Like a bullied kid befriending his tormentor, the NYPD continues to appease Heritage of Pride (NYC Pride). The department thanked all LGBT folks for their “inspiring drive towards equality” — despite NYC Pride recently announcing it would not allow uniformed officers to participate in any events until 2025 at the earliest.
As NYPD thanked Pride NYC for its bravery and courage, Twitter respondents accused officers of brutality against LGBT people and called for police defunding.
NYC Pride issued a statement in May that it will “take steps to keep police officers at least one city block away from event perimeter areas where possible. Although NYC Pride has no legal authority to prohibit officers from performing law enforcement duties, the group is attempting to minimize NYPD’s presence by replacing the department’s officers with private security and community volunteers.
“NYPD will provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials,” the group said, citing undefined “excessive force” and “violence against marginalized groups” as a reason for the ban.
Supporters reacted enthusiastically to the May announcement, saying cops “should not be here,” a sentiment that contradicts the Pride movement’s purported pushes for inclusivity.
Along with taking steps to lessen police presence for security, NYC Pride banned any LGBT officers from participating in events while in uniform. The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), which prides itself on its work to enact “police reform and policy revision touching on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City,” will not be allowed to attend the parade to show its support. GOAL typically marches in an effort to bridge relations between law enforcement and LGBT folks.
GOAL said it was “disheartened” by the news of the police ban. “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,” GOAL said in a statement.
Ravi Satkalmi, a gay police officer, wrote an opinion for the New York Daily News about his disappointment in an organization that had promised acceptance and inclusion. “The move makes absolutely clear that one has to choose between being gay or being in law enforcement, recreating for queer officers the unconscionable conundrum that we have fought decades to banish,” the officer wrote. “For a new gay officer or recruit who is struggling with whether to come out, the message is unmistakable: The LGBTQIA+ community will not support you.”
While the NYPD has criticized NYC Pride for trying to ban it from events and still plans to fulfill its law enforcement duties, the attempted exclusion isn’t stopping the police department from celebrating Pride month.
The NYPD’s “Happy #Pride” tweet raises quite a cultural question: How can Pride be congratulated for its “drive towards equality” despite banning an entire group of people based on what they do for a living?