Recently there’s been a lot of blowback to the organizers of NYC Pride for their abrupt decision to ban LGBTQ police officers from the city’s future pride marches. It’s an apparent protest against the current state of policing, plagued with claims of brutality against the LGBTQIA, among other marginalized groups. However, a few openly gay cops have also accused the city’s police force of workplace discrimination in the past, so on the one hand, the mere existence of gay police officers would seem like a positive change, right?
Ultimately though, what it boils down to is from the LGBTQ community
It appears the HOP’s decision to bar cops from the march, revolves around exactly that. Despite the new era of openly gay officers, the decades-long lack of trust represents a continued tumultuous relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ. One astute person on Facebook also pointed out in defense of the police ban, “Let’s not forget, Stonewall happened because of abuse from the police that had reached a boiling point.”
We can argue all day if the relationship between the community and cops is as volatile today as it was on that fateful night in 1969. However, today, we as gay people are still experiencing bias and discrimination from many officers in law enforcement.
For example, just a few days ago, LGBTQ advocates and police union members called out the City Council president and police commissioner in Long Beach on Long Island,NY. The outcry stems from an incident whereby city officials sided with a restaurant whose owner complained about a Pride flag visibly flying outside their establishment —but on someone else’s private property.
The City Council president and police commissioner told the flag owner to take it down.
David Kilmnick, executive director of the LGBT Network of Long Island, said city officials are in the wrong and responded,
“The rainbow flag is not going to be in the back of the bus. It is not going to be behind everything else. We are not putting it in the closet,” Kilmnick said. “It is going to be where it should be.”
Over the weekend, a large crowd turned out at the beach boardwalk to protest and support the flag remaining on display. In retaliation, the city said it would consider a defamation lawsuit against protest organizers for labeling them with the terms “homophobic and discriminatory.” City officials claim the flag must come down because it violates a city code and has nothing to do with homophobia.
However, Kilmnick’s nonprofit network is embroiled in another pending case with the city in which he further accuses the officials of bias. At the heart of that fight is Kilmnick’s refusal to pay $70,000 for services during multiple Pride on the Beach festivals on the city boardwalk. The network said it withheld payment because it discovered other organizations that held similar events on the beach were not charged for these services by the city.
As I see it, we must call out homophobia and acts of bias. Suppose Kilmnick can gather the ‘receipts’ to prove the city discriminately charged his LGBTQ network for event services. In that case, it raises the question: Is the town also expressing homophobia against the Pride flag? Welp, stranger things have happened —especially on Long Island.
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