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Queers protest military recruitment at pride in Vancouver

by Lauren Gillanonymous Video, →Dominion Stories, →2010 Olympics

Queers protest military recruitment at pride in Vancouver

Also posted by emily oxford:

Six local queer grassroots activists and allies protested the military recruitment booth yesterday located in the heart of the post pride parade celebration at sunset beach. Some of the activists were wearing Guantonamo bay detainee suits, and knelt in front of their table, as the others handed out anti-military propaganda.

Within 5 minutes of being there, activists were forcefully surrounded by over 20 hostile security volunteers. The volunteers immediately began to snatch leaflets from protesters hands as well as the people who received them. The volunteers asked them to leave the premises, telling them that it was an illegal action, then they proceeded to create a human shield that would not allow sight to the action as they shouted "[the activists] are not welcome here.”

The police were eventually called, and the activists were escorted off the grounds. While queer supporters of the anti-war activists followed them to show their solidarity with the cause. The juxtaposition was that the volunteer queers were protecting the state as the state sat on their asses and watched the whole thing go down.

Vancouver Pride president and full time reactionary alarmist Ken Coolen was especially hostile when confronting the protesters. Tension was high as this was not the first time Coolen had tried to infringe on the communities freedom of expression. Back in June during the G20 summits in Toronto the Vancouver community organized a solidarity march called “Slam the Gate on the G8.” The march was to leave Grandview park for another location prior to the East Van Pride Event, Coolen sent off numerous aggressive e-mails threatening to publicly denounce organizers, stating that we were intentionally crashing the pride event.

As gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, two spirited, queer and allied organizers we found this to be quite alarming. The history of pride is rooted in direct action and grassroots organizing, many people have heard about the stonewall riots.

Just because we can get over 500,000 supporters out to a march does not mean we need to give up our analysis of the oppression of the queer community. With corporate sponsors, pink-washing, and open military recruitment the pride parade has lost it’s grassroots history. In addition, the military is one of the most openly homophobic institutions in KKKanada, need I mention our closest allies policy of “Don’t ask don’t tell.” The military also have a strong history of recruiting marginalized populations and it is now clear they are intentionally trying to target the queer community. We will not stand for this and we will not be silenced by the state or the so called queer community leaders.

They do not represent us, and “they are not welcome here.”

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Commentaires

This article is pretty much

This article is pretty much garbage.  Aside from some baseless ranting about Canada being white supremacists and a waning US policy, it can't offer even one cogent argument for what these troublemakers were trying to accomplish.  It seems to me like these "activists", along with the obviously biased authors that fabricated this story, are nothing more than a bunch of misguided, self-righteous punks who tried to pull off a cheap publicity stunt by dressing up as queers and hijacking our pride festival.  They just rode in on the coattails of the gay movement for some sleazy opportunity to steal the spotlight and detract from our progress so that they could spew their own anti-military propaganda.  They call themselves a grassroots campaign, yet they act like fascists with their attempts to blockade and silence a peaceful crowd taking part in our celebration.  Have you ever heard of democracy?  Can you honestly believe people will support you just because you show up and snatch the mic out of their hand?  Not only does the support of the military represent an important milestone for gay rights, it sets a powerful precedent for Canada's allies (i.e. the US).  You should know that it is YOU who do not represent us, and you are not welcome to wage your counterproductive stunts in our name.

und3erd0g:  First off, I find

und3erd0g: 

First off, I find it very strange that you claim these activists to be "dressing up as queers". What on earth is that supposed to mean? How do you dress like a "queer"? That is a very rude and ignorant statement. It may be hard to believe buddy, but some gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, two-spirited and queer people out there are very radical and very political and actually have a problem with their pride event being sponsored by the likes of RBC and TD and having military recruitment happening there. These activists certainly did not pretend to be part of the queer community to get their views across, THEY ARE part of the queer community and have a right to be pissed off that the Canadian military is trying to recruit young, queer people to become soldiers.

