NYC Pride Reverses On Gay Cops Marching In Parade, Then Reverses Again

The logo for NYC Pride 2021

The logo for NYC Pride 2021

Heritage of Pride, the group that organizes New York City Pride events each year, reversed it’s decision to ban gay armed police officers in uniform from marching in this year’s Pride Parade last night.

The original decision, announced last week, sparked days of controversy voiced by the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL).

So, last night the general membership voted to allow uniformed gay officers to march in the parade

“By a 55-40% margin (5% abstaining), they voted to let GOAL march in uniform with concealed weapons but NOT to have an ‘NYPD’ contingent in the parade,” wrote Andrew Humm on Facebook. “Andre Thomas, the co-chair, resigned as did some other people of color at the meeting who were left in tears.”

But at 1:30am, the HOP board announced they had reversed the reversal, saying they “voted to set a new policy regarding GOAL’s participation in an effort to be mindful and focus on our mission of creating safe space for marginalized communities.”

“It fell under our purview to do so, as elected representatives of this organization,” continued the board. “We firmly believe that this decision is in the best interest of our community.”

Having decided the officers “will not march armed and in police uniforms,” the board shared it may consider allowing gay officers to march out of uniform and without armed weapons.

The Executive Board of HOP cited past actions by police officers against LGBTQ people and POC as the reasons for excluding armed police officers in uniform.

The NYPD, and policing across America, is fundamentally flawed. These are institutions started as slave patrols, and continue to oppress Black, Brown, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals who stand at the intersections of these identities.

Over their lifetime, Black men have a 1 in 1000 chance of being killed by the police. LGBQ people are six times more likely to be stopped by the police.

Nearly 3 out of 4 of lethal anti-LGBT hate crimes committed against transwomen and girls.

Transgender individuals who survive violence are 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to non-transgender survivors and7times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police.

Until 2021, transpeople in New York could be arrested for wearing clothes that did not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. And after over 267 complaints related to abuse of force by NYPD when dealing with protesters, only two officers have faced serious disciplinary action.

In the past year, as Black Lives Matter protests spread across the nation following the murder of George Floyd and other Black men, HOP notes that NYC police officers attacked queer people who took part in the protests.

HOP also points out that the gay rights movement was born out of a vicious 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar.

That said, due to pressure from LGBTQ advocacy groups, the NYPD issued an official apology in 2019 for the 1969 raid as well as for years of brutal treatment of LGBTQ people in the city. In their statement last week, GOAL made note of the work being done by gay  police officers to improve relations between police and the LGBTQ community.

As I reported last night, the New York Times editorial board penned an op-ed this week calling the banning of gay police officers by HOP a “misstep.” The Times added that the decision “disproportionately affects L.G.B.T.Q. police officers, many of whom have been fighting for reforms; they shouldn’t be judged, and even set back, by the worst behavior of their colleagues.”

News Round-Up: May 20, 2021

Lego is issuing its first-ever rainbow set for Pride 2021
(image via Lego)

Some news items you might have missed:

NBC News: Lego is kicking off LGBTQ Pride month by releasing a special set, called “Everyone is Awesome,” that celebrates the diversity of its fans. This is the first time in Lego’s 72-year history that it is releasing an official LGBTQ Pride set.

The Hill: Coronavirus vaccinations in Ohio jumped 28 percent in the days following the governor’s announcement of a lottery for residents who get the shots, state health officials said Thursday. Residents who have been vaccinated will be eligible for five drawings of $1 million each.

Kenneth-in-the-212: Six foot seven doctoral candidate Aidyn asks if he’s “still a big boy” as this week’s ‘Mask4Masc’ feature. #woof

New York Times: The Times editorial board penned an op-ed calling the decision by Pride organizers in NYC that police officers would not be allowed to march in the annual Pride parade until 2025 a ‘misstep.’ I agree.

Right Wing Watch: QAnon Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) falsely claimed in an interview that Texas has not reported a single COVID-19 death since the state lifted all restrictions over two months ago. ACTUALLY, the Texas Department of State Health Services reports more than 3,400 people have died of COVID-19 since the state removed all restrictions two months ago.

OUT: It seems folks who hadn’t seen (or didn’t know much about) the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen were under the impression it was about a gay high school student after the official trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation dropped yesterday. p.s. it’s not

Gay Officers Group Responds To Banning Of Cops From NYC Pride

Gay Officers Action League flag

Gay Officers Action League flag

The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) has issued a statement reacting to the decision by New York City Pride to not allow gay officers to participate in uniform at this year’s Pride parade.

The Gay Officers Action League (“GOAL”) is disheartened by the decision to ban our group from participating in New York City Pride. 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 and our members have had our hands in every police reform and policy revision touching on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City. As the result of our advocacy alongside our allies, NYPD revised its Patrol Guide in 2012 to include procedures specific to transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers.

For nearly 30 years, GOAL has provided LGBTQIA+ training for every new NYPD recruit at the academy, educating future officers on the unique challenges facing our community. We also serve as victim advocates for those in our community that have needed to navigate the criminal justice system. These are just a few of the countless initiatives that GOAL has undertaken to change the culture of law enforcement. We are doing the work that leads to progress.

There are many partners for change throughout law enforcement. For them to succeed, they need to be supported by leading LGBTQIA+ groups, not excommunicated by them.

Read the full statement here.