State Watch

NYC Pride parade bans police officers from participation

Organizers of New York City's Pride parade are banning police officers from participating in festivities until 2025, according to a statement released on its website.

"NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate," read the statement. 

"The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason. NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community," it continued. 

NYPD officers assigned to monitor the parade will be requested to keep a block's distance at all times. 

Police will intervene "only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials," the group said. 

LGBT officers blasted the ban, saying it's unfair to members of the community who work in law enforcement.

In a rebuttal statement, the Gay Officers Action League said they were "disheartened" by the announcement.

"Heritage of Pride (NYC Pride) has long been a valued partner of our organization and its abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful," the group wrote.

The statement continued, "We are doing the work that leads to progress."

In a statement shared with The Hill, the NYPD also expressed disappointment over their exclusion.

"Our annual work to ensure a safe, enjoyable Pride season has been increasingly embraced by its participants. The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and runs counter to our shared values of inclusion and tolerance," the spokesperson said. 

They added "That said, we'll still be there to ensure traffic safety and good order during this huge, complex event."

The news comes following the death of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020 sparked nationwide protests that lasted throughout the summer. Floyd's death and former officer Derek Chauvin's trial have brought the issues of racial justice and police brutality to the forefront of national debate. 

The news also comes as trans women, particularly trans women of color continue to face violence and death in the U.S. 

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 24 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by violent means thus far in 2021. The year 2020 marked the most violent years on record since 2013 in the trans community. 

Forty-four transgender or gender non-conforming individuals died in 2020. 

This year's NYC Pride Parade is slated to be held on Sunday, June 27. 

Updated 9:30 p.m.

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