San Francisco, CA – San Francisco law enforcement officers and firefighters have refused to participate in this year’s Pride Parade unless event organizers agree to let police march in their uniforms.
“I would really like San Francisco Pride to embrace the values of San Francisco, the values of radical inclusion,” San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Officers Pride Alliance Officer Kathryn Winters told KGO.
“We want to be able to show the members of our community that there are people just like you who put on these uniforms every day and are out there to support, help, and protect you,” Officer Winters said.
She noted that the SFPD’s LGBTQ+ officers have played a major role in driving “reform, improvements, and diversity measures within the department,” and that those actions “have made policing better,” KGO reported.
“The San Francisco Pride Committee has asked the LGBTQ+ peace officers to go back in the closet,” the SFPD Officers Pride Alliance said in a May 23 press release, according to KRON. “This is its own form of prejudice and further erodes the tenuous relationship between peace officers and the communities we keep safe.”
“This decision ignored the history and accomplishments of LGBTQ+ peace officers, who made the SFPD and the SFSO more inclusive through their bravery and visibility,” the group added. “These officers have saved lives, made the city safer, and helped establish that in San Francisco, a member of the LGBTQ+ peace officer could serve the city in uniform with pride.”
San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said department members won’t be participating in this year’s parade as a show of solidarity with local law enforcement.
“We need to allow the public to see that our uniformed law enforcement officers are good, they do reflect our community,” Baxter told KGO.
San Francisco Pride Executive Director Suzanne Ford claimed police are welcome to join in the June 26 parade, but that they won’t be allowed to do so in uniform because it could offend members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially people of color.
“They can march in matching t-shirts that say SF police, or SF County Sheriff’s Department, that’s fine, but no full uniform,” Ford told KGO.
Ford said the decision to eliminate uniformed officers from the event began in 2019, when demonstrators blocked off the parade route in protest of police.
“We were just trying to deescalate with them,” Ford told KGO. “There was unrest and the police came in and made arrests, and a couple of members of our community were injured.”
“For some members of our community, the presence of the police in the parade is difficult for them given their history with the police department so we want to honor and make sure we protect and make people feel safe,” she added.
The San Francisco Office of Police Accountability dismissed the excessive force allegations levied against the department after the 2019 protest, saying there was insufficient evidence to support police did anything wrong during that incident, KRON reported.