Some gay activists are calling for the removal of police at Pride events this month, claiming that they inspire fear and threaten the safety of participants. Activists have even organized “Cops out of Pride” protests set to take place this June in opposition to the policing of Pride parades.
“Police have often been a force of terror for queer and trans communities,” queer activist and Black Lives Matter member Malkia Devich Cyril told The Guardian. “The efforts to remove policing from Pride are really efforts to ensure safety for the communities that are there. It’s a protective act. It’s an act of resistance.”
The organization Gay Shame, an activist group focusing on the removal of police marching in Pride Parades, told The Guardian that police “exist to kill and torture black and brown people. If you are [celebrating] cops, you are celebrating white supremacy, there is no way around it.”
At the D.C. Pride Parade on June 8 a group of protesters climbed all over a police car and twerked and simulated sex as a crowd shouted approval.
Robert Ball, a gay former reserve commander with the Portland Police Department, came out against the anti-police antics of homosexual activists. “I really felt like the request for officers to not march was essentially trying to put them back into the closet,” said Ball, as reported in The Week. “Banning police officers from a Pride parade I think makes it go back in the other direction and actually hurts trust.”
This is not the first time Pride organizers have tried to limit interactions with police. Two years ago, the Portland Pride organization, Pride Northwest, asked that police officers remove their uniforms, if they wanted to participate in the parade.
Minneapolis also required its officers last year to be attired in civilian clothing, if they wanted to march in the parade, reported Teen Vogue.
In Sacramento, Calif., the police issued a statement, “Our police department is disappointed that the LGBT Center does not want our officers attending upcoming public community events while in uniform. We support our LGBTQ officers who proudly serve our community on a daily basis. They have worked hard to earn these uniforms and are proud to wear them.”
The relationship between police and LGBTQ activists has been strenuous at best, with one of the the most contentious of these conflicts taking place at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. The Stonewall was a gay bar owned and operated by the Mafia. The homosexual hangout had been raided many times but on June 28, 1969, the patrons fought back against the police.
That event sparked the “Pride” events that occur every June during so-called Pride Month, according to History.com.