Police in San Francisco will no longer attend the city’s pride parade at the end of June after organizers barred officers from wearing their official uniforms through the streets they’ve sworn to protect.
“We want them to march in the parade,” said Suzanne Ford, executive director of San Francisco Pride, in an interview with a local ABC affiliate last week — so long as they obey a dress code. Meanwhile, plenty of attendees will maintain their tradition of marching naked. “They can march in marching t-shirts that say SF police, or SF County Sheriff’s Department, that’s fine, but no full uniform.”
The San Francisco Police Department responded by refusing to participate.
“Even though our members may not be marching in this year’s Pride Parade, the San Francisco Police Department will be on hand to ensure that everyone attending and participating in SF Pride Weekend activities enjoys a safe and celebratory Pride Weekend in San Francisco,” the department announced in a press release.
San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance condemned the organizers’ decision in stronger terms through a three-page press release.
“Let us be clear: this committee would not order the leather community to wear polyester at the parade. This committee would not order the drag community to wear flannel,” the officers’ pride coalition said. “But they have told us, peace officers, that if we wear our uniforms, we may not attend. For LGBTQ+ officers, this brings us back to a time when we had to hide at work
that we were LGBTQ+.”
The San Francisco Fire Department announced the city’s firefighters would join the police in solidarity.
“We need to allow the public to see that our uniformed law enforcement officers are good, they do reflect our community,” Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter told ABC7.
Mayor London Breed said she will also sit out of the parade unless organizers offer to capitulate on servicemembers’ uniforms.
“I love the Pride Parade, and what it means for our LGBTQ community and for our city. It’s one of my favorite events of the year,” Breed told ABC7. “However, if the Pride Board does not reverse its decision, I will join our city public safety departments that are not participating in the Pride Parade.”
Organizers of Seattle pride events have similarly asked police not to attend the community festivities.
“Leaders of PrideFest have asked police to stay off of the festival grounds for this year’s June 26 event,” Axios reported last week of the festivities that take place at the end of the city’s grand parade. “PrideFest is making the same request for a smaller event it will host June 25 on Capitol Hill.”
PrideFest organizers also barred police from a rally held in its historically gay neighborhood, saying the animosity is warranted because of law enforcement’s use of force during the 2020 riots.
“We will continue to request police stay respectfully at the perimeters,” Seattle’s Capitol Hill group told Axios.