Earlier this year, in January 2023, RISE eX-detainees published our open letter to the Midsumma Festival where we urged the Midsumma Festival to immediately cut ties with security company Serco, Victoria Police, military or any current relationships with politicians both federal and state.
Until now, we still have not received any response from Midsumma at all.
Festivals such as Midsumma cannot continue if they allow police, military, and detention architects and profiteers to participate and be part of their festivals. eX-detainee refugees are victims – survivors of police brutality, military occupation and detention torture and abuse.
Queer pride parades and marches such as those organised by Midsumma are not queer pride. They are parades and marches for crimes against humanity.
Midsumma should stand with the people, particularly those who are most vulnerable like eX-detainee refugees who survived rape, torture and abuse (including queer eX-detainee refugees), rather than providing our oppressors a platform to sanitise and wash blood off their hands.
The Military industries around the world have always been innately queerphobic towards queer people. It is no secret that anti-queer governments have been and are still using force, the police, the navy, other military, prison and detention, among other means, to target and harass queer communities. Why are Midsumma and other Queer festival organisers forcing us to dance and parade under the sinister shadow of these queerphobic entities?
In Australia, there is no safe passage for refugees to arrive by boat for protection. Mandatory detention policies are enforced to block and turn back boats carrying refugees, including those who have to flee their countries as a consequence of being persecuted for their queerness. All of this is happening as a result of mandatory detention policies supported by Australia’s three major political parties—the Liberals, Labor, and Greens— Is it necessary for us to share a bed at the Midsumma Festival with these oppressive politicians?
Not only do queer festivals in Australia such as Midsumma but also queer festivals overseas enjoy boot licking and sleeping with politicians, police, and the military. Are you willing to make changes to support one of the most vulnerable people in society or would you rather continue bootlicking our oppressors?
In contrast to whitesupremacist, colonial minded pride organisers in so called Australia, New York City Pride has banned the police from all of their events since 2021 until at least 2025 to protect the safety of queer people-in particular people of colour and transgender people who are the most violently impacted by profiling by the police. This is only the first step and there is still to be done to ensure that the most oppressed queer people who are directly impacted by policing, detention, military occupation racist government policies can safely attend pride events without having to face their oppressors.
There is nothing to be proud about the detention industrial complex and any individual, political party, corporation and agency who benefits from this industry. There is also nothing to be proud of with regard to military invasion and occupation or police racial profiling.
Enough is Enough!
Unless these changes are met, we ask eX-detainees and supporters not to attend the Midsumma Festival.
‘Nothing About Us Without Us’