Formed in Chicago in 2007 to facilitate a convergence of radical trans and gay activists from around the country, Bash Back! sought to critique the ideology of the mainstream LGBT movement, which the group saw as assimilation into the dominant institutions of a heteronormative society. Bash Back! was noticeably influenced by the anarchist movement and radical queer groups, such as ACT UP, and took inspiration from the Stonewall and San Francisco's White Night riots.
The group arose out of anti–Republican National Convention and anti–Democratic National Convention organizing, and continued up to 2011. Chapters sprang up across the country, including in Philadelphia and Seattle. The organization’s model was a nonhierarchical autonomous network based on agreed-upon points of unity, such as fighting for "queer liberation" rather than "heteronormative assimilation", and accepting a diversity of tactics, "including an individual’s autonomy to participate in actions deemed illegal by the government".
July 2008 Chicago Pride events
Bash Back! Chicago carried out a number of actions during their city's Pride Weekend in 2008. The first was participation in the annual Chicago Dyke March in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Bash Back!'s contingent in the march focused on resistance to gentrification in the Pilsen community.
In addition, members of Bash Back! also took part in Chicago's larger Chicago Pride Parade. Bash Back! Chicago wheeled a cage through the parade containing a member dressed as Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley, whom the group charged was responsible for cutting AIDS funding, turning a blind eye to police torture and brutality, and supporting gentrification. Simultaneously, members of the group also distributed barf bags with slogans written on them such as "Corporate Pride Makes Me Sick," a statement about the commercial and assimilative intentions of mainstream gay culture.
- Loadenthal, Michael (2018). The Politics of Attack: Communiqués and Insurrectionary Violence. Manchester University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-5261-2813-3.
- Fassler, Ella (2019-06-20). "This Pride, Everybody Loves Stonewall. But Can We Stomach the Queer Insurrections of Today?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019-06-29.
- Nair, Yasmin. "Dyke March: Different neighborhood, same message". Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- Nair, Yasmin. "Bash Back! makes point at parade". Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- Balaskovitz, Andy (July 20, 2011). "Bash Back! resolved". Lansing City Pulse. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
- Baroque, Fray; Eanelli, Tegan, eds. (2011). Queer Ultraviolence: BASH BACK! Anthology. Ardent Press. ISBN 978-1-62049-042-6.
- Loadenthal, Michael (2013). "Queering (Animal) Liberation and (Queers) Victimhood: The Reappropriation of Intersectionality and Violence". In Melendez Badillo, Jorell A.; Jun, Nathan J. (eds.). Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-4768-1.