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San Francisco mayor boycotts Pride Parade over stance on uniformed officers marching

San Francisco Mayor London Breed will boycott the city’s upcoming Pride Parade, one of the largest and most iconic in the country, due to organizers’ stance that off-duty police officers cannot march in uniform during the June 26 event.

This is the latest breakdown on what role, if any, the police should have in the events of Pride, given the epidemic of police violence against LGBT+ people and the long history of the gay liberation movement in Pride. resistance to police abuse.

“I have made this very difficult decision in order to support members of the LGBTQ community who serve in uniform, in our Police Department and Sheriff’s Department, who were told they could not march in uniform and in support of members of the fire department who refuse to march in solidarity with their public safety partners,” she said. said in a statement Monday.

“One of the core elements of the better policing movement is the demand that those who serve in uniform better represent the communities they police,” she continued. “We can’t say, ‘We want more black officers,’ or ‘We want more LGBTQ officers,’ and then treat those officers with disrespect when they step in and serve.”

Earlier in the day, the San Francisco Officers Pride Alliance, an LGBT+ group, along with LGBT+ sheriff’s deputies and city firefighters all said they would not march in Pride unless police could do it in full uniform.

“The San Francisco Pride Committee has asked LGBTQ+ peace officers to return to the closet,” the agencies and groups said in a joint statement. “Although we cannot walk with our communities, we will always be here, working to keep you safe because that is what we have sworn to do.”

Suzanne Ford, acting director of San Francisco Pride, told the San Francisco Chronicle “there is no equivalent” to asking officers to return to the closet, noting that they would be welcome to wear shirts or other clothing identifying them as police officers.

“We didn’t ask anyone to hide or not reveal who they were,” she said. “We just didn’t want full uniforms, out of concern for harm reduction for marginalized members of our community.”

There was no full in-person Pride Parade in the city since 2019 due to the pandemic, and in 2020, organizers decided not to allow uniformed and off-duty police to march at the event following the killing of George Floyd by officers in Minneapolis.

Even before Mr Floyd’s murder sparked nationwide protests, the LGBT+ community was experiencing and fighting back against police abuse.

LGBT+ people are nearly four times more likely of becoming victims of a violent crime, according to a recent study, and many are afraid to call the police for help. Another 2014 survey of LGBT+ people and people living with HIV found that 73% had had contact with the police in the past five years, and more than a fifth of them reported hostile attitudes , and 14% reported verbal abuse. Trans people and people of color experienced such harassment in even greater numbers, according to the study. These models continue for LGBT+ people behind bars tooStudies show.

This is also a long known fact in San Francisco. In 1966, three years before the famous Stonewall riot in New York, a group of trans women, fed up with police mistreatment, rioted against officers of Gene Compton Cafeteriaa popular all-night restaurant and a gathering place for LGBT+ people.

“These ladies took the bullets for us,” Donna Personna, an artist and activist who frequented the restaurant as a teenager, Told The Guardian. “Everyone in our community stands on his shoulders.”

The conversation around policing and pride has been hotly contested across the country.

In New York, the organizers prohibits agents from participating as a group in the annual parade through at least 2025, and the NYPD has been asked to stay one block from the edge of all in-person events.

The decision proved just as controversial as San Francisco’s, with people noting both Stonewall’s legacy of police resistance and the strides made by New York’s LGBT+ officers, who successfully pursued the right. to march as a group in uniform in 1996.

Some, like then-New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, called the decision “error.”

“Officers who are members of the LGBT community [want] to march and express their pride and solidarity with the community and their desire to continue to change the NYPD and change the city,” he said at a press conference at the time. “It’s something that I think should be embraced.”

The continued police presence at Pride in New York also led veteran LGBT+ organizers to found Reclaime Pride Coalition, a group that organizes its own events, believing that the mainstream Pride Parade in New York has strayed “too far away.” far from the spirit of the Stonewall Rebellion, and miles from achieving societal equity for queer and trans people.

One of their catchphrases is “”No bodies, no cops, no bs!”

In Boston, meanwhile, there will be no full-scale pride parade in 2022after the group that organizes it decided in 2021 to disband, after facing criticism that the seemingly all-white board of directors ignored the voices of people of color and trans people.

“It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride,” the board said in its statement at the time. “We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others,” the statement continued, referring to queer and trans people of color. “We care too much about getting in the way. Consequently, Boston Pride disbands. There will be no other events or programs scheduled, and the board is taking steps to close the organization.

For much of the 20th century, the police were used to blatantly enforce anti-LGBT+ relationship laws, gender portrayal, and often violent raids on gay gathering spaces. Now, in big cities across the United States, people are wondering how to redefine that relationship as something better.

The Independent Gt

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