There are many people rightfully upset that this year’s Stonewall Parade & Street Festival may not feature drag performances.
But if that wasn’t bad enough, they now may be policing our language.
Instead of rising up against these new Draconian laws handed down by our tyrannical governor, it appears some leaders are willing to enforce their own set of Draconian laws against the community in order to avoid the governor’s wrath.
So far the argument has centered around whose fault is it? Gov. Ron DeSantis? The City of Wilton Manors? The commissioners? The Stonewall Festival? The bar owners?
Nope. It’s our fault.
It’s easy to sit behind a mobile phone and comment about how mad you are.
Well then. Do something.
And that’s why I believe it’s time to make some “good trouble” in Wilton Manors.
Former Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis once said, "Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."
It’s a call to action.
If Wilton Manors isn’t representing you, if the organizers of the Stonewall Street Festival are not representing you, it’s time to make your voice heard.
But you have to do something.
Other Pride festivals around the country have faced similar crises and sometimes it’s taken grassroots organizers to make the change that was needed and wanted. When our leaders become tone-deaf we sometimes have to make “good trouble” to make them hear us.
Activists around the country have shut down parades, they’ve protested, they’re formed alternative Prides.
So stop bitching and do something.
Here’s an excerpt from the Sun Sentinel interivewing the organizer of Stonewall, Jeff Sterling, about the upcoming festival:
The major changes will focus on conduct, clothes and language.
Vulgarity is out. “If you wouldn’t say it in front of your 6-year-old niece, you ain’t saying it in public,” he said.
There is a dress code. Showing off female breasts and prosthetics are out. “None of that borderline stuff like pasties,” [Jeff] Sterling said.
Sterling will tell performers, “You are entertaining for minors, your audience is a bunch of kindergartners. How would you treat it as if it was your child.”
And there’s conduct. “You can’t touch yourself inappropriately, grabbing genitalia, using your body and thrusting it in a certain way,” Sterling said.
It’s ironic a festival named after the Stonewall Riots is even considering caving to DeSantis’ demands. The riots were started by the most marginalized parts of the LGBTQ community. And now the most mainstream parts of our community, who have capitalized on those riots, are turning their backs on us, especially our drag performers, and our transgender community.
It’s a disgrace.
But it’s not surprising. This is what happens when you choose liquor over liberty; profits over pride; cowardice over courage.
So what to do?
Whatever you do, remember these words from Lewis.
“Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
Also, wear pasties.