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Calls Are Growing For Police To Be Banned From Pride Marches

Amid the global anti-racism movement, calls are rapidly growing for police to be banned from Pride events and for LGBT+ events to return to their ‘rebellious roots’ against police brutality.

Although Pride events this year have mostly been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a long-faced criticism for the allowing of uniformed police to participate at Pride events. 

“The police continue with racist violence to this day, just as they did in 1969 during the Stonewall riots,” said Natalie James, who co-founded the Reclaim Pride Coalition in 2018 to demand New York City Pride decrease the presence of police.

1969 is known as the year when the modern LGBT+ rights movement began in the US, when police raided The Stonewall Inn in New York City where LGBT+ icons such as trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera fought back.

This year, with the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by the police, a global protest against police brutality has sparked, with many LGBT+ activists and organisations calling for more and more action to be taken against racism.

“Oftentimes people can see at Pride the police presence as being inflammatory,” said Imara Jones, a trans woman based in New York City and the creator of TransLash, a media organisation dedicated to telling trans stories.

“On the other hand, there are members of the police that are LGBTQ, and I think that there’s some tension about how they can be recognised.”

Joe Couto, a spokesman for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police said that “The first thing to acknowledge is the hurt and the pain that is historical in the relationship between police and the LGBTQ community.

“Gay police officers, they want to be part of Pride, they want to be part of the community, they want to be bridge-builders.”

As ‘Reuters’ reports, Toronto Pride was one of a number of Canadian Prides that banned police from marching in uniform in 2017 in response to demands by Black Lives Matter Toronto. The ban was also imposed in 2018 and 2019.

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