San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced she won’t take part in the upcoming Pride Parade in the city, citing a ban against police officers wearing their uniforms during the event.
“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,” Breed said in a statement, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement, the San Francisco Police Officers Pride alliance, the LGBTQ+ members of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office, and the San Francisco Fired Department also blasted the ban on police uniforms and said they, too, won’t take part in the event.
“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,” the statement said.
“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 added.
“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 added.
Suzanne Ford, the San Francisco Pride interim executive director, noted that police officers and other law enforcement could wear other garments like shirts emblazoned with and SFPD logo, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“We didn’t ask anyone to hide, or not to denote who they were,” Ford 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 said, according to the Chronicle.
She did not bother to explain how replacing full police uniforms with t-shirts that identify the wearer as police officers would ally “concerns” of “marginalized members” of the community “who don’t feel safe around police.”
It also would have been helpful, perhaps, for her to have explained why the uniform ban was necessary in the first place — as in, how do uniformed officers make people feel less safe in their communities when the purpose of police officers is to keep the peace and keep the public safe.
In any event, the San Fran Police Officer’s Pride Alliance added:
“The issues of police hostility are complex, and the modern LGBTQ+ movement was born out of response to police hostility in places like the Compton Cafeteria and the Stonewall Inn. But that is the reason many of us took this job. We recognized the need for change within these organizations, and much of the time, we have been those agents of change. We changed these organizations from within by providing a wider cultural competency that has made San Francisco home to the country’s most diverse peace officer organizations.
“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. For LGBTQ+ officers, this brings us back to a time when we had to hide at work that we were LGBTQ+. Now they ask us to hide the fact of where we work.”