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Fri, Mar. 20th, 2009, 10:46 pm
fireworkboy: Portland Trans/Gen. Varient/Soffa/Ally march needs YOUR vote!

Hey All!
So folks are organizing a trans/genderqueer pride march that will be separate from the Dyke march this year. Right now we’re at a critical point in our organizing and we are reaching out for YOUR opinion . Here's the lowdown on what’s up: it comes down to making the decision to obtain a permit versus not obtaining a permit for the march. Please look over all of the material and weigh in on your preference and post your vote, and if you have any additional feedback or thoughts, please toss them out there.

Voting for this will be open from NOW till 11:59 PM on Monday, March 23rd . All members of the Google Group are eligible to vote for this. If you know someone that hasn't joined yet and wants to get a word in, let them know and have them join, or have them shoot an email to transmarchpdx@gmail.com and we'll add them to the list.

Please reply publicly to the group with your vote. All votes will be open view and results tallied Tuesday morning. Some folks who’ve attended the organizing meeting have compiled a list of pros and cons about each option together to help better inform you of some of the elements at play here which you should read below. I’ve also included my own to cents*** at the end of this post, incase you care, which you certainly don’t have to, lol.

As we plan a celebration and visibility action, it is important to look at who gets to be visible, and how that can impact ourselves and our communities. There are pros and cons to a permitted vs a non-permitted march, and it is important to look over all the facts
and decide what message we wish to send.

-The permit cost for an event our size would be $690, and we may also be required to obtain liability insurance. We can meet these numbers through fundraising efforts; this is not an unattainable goal.

-A permitted march will provide police escort, making certain that the streets are clear for everyone marching, ensuring a safe event.

-A wider range of individuals may feel more comfortable attending a permitted march; there is no risk of negative police action if something should go awry.

-The message sent for a permitted march is that of approval of the City of Portland's policies towards trans/genderqueer/genderfree individuals, saying that we, as organizers, feel that the city has a progressive attitude to letting individuals live as they desire.

-Applying and paying for a permit sends a message that we as organizers in trans/genderqueer/genderfree communities accept police and the legal system as our allies. Making that clear alliance also sends messages to marginalized communities who are regulalrly targeted by Portland police (some examples: youth, sex workers, people of
color, low income and homeless people, people with disabilities, and yes, trans/genderqueer/genderfree folks) that we are purchasing our visibility and celebration at their expense.

-Our ability to complete the march may be affected if all participants do not march with the same peaceful intent. Depending on size we may not be able to control. Non-permitted, this could affect all of us.

-Not having a permit may put some of us at the event at risk of arrest; we will be using our collective privilege and passion and organizing skills to send a message of solidarity for marginalized communities in our local area, including within our own communities.
There are security alternatives to the police, and we can work together to make this event as safe as possible for as many as possible.

To post to this group, send email to transmarchpdx@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/transmarchpdx?hl=en

***My vote is for a non-permitted march. Maybe it's because I'm a city kid, but I've known so many trans folks who've been hasted, beaten, arrested and generally mistreated by police. Myself included. I cannot stomach the thought of giving money to a police force that commits violence against so many of our brothers and sisters and continues the cycle of marginalization of the oppressed. Sex workers, the homeless, folks of color...all bear the brunt of targeted police harassment and violence...and a lot of those folks are trans folks too. We who are organizing this event come from places of one type of privilege or another, and we need to examine how we are exercising that privilege via who we choose to give our money to, and what kind of message that is sending. As a community, I believe very strongly that trans folks and our allies need to stand with our fellow marginalized brothers and sisters and not forget where we came from and not forget where we want to go. Nor can we turn a deaf ear to the multitude of stories about the misuse of force by the Portland Police department just because we want to and because some of us have the privilege to do so.
Also…I just wanted to add a ps. onto the "where we came from" element of things here. Why was "Pride" started? If you look, you will see that it was begun to commemorate Stonewall. What was Stonewall?

Sat, Mar. 21st, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)

I am strongly in favor of a non-permitted march for the reasons listed above.

We do not need the police state to keep us safe; we can ensure the streets are clear enough to be safe for all ourselves.

I laughed (with love) at the line in the pro-permit section that says "there is no risk of negative police action if something should go awry." I have been to PLENTY of Portland permitted marches where things have "gone awry" (remembering that some folks' "awry" is some folks' "perfectly, without a hitch") and everyone, on the march route or not, has been pepper-sprayed or otherwise assaulted. There is NO guarantee that having a permit keeps any portion of the march safe from police brutality.

The chances of a breakaway or other direct action at a trans march seem slim to nil, based on my experience in Portland. ESPECIALLY if organizers and community members put out kind requests (similar to the wording in this post) to keep the event safe for the more targetted memebers of our community (case in point, there hasn't been a major upset at a Mayday march in years, because organizers always ask people to play it safe). Of course, "requests" that include things like "can't, better not, shouldn't, we'll turn you in if you do, etc etc" never go over well and only serve to deepen the divide between different belief systems, be it liberal or radical, non-violent or direct-action, what-have-you.

I'm happy to see the apparent level of thought that is going in to this and I hope folks will come to a workable decision.
When the march gets closer, I recommend you contact the Rosehip Medic Collective and ask about their trans members supporting this march in a medicking role (we'll probably show up anyway to march, and since most of us never go anywhere without medic kits, we'll be the medics by default, but it's always nice to be asked). You can contact us through my email, legendline@yahoo.com, or message me here.