Adam Dupuis's picture

Police In Pride Parades - Belfast Says Yes, Calgary Says No.

I've been vocal about my support for police officers in uniform marching in Pride parades. Seeing them be a part of our celebrations brings me much more joy than seeing politicians trying to monopolize on the event and it brings me more good feels than seeing the alcohol sponsored floats with gyrating speedos. This week we get to cheer one Ireland community's actions and jeer yet another Canadian city for doing the wrong thing.

For the first time, Belfast's gay pride parade will include uniformed Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers. The city's festivities will take place from Friday July 28 through August 6 with an August 5 march.  Police are focusing their participation and presence around their continuous fight against hate crimes.

"Hate crime should not be tolerated and victims should be encouraged and feel confident that when they contact police that their concerns will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately" said Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris.  "Pride is an important series of events for those in the community who identify as being LGBT. The PSNI sees this as an opportunity not only to show its support for these members of out communities but also to highlight that hate crime, in whatever form, is wrong and the importance of reporting it." - belfasttelegraph.co.uk

This is not the first time members of the PSNI have been involved in the Pride festivities, but it is the first time they will parade in uniform. "Policing with Pride" will be their float/vehicles theme.

One representative of the PSNI also added that their participation in Pride not only shows the PSNI support for LGBT people across the community, but it also demonstrates the diversity among PSNI officers and staff.

 

Calgary has decided to join the upsetting mentality that several large cities in Canada have adopted, uniformed police marching in Pride Parades is a negative thing and harmful for the LGBT community. The 27th annual Calgary Pride Parade will be on Sept. 3.

In a statement released Wednesday, Calgary Pride encouraged police officers to participate but to do so without uniforms, firearms, vehicles or any form of institutional representation, such as floats, adding that completely banning law enforcement deters from meaningful discussions on how those agencies can best support the diverse community.

“We are obviously disappointed with the decision that police will not be allowed to march in uniform, but we are not going to allow it to undo decades of progress between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in Calgary,” Chief Roger Chaffin said in a statement. “We have a far better relationship with the LGBTQ community now than we did even 10 years ago and we want to keep that forward momentum.” - thestarphoenix.com

Jason Kingsley, president of Calgary Pride, said the group had a full consultation with Calgary police and community groups such as VOICES that stand up for marginalized people. 

“In a lot of cities, it’s actually very hard to get police to the table from what we’ve heard from some of our other Pride organizations across Canada, so the fact police were willing to come to the table and have that conversation was really impactful and meaningful to our community,” said Kingsley. 

“Chief Chaffin and (Deputy Chief) Sat Parhar were definitely understanding and in agreement that if we wanted to see no uniforms in the parade, then that was something they would respect and honour.”

However, Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who is a former police commissioner and a past Pride Parade marshal, expressed her disappointment with the decision. 

“I really need to understand to a far greater extent the leadership and the decisions they’re making, and the implications this has on a go-forward basis. I just can’t support the decision and I can’t be walking in the Pride parade this year,” said Colley-Urquhart, adding she has always supported Pride but believes this is a setback in the relationship with police. - thestarphoenix.com

As other cities have cited, part of the decision to not have uniformed police officers march was the history of “oppression and institutional racism faced by queer and trans people of color and Indigenous persons,” and the “potentially negative association with weapons, uniforms and other symbols of law enforcement."

Others go back to the fact that the first Pride parade was basically a march against police brutality and oppression.  To have police in a pride parade would go against the history of the Stonewall Riots and March.

If you're going to hold grudges people and have a blanket mentality toward a type of person, group, or profession, please ban the church groups for they represent hatred against our community for hundreds of years and ban politicians for they write the laws that halt our equality. It doesn't matter if one member of those groups have aided us or support us, just cut them all like you are doing to the police.  Equal opportunity discrimination, right?  If you're going to have hatred and shun a community for past oppression, don't do it half assed and hate equally. 

That's my opinion.  What do you think?