By Quentin Choy
May 20, 2021
Pride parades in several major cities across the country such as New York City and Denver are banning participation in the parades by uniformed police officers in response to police brutality such as the kind that killed George Floyd last summer.
Those hosting the events believe that the presence of police officers in their parades will be seen as looking the other way on police brutality. While police brutality has a history among the LGBTQ community such as in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, I think banning police participation is counterproductive to the movement and sends a hostile message to police officers.
NYC Pride said “the steps being taken by the organization challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change.”
However, I think that by excluding police officers, especially those who are members of the LGBTQ community, the community harms its own movement by excluding some its very own members from celebrating their pride.
In New York City, police officers are banned from participating until 2025. A prolonged banning of participation like this could send a harmful message that exacerbates the tenuous relationship between the LGBTQ community and the police. While I support the Black Lives Matter Movement and LGBTQ rights, I think the banning of police is extra counterproductive to the LGBTQ community because the instance of police brutality they are banning police over was not explicitly directed toward their community.
I believe that this is another example of how the political left can become too insular, sometimes to the point where they exclude some in their own community while trying to incorporate too many factions and groups under their umbrella.
While I respect the LGBTQ community’s decision to stand in solidarity with the Black community, I feel that it could have been done in a way that preserves what relationship already exists between the LGBTQ community and the police without suspending participation for the next few years. The decision to ban uniformed police from participating will only further the divide between the police and the LGBTQ community.
Image Courtesy of CNN.