting those who are fighting for their lives. Your voice and actions matter—together, we can make a difference.

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