Marching Against Rainbow Militarism

Toward a more radical Pride movement for San Francisco

Pax Ahimsa Gethen
4 min readJun 29


A crowd of people stands on Polk Street, San Francisco, behind a banner reading “People’s March”. Event co-organizer Alex U. Inn stands in front with a megaphone. All photos by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

As the 2023 edition of Pride Month draws to a close, corporations that rolled out the lavender carpet to get gay dollars and ally cookies prepare to ignore queer and trans folks for the remainder of the year. This is “rainbow capitalism”, a phenomenon well-known to the LGBTQ community.

But here in San Francisco, where you can’t walk twenty feet without bumping into a queer person, there is a more insidious counterpart: Rainbow militarism. Championed by cis white gay men as well as straight “allies”, this increasingly militant response to a perceived increase in lawlessness is harming the queer and trans folks — particularly those of color — who live on our streets.

While she has long claimed solidarity with the LGBTQ community, San Francisco Mayor London Breed (a straight cis Black woman) has angered the more radical among us by pushing police-friendly policies. She is aided in her efforts by cis white gay moderates on the Board of Supervisors, Rafael Mandelman (representing the wealthy white gays of the Castro) and Matt Dorsey (former communications head for the SF Police Department).

Both Breed and Dorsey refused to march in last year’s Pride Parade unless police were allowed to march in uniform. Pride relented, and uniformed officers were allowed to march this year as well.

More troubling, however, is Mayor Breed’s intention to greatly increase our police force, given that in 2020 she proposed to redirect $120 million from law enforcement to the Black community. Two years later, she instead aimed to boost the police budget by $25 million, and now she is making increased police staffing a “top priority”.



Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their.,

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