Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023|
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On Sunday, June 26, New York City’s Pride Parade returns for its first in-person celebration in three years. At a time when Florida is barring teachers from mentioning sexuality in classrooms, even when wholly appropriate, and a gay high school class president there was forced into using a code word in his graduation speech to talk about coming out, the nation’s preeminent LGBTQ event is poised to make an important statement about what inclusion really looks like.
Unfortunately, Pride organizers are also intent on making a stubborn statement about exclusion. Last year, they barred gay and lesbian police officers from marching in uniform until 2025. Unlike the clergy or the military or representatives of any national or ethnic group, cops wishing to express their sexual orientation have to simultaneously hide another big piece of who they are, a petty prohibition that other Pride celebrations have not stooped to make.
Nor is the NYPD welcome to protect those attending the festivities; they’ll be relegated to policing the perimeter a block away.
As a gay police official wrote for the Daily News last year, the move “makes absolutely clear that one has to choose between being gay or being in law enforcement,” and recreates “for queer officers the unconscionable conundrum that we have fought decades to banish.” Moreover, it is self-defeating, because, “there is no progress without people willing to do the work inside of organizations whose cultural inertia makes them resistant to change.” We concur.
In reaction to a similar ultimatum in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed is pushing back.
Last week, standing on principle as firm as when Mayor de Blasio refused to attend New York City’s openly-gay-excluding St. Patrick’s Day Parade, she said she’ll boycott her city’s Pride unless law enforcement officers are allowed to participate without hiding who they are.
Mayor Eric Adams, on the right track, says he opposes the parade’s exclusion of cops and will work to end it.
Better yet, he should follow Breed’s lead and announce plans to sit out unless organizers allow police to march.
— New York Daily News
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