Dakota and Tirado didn’t simply choose white to mirror the protest of 1917, either. White was chosen because of all the poetic splendor associated with the color. In literature, white often represents newness—a fresh sheet of snow, a blank slate—and it was the same for Sunday’s Brooklyn Liberation match. “Another part of our incentive for folks to wear white was to help the public understand a new, visual way to imagine our community—the dawn of a new era that would not just include Black Trans and gendernonconforming people, but put them at the front where they belong,” Tirado said via email.
Both Tirado and Dakota felt that the rainbow typically associated with Pride lost its resonance when corporations started using it to cover up otherwise problematic behavior. When rainbows appear on NYPD cop cars and hang outside precincts, they don’t make as much sense in a protest against those very entities. White was intended to make the crowd “stand out,” Dakota wrote. “Not only against the other actions happening everyday around the city/country, but also against the rainbow-washing, the co-opting of the rainbow flag by corporations, that say they are representing queer people. I wanted this to be a reminder, to ourselves, and to the world of what our community looks like.” Tirado added: “The overall sentiment of ‘Pride’ as a construct has unfortunately been tainted by corporatization, rainbow-washing, police collaboration, and a space predominantly for cis white folks—despite that being the exact antithesis of how Pride started 50 years ago.” (Pride, of course, started as a protest against the NYPD and its raid of the Stonewall Inn in 1969.)
The striking photos that emerged from the march help prove the organizers’ point: pictures from the scene are breathtaking in their vastness, like an avalanche that came to rest in front of the Brooklyn Museum. Together, the people dressed in white created an awesome display of something brand new—the birth, hopefully, of new ways of thinking, acting, and treating one another.