San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) has announced that she will be joining police and firefighters in skipping the upcoming Pride Parade in response to a ban against police wearing their uniforms while participating.
After being told that they could not wear their full police uniforms, the San Francisco Police Officers’ Pride Alliance said its members will not be participating in the parade, which is one of the city’s most popular events. The group asserted that it felt like officers were being forced back into the closet by not being allowed to proudly wear their uniforms.
“Let us be clear: this committee would not order the leather community to wear polyester at the parade. This committee would not order the drag community to wear flannel. But they have told us, peace officers, that if we wear our uniforms, we may not attend,” the group said in a statement.
Standing in solidarity with the police, Breed released a statement announcing that she would not be marching in the parade.
“I’ve made this very hard decision in order to support those members of the LGBTQ community who serve in uniform, in our Police Department and Sheriff’s Department, who have been told they cannot march in uniform and in support of the members of the Fire Department who are refusing to march out of solidarity with their public safety partners,” the mayor said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A joint statement on the issue was also released by the San Francisco Police Officers Pride alliance, the LGBTQ+ members of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, and San Francisco Fire Department. In the statement, the groups condemned the police uniform ban and stated that they plan to skip the parade.
“We, the police officers of the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance, stand firm in our decision that we will not be pushed back into the closet. We, the LGBTQ+ deputies of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, will not hide from anyone who we are. In solidarity with their fellow first responders, the San Francisco Fire Department is standing with our law enforcement partners. Barring a reversal from SF Pride, SFFD will not be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade,” the statement read.
“The San Francisco Fire Department, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Department stand with their LGBTQ+ employees and support their decision to not march in order to take a stand against the discriminatory actions of the board of the SF Pride committee,” the statement continued.
The rule barring police uniforms was instituted in response to a confrontation at the 2019 event when protesters blocked the parade while decrying the police. The list of demands from the protesters included stipulations against law enforcement, calling for “no police within the Pride Parade and no police presence at any Pride celebration, march or demonstration. The system of policing upholds white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, gender binaries, and capitalist rule.”
Suzanne Ford, the interim executive director of San Francisco Pride, gave guidance on what members of law enforcement were ‘allowed’ to wear during this year’s parade. According to Ford, they could wear other clothing, like a shirt emblazoned with an SFPD logo, but not their full police uniform, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“We didn’t ask anyone to hide, or not to denote who they were,” she said. “We just did not want full uniforms, out of harm reduction to marginalized members of our community.”
“We’ve asked for this gesture, (which) would say to some members of our community who don’t feel safe around police, that the police heard our concerns, and responded in a positive way,” Ford added, according to the Chronicle.
The parade is scheduled for June 26.