NYC Pride bans New York police– including LGBTQ police members
Heritage of Pride, the organizer of the Pride events in New York City, has banned law enforcement groups from participating in the NYC Pride– including having the New York Police Department (NYPD) provide security.
The group said the suspension, which will start this June and last through at least 2025, also covers those representing LGBTQ members of law enforcement participating in the event.
No police members at the NYC Pride
While the NYPD will still be at the event, they will only “provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials,” organizers said.
Specifically, the NYPD will be stationed one block away from the march, as well as other Pride events whenever possible.
In a statement, they said, “NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate.”
“The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” they added.
To provide security, the group will fund the use of private security for emergency response. Furthermore, volunteers will be trained in de-escalation.
LGBTQ officers decry NYC Pride ban
The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), which represents LGBTQ officers and members of the NYPD, said the decision to “placate some of the activists in our community is shameful.”
The group’s president, Brian Downey, further said the organizers “didn’t have the courage to refer to GOAL by name in its announcement, referring to us only as ‘Law Enforcement Exhibitors’.”
Downey added that, “The label is not only offensive but dehumanizing for our members.”
Meanwhile, the NYPD also reacted to the decision: “The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and runs counter to our shared values of inclusion and tolerance.”
However, they told Gay City News that they will be there “to ensure traffic safety and good order during this huge, complex event.”
What was the reason for the ban?
Community activists have been pushing for a reduction of the role of law enforcement in Pride events, citing the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day March caused by the anti-police riot at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.
Because of this, the Reclaim Pride Coalition had set up the Queer Liberation March two years in response to criticisms of corporate and police partnership in the NYC Pride.
This group bans police, corporations, and politicians from participating in the march.
Last year, the Queer Liberation March was held in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter. However, participants in the march clashed with police from the NYPD, resulting in three people arrested.
The 50th anniversary of the Pride parade and other events last year was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s parade scheduled for June 27 will push through but as a virtual event.
The Queer Liberation March will also hold their own march on the same date.