Pride of San Francisco: Mayor to withdraw from parade due to ban on police participating in uniform

The event’s board of directors ruled on May 11 that off-duty police officers participating in the June 26 parade are not allowed to wear their uniforms, San Francisco Pride acting executive director Suzanne Ford said. Officers are still allowed to participate and show department representation through t-shirts, Ford said.

In response to the ban, the San Francisco Police Officer’s Pride Alliance, which includes police, fire departments and the sheriff’s office, said Monday that LGBTQ employees decided not to participate in the parade “to take a stand against the discriminatory practices”. SF Pride Committee Board Actions.”

In previous years, Ford said, the police department participated by having a “contingent in parade.”

Not allowing uniformed police to participate in Pride events is nothing new. Last year, New York City Pride and The Center on Colfax, which organizes Denver Pride, announced that they would no longer allow police officers to hold displays or participate in parades in uniform. In 2017, Pride Toronto banned uniformed police officers and their floats from participating. And in 2020, the Vancouver Pride Society followed suit, saying it should have done so sooner.
The participation of uniformed law enforcement at Pride events can appear threatening or dangerous to an LGBTQ+ community that for decades has been targeted with excessive force, even though their presence is intended to foster a sense of community and security, advocacy groups said. Indeed, the pride marches began in response to a 1969 police raid on Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, which sparked several days of protests.

This year in San Francisco, Breed made a decision to support members of the LGBTQ community who serve in uniform, she said in a statement.

People dance during the annual Pride Parade in San Francisco in 2017.

“If the Pride Board does not reverse its decision, I will join our city’s public safety departments that are not participating in the Pride Parade,” Breed said in a statement.

The event’s board’s unanimous decision came after more than a year of discussions with the SFPD’s Pride Alliance following a 2019 incident between protesters and responding officers, said Ford.

“The board made the decision knowing it was the right thing to do,” she said. “We are disappointed with Mayor Breed’s decision, but we look forward to working with her and law enforcement to find a solution that works for everyone.”

After two years without a parade due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 52nd annual San Francisco Pride weekend is scheduled for June 25-26, according to its website.

“The San Francisco Police Department supports the decision of our LGBTQ+ officers,” the department said in a statement. “While our members may not be participating in this year’s Pride Parade, the San Francisco Police Department will be on hand to ensure that everyone who attends and participates in SF Pride Weekend activities enjoys a weekend. safe and festive Pride end in San Francisco.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed quotes from San Francisco Pride Acting Executive Director Suzanne Ford.

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