Secondly, you say that these activists "blockade and silence a peaceful crowd taking part in our celebration". You obviously have no idea what happened there. What I saw at the event were 2 young women handing out pamphlets (not even blocking the military table!) and one person in a Guantanamo bay suit kneeling at the side and out of the way. The activists were very calm and collected and were refusing to be riled up by the military personal. It was the pride volunteers who blockaded. When the volunteers found that they could not make the activists leave (after screaming and swearing and very nearly assaulting them), they gathered about 20-25 of them and made a massive barrier around the activists and the military table, refusing to let anyone pass. It seems to me that it was really the volunteers who caused more problems then the activists! At least the activists were polite and respectful  of the crowds passing through and didn't grab things out of people's hands!!

so, if you are going to bash the article, at least know wtf you are talking about.

Is patriotism lost?

While the volunteers may have been aggressive sure, the "activists" were unacceptably showing disrespect to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Canada over seas. What we often forget is that freedom comes at a price only paid for in the blood and sweat of patriots like our soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces. How dare anyone complain that the army is prejudice when without them nobody would even have the right to be gay, not to mention march down the street and flaunt it. Perhaps we should all stop complaining for a minute and think about how gifted we are to live in a free and relatively safe country.

When Will The Media Co-Op Come Out Of The

It is fantastic that people want to question Canada's role in the war on terror, our foreign policy and what not. There is a lot of confusion about why we're in Afghanistan, why Khadr is still in Guantanamo, and why civilians are killed in NATO missions. The government of Canada and the greater society really needs these issues to come out of the closet....so to speak...even if the combat mission is set to end in the next year or so.

It is also fantastic that the Pride Parade did not allow the angry and educated middle-class protestor folk to co-opt the pride parade for their uncompromising and abstractive anarchist agenda. The purpose of the corporate-funded parade was "to produce events that reflect the pride the LGBT community has in itself and its contribution to the larger community." (http://www.vancouverpride.ca/about-us)

It is unfortunate that Coolen and the security guards treated the protestors with a great deal of disrespect. However, I suspect that the protestors were probably not being respectful themselves. But in a media release written for and by protestors, what can one honestly expect in terms of balanced viewpoints that reflects whatever each side felt the issue was?

Also, is the Department of National Defence (DND) really "one of the most openly homophobic institutions in KKKanada"? There was a military lesbian couple who were recently married in a military church. Also a sex change was paid for by the military. In fact, the military has allowed gays and lesbians to serve since 1992.

There is also the Standard for Harassment and Racism Prevention (SHARP) training that is mandatory for all service people to do. If service persons disrespect, harass or harm other service persons for reasons such as homophobia, the DND will not tolerate this and will severely reprimand the offender.

While these are but a few examples of progress within the DND with regards to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, it certainly does not mean that everything is perfect. But like the rest of Canada and the world, there is a lot of change that STILL needs to be cultivated.

Oh well, good luck with the revolution!

Not in solidarity,

larry portelance

Larry Portelancewrote: "the

Larry Portelancewrote:

"the angry and educated middle-class protestor folk"

What's the point of giving such status to the activists. It's pure assumptions and they are quite likely not true. Your attempt to bring them down is quite lame. I could have been one of them if I lived in Vancouver and I'm surely not middle-class. And what's the point anyway; middle-class people ar enot elligible to protest? Also, from what I heard, the visible anger there was coming from the security not the activists.

You can be proud of the "progress" within the army, and other can prefer to focus their energy to denounce the negative side of the army. Yes, pride is big corporate-funded party and the war is also a big corporate-funded party. You can be proud of that too, or see the ridiculous in it.

Activism is at the root of pride and now activists gets kicked out of pride?

Stonewall was a fucking riot, honor your roots!

So many assumptions

Larry: "I suspect that the protestors were probably not being respectful themselves"

My, I hope the military doesn't make assumptions like these when running roughshod in countries that never attacked this one.

And my what a progressive military. No wonder so many X-box gangsters join up thinking that killing fields resemble those they've "experienced" in their parents' basements. Be as progressive as you like, the aim of the military remains the same as in feudal times, with a haphazard brush-stroke of PR.

We should all be quite happy to not have Larry's solidarity. It would be rather like getting Kama Sutra pointers from a eunuch.

Respecting Canadian Patriots

While the volunteers may have been aggressive sure, the "activists" were unacceptably showing disrespect to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Canada over seas. What we often forget is that freedom comes at a price only paid for in the blood and sweat of patriots like our soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces. How dare anyone complain that the army is prejudice when without them nobody would even have the right to be gay, not to mention march down the street and flaunt it. Perhaps we should all stop complaining for a minute and think about how gifted we are to live in a free and relatively safe country.

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