New York City Pride organizers recently announced that they plan to ban police and other law enforcement from marching in their annual parade this year. On-duty officers will also be asked to keep at least a block away from any official Pride Celebrations, except when “absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials.”
The announcement from one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the world has started a conversation about the relevance, safety, and hypocrisy of police enforcement at queer events. Pride month in itself marks the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots which broke out after a gay bar was raided by the New York Police Department. Fifty years later and cops waving rainbow flags at Pride events are attempting to indicate a symbol of progress and peace between police and our communities, though we know this is not true in much of the world.
By allowing this kind of hypocrisy in queer “safe-spaces” we have not only forgotten our recent history here in the U.S., but chosen to willingly ignore the global situation of LGBTQ people.
The police are still one of the most violent offenders of homophobic and transphobic brutality around the globe not to mention the violence committed against LGBTQ people of color. In countries around the world where same-sex sexual behavior and gender transgression are criminalized, it is the police’s job to enforce these discriminatory practices. Just two months ago, police actions shut down a LGBTQ center in Ghana. There are countless gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people who would never show their face at a Pride event for fear of being captured, tortured, blackmailed or killed by the police.
MPact calls for the removal of state and federal police at all LGBTQ+ gatherings worldwide. We applaud the directors of NYC Pride who have committed to creating community safety initiatives in order to reduce police presence at their events. We refuse to allow corporations and government actors including police to continue “pink-washing” their own harmful behaviors as they continue to commit human rights violations against queer communities and communities of color around the globe.
What does “Pride” mean to you? We want to share your stories! Tag us on Instagram @mpact.global with the hashtag #PrideAroundTheWorld and show us what LGBT pride looks like in your country for a chance to be featured on our page!
Header photo “No Cops in Pride” by Tony Webster used under CCBY2.0