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San Francisco Cops To Protest Pride Because They Feel Discriminated Against and … OK, Bye!

Black demonstrators march in the streets during a Pride rally

According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area police are planning to protest the city’s Pride parade after being asked by the event’s board of directors not to wear their uniforms.

Reporter Rachel Swan writes:

The clash between police and Pride organizers followed a year and half of negotiations, in which both sides aimed to find common ground after a tense confrontation between police and demonstrators during the last parade in 2019. These talks grew complicated with the 2020 murder of George Floyd, and ongoing introspection among members of Pride who debated how to honor the event’s legacy of activism.

Similar uniform bans have been enacted in other cities, including New York and Toronto. The request seems entirely valid, given the history (and present!) of violence LGBTQ+ communities have faced at the hands of police—especially LGBTQ+ communities of color. Police, along with members of other law enforcement agencies, were asked to leave their uniforms at home if they chose to march in the parade to not traumatize or intimidate other attendees. They were told they could wear other items denoting their profession, like SFPD t-shirts, just not official, badged uniforms.

But not only have the city’s police taken offense at the request to leave their uniforms at home, but they’ve decided to co-opt those communities’ language in expressing their resentment.

“We, the police officers of the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance, stand firm in our decision that we will not be pushed back into the closet,” representatives for LGBTQ+ police wrote in a statement, which was co-signed by the city’s fire department, who was not asked to come out of uniform.

Let’s be clear, intersectionality is essential to worthwhile activism and advocacy. The fight for human rights can not be hierarchical. But when we talk about identities and communities in that fight, police is not one of them. There is no police “closet” they can be forced into, that is ridiculous.

It should also be noted that this only applies to police who want to be a part of the parade. On-duty police officers will still be patrolling the event, despite longstanding calls for “no cops at Pride.” These sorts of bans on uniforms just apply to attendees and, despite what many nationwide headlines state, do not ban LGBTQ+ cops themselves.

The Chronicle continues:

Throughout their joint statement, law enforcement and fire officials invoked language that cast the prohibition on uniforms as a form of oppression and discrimination, anathema to Pride’s embrace of “radical inclusion,” they wrote.

“This committee would not order the leather community to wear polyester at the parade. This committee would not order the drag community to wear flannel. But they have told us, peace officers, that if we wear our uniforms, we may not attend.”

That’s right, the police are now also comparing themselves and their ~struggle~ to that of leather and drag communities. The desire to appear persecuted is so laughably strong.

In addition to the fire department, San Francisco’s Mayor, London Breed, and the city supervisor have also announced that they will boycott the parade in solidarity with law enforcement’s feelings of exclusion from an event that began in response to police violence against LGBTQ+ communities.

(via SF Chronicle, image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.