In a post to its Facebook page, Identity Inc. writes that it is not hosting any official Anchorage Pride events this year, citing various evaluations to address systemic racism within the organization.
“We are in the process of evaluating our events, processes, and structures to address systemic racism in our organization and to ensure we are honoring and validating Alaska’s diverse LGBTQ+ communities and people.”Identity Inc., Facebook, May 20, 2021
An open letter to Identity’s Board of Directors, written on behalf of members of the Anchorage queer & LGBTQI+ community, says that members of the BIPOC community are concerned about the “recent events that have exposed underlying white supremacist, patriarchal, and colonizing roots of Identity and the Pride Committee.”
The letter claims that Identity and the Pride Committee chose a theme that played off the word “conqueered,” a word the letter’s author(s) say has military connotations and which has been “used historically by white men to steal from Indigenous peoples around the world.”
The letter also claims that the chosen Anchorage Pride theme was “inherently racist and misogynist” and added, “BIPOC and anti-racist white people” had resisted the proposed theme after it had been unveiled.
Author(s) of the open letter also expressed concern about how Identity is alleged to have conducted itself after members of the BIPOC community had raised concerns about the Anchorage Pride theme, claiming in their letter that Identity deleted comments and posts which opposed the theme, thereby silencing members of the BIPOC community who spoke out against it.
In response to concerns raised by the author(s) of the open letter, Identity held a Community Listening Session on May 13. Attendees of the session asked why Identity’s Board was filled mostly with white people, and others asked if leadership gave a reason for not attending the listening session. You can find notes from the listening session here.
Seven days after the listening session, Identity had announced that they were not hosting any official Anchorage Pride events and provided a list of community-hosted Pride events on Facebook.