With signs reading “Capitalism=Death” and “Queer liberation, not rainbow capitalism,” members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies marched down 6th Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday, taking time for two moments of silence and to shout at a Chick-fil-A where “Fuck haters” was written on pink tape marking an X on the window.
It was the first-ever Queer Liberation March, the anti-Pride demonstration meant to reclaim the annual Pride parade that has become corporation-heavy and police-ridden. Participating in Pride this year is especially tempting for many brands. This year saw millions of people streaming into New York for the U.S.’s first WorldPride celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. But consumers are tired of so-called “woke-washing” and have critiqued branded rainbow merchandise and messaging as nothing more than an attempt to capitalize off those who are marginalized. Brands like Budweiser and CW have witnessed how easily Pride campaigns, and even quick social posts, can come off as tone-deaf or offensive. Marchers of the Queer Liberation March followed the same route of the first-ever Christopher Street Liberation Day March, held a year after the riots. The march began at 9:30 am at Stonewall Inn and marchers walked along 6th Avenue up to Central Park where the afternoon event culminated in a rally with speakers and musical acts. The massive Pride parade, which featured corporate floats from companies like the NBA and Starbucks, began hours later along a different route.