Organizers of New York City’s Pride celebration have banned police officers from attending or participating.
Heritage of Pride, or HOP, the group behind NYC’s annual Pride celebration, released a press release last week outlining new policies to address police presence. The announcement was widely interpreted to mean that all law enforcement would be banned from the event, whether they were actively on duty, or participating as a member of the LGBTQ community.
HOP’s announcement states, “NYC Pride will ban corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025.” “Exhibitors” refers to official groups that represent the police force. NYC Pride’s co-chair told Gothamist that individual, off-duty officers who show up in uniform will not be turned away.
Regarding security without NYPD’s presence, NYC Pride will provide community-based security and first responders. They are asking NYPD to stay at least one block away from festivities where possible.
The changes are meant to address concerns raised by the community that a police presence often incites fear rather than safety, specifically for BIPOC and trans communities. “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,” HOP said. The history of queer liberation is filled with resistance to police violence. The first Pride took place after the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was a response to a violent police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar.
One of the most vocal critics of this ban, the Gay Officers Action League, or GOAL, called the decision “shameful.” This isn’t the first time LGBTQ officers have been prohibited from attending Pride, but before it was not by the organization itself, but by NYPD. They filed a lawsuit in 1996 for discrimination over being denied the use of a department van, and for not allowing the police marching band to participate in Pride festivities.