Madison, WI – The organizers of a LGBT PRIDE parade in Wisconsin banned law enforcement agency organizations from participating in the march.
Ironically, the OutReach LGBT Community Center said that armed uniformed Madison Police Department officers would still work to provide security for the parade, according to WMTV-TV.
Police employees who want to march have to do it in plain clothes, or wear a special T-shirt and not carry their weapon, according to WSAU radio.
Michael Ruiz, president of the OutReach LGBT Community Center, confirmed that the police were uninvited to participate in the Aug. 19 parade in a statement.
“Our community is facing complex, unprecedented times, where power is a fleeting commodity for our most vulnerable members, especially queer and transgender persons of color,” Ruiz said, according to WMTV. “The OutReach Board of Directors have unanimously decided to withdraw the Pride Parade applications from the Madison Police Department (MPD) Employee Resource Group (ERG)/University of Wisconsin Police Department (UWPD) ERG, and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.”
“These contingents will not march in the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade and we will be refunding all monies collected from the contingents,” he said.
“We recognize that not everyone will be happy with this decision,” Ruiz continued. “It is our hope that those who are hurt by this decision use that hurt for growth and to approach that hurt with humility, rather than retaliate or create further divisions between those with institutional power and those struggling to exist.”
In show of support for the police department, the Madison Fire Department group that had registered for the parade announced they would not be participating.
“In light of the disappointing decision by OutReach to rescind the invitation to the Madison Police Department to participate in this year’s Pride Parade, the Madison Fire Department, in solidarity with our women and men in blue, must respectfully and regretfully decline to participate in this year’s parade,” the fire department wrote in a press release posted on the city’s website.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin supported the fire department’s decision to not participate in the rally, according to the statement.