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Unfortunately Uniformed Police Will Be Allowed To March In St. Louis’ Pride Parade

June 19, 2019 Featured, Popular Culture No Comments
Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest 2013

Many are puzzled by the recent decision of Pride St  Louis to not allow uniformed police groups to march in this year’s Pride Parade. To many of us who are LGBT it made perfect sense.

For the first time in 40 years, uniformed police officers are not being allowed to march in the St. Louis Pride Parade.

PrideSTL, the non-profit that puts on the annual event, said the decision is out of respect for the 50th anniversary of the historic riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

The June 1969 uprising, which began after police violently raided the gay bar, is largely considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement. (MSN)

Yesterday organizers reversed their decision.

Police will be allowed to march in uniform after all in the June 30 Pride parade, parade officials and Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Tuesday.
 
Pride St. Louis Inc. had asked police to not take part this year in the annual gay-rights parade downtown, citing sensitivities surrounding the New York police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar in 1969 that helped spur the gay-rights movement. (Post-Dispatch)

I personally wish they hadn’t reversed their original decision — it was the right one! No doubt they were pressured to change their mind — it’s important for St. Louis’ political establishment to at least give appearances that all is well. Or perhaps the big money corporate sponsors threatened to pull funding next year?

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots — several nights of rioting by LGBT who were fed up with regular police raids.

Yes, annual Pride events are a way of remembering the violent riot that kicked off the modern movement for LGBT civil rights. Society, via the police, were the oppressor.

You might think that’s old history…time to move on. Except that police forces are old school boys clubs — racist & homophobic.  Even LGBT officers find the conditions intolerable.

[Jay] Brome’s story is part of a wave of lawsuits alleging anti-gay workplace discrimination filed by gay officers against law-enforcement departments across the U.S. in recent years. The lawsuits describe abusive work environments, where being gay or lesbian often meant cruel taunts, hostile work conditions and limited career opportunities. Some officers said they faced different work standards, while others claimed administrators passed them over for promotion or denied them protection — all because of their sexual orientation.

In all, there were at least 11 such lawsuits filed since 2016, according to a review conducted by USA TODAY of public records and media reports. Experts on law enforcement and civil-rights activists noted that the problem of LGBT officers feeling unsafe at work isn’t new, but some officers are now heading to the courts to demand accountability after years of internal complaints that were often ignored.  (USA Today)

Similar stories from the UK.  A San Francisco police officer who had been suspended for sending racist & homophobic messages to fellow officers was convicted last month of bank robbery. Closer to home, a gay St. Louis County Police Sargent alleged he was told ‘The command staff has a problem with your sexuality, If you ever want to see a white shirt (i.e., get a promotion), you should tone down your gayness.” (Source: Washington Post)

And this month a member of law enforcement called for the government to execute people participating in Pride:

Knoxville sheriff’s deputy is being looked into by the county’s District Attorney after he delivered a series of hate-filled sermons calling for the government-sanctioned execution of the LGBT community.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Grayson Fritts, who is also a Baptist preacher, has grabbed headlines after denouncing members of the LGBT community as “freaks” and “animals.” He called for the state to execute them during his Pride Week sermons. (Newsweek)

A law enforcement officer advocating executing people!

The only uniformed police officers I want to see marching in the Pride parade are LGBT officers. Maybe I’ll check out the less-corporate Tower Grove Pride this year, or just stay home.

— Steve Patterson (out since 1983)

The following is the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The 2019 St. Louis Pride Parade should be very inclusive, allowing everyone to participate — including uniformed police.

  • Strongly agree: 13 [37.14%]
  • Agree: 6 [17.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [5.71%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.86%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 4 [11.43%]
  • Strongly disagree: 7 [20%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [5.71%]

 

 

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