Heritage of Pride, the organization that hosts New York City’s annual LGBT Pride Parade, voted to ban police from participating in the 2021 Pride Parade, even going so far as to cancel the annual march of LGBT New York Police Department officers, and is working to “reduce” the presence of law enforcement because the NYPD “represents … violence.”
It is not clear whether Heritage of Pride has the authority to force law enforcement to draw down its presence at the parade, given that New York City has seen an increasing crime rate, and the Pride Parade is traditionally a large event, but the organization believes it does have the authority to ban officers from “participating” in the parade, per ABC News.
“Police will be banned from participating in NYC Pride events, including its signature LGBTQ march, until 2025, the organization announced Saturday,” according to ABC. “NYC Pride is also working to reduce the New York Police Department’s security and first responder presence at its events, the organization said.”
Heritage of Pride’s co-chair told ABC News that the organization decided to part ways with the NYPD because the institution represents “violence” to gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals.
“We know many LGBT cops,” Andre Thomas of Heritage of Pride said. “But what the institution represents sometimes to a person of color or trans person is violence, and that doesn’t make you feel safe. So that’s the perspective we’re coming from. And it’s a difficult place to be. But we know that’s what our community expects of us at this time.”
In a separate statement, the organization said the decision came after discussions with NYC’s LGBT community members.
NYC Pride announces new policies to address the presence of law enforcement and NYPD at Pride events in New York. NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate. The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason. NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community. 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.
Effective immediately, NYC Pride will ban corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025. At that time their participation will be reviewed by the Community Relations and Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion committees, as well as the Executive Board. In the meantime, NYC Pride will transition to providing increased community-based security and first responders, while simultaneously taking steps to reduce NYPD presence at events
The organization claimed that funds typically used to provide NYPD security at the parade would be diverted to community organizations charged with private security duties. “NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events,” Heritage of Pride said.v”All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers will be reviewed.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made an effort, last year, in light of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, to “defund” the NYPD but the reduction never materialized. As The Daily Wire reported last week, de Blasio appears to have committed, instead, to restoring funding to a defunded NYPD project and has redeployed additional officers to tourist areas as NYC’s crime rate skyrockets.
The NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League, or GOAL, which holds its own Pride events, fired back at Heritage of Pride for excluding LGBT NYPD officers from their annual celebrations.
“GOAL called Heritage of Pride’s decision ‘shameful,’ and found its statement, which did not mention GOAL by name, ‘demoralizing’ and ‘dehumanizing,'” a representative told media.
“Heritage of Pride is well aware that the city would not allow a large-scale event to occur without police presence. So their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots,” GOAL’s president said.