Seattle Pride bans police from marching in uniform at LGBTQ parade

“Banning uniformed Seattle Police officers from Pride events is disgusting, bigoted, discriminatory and contradicts our community’s beautiful inclusive LGBTQ message."

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Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
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The Seattle Pride Parade will once again ban police officers from marching in uniform at the event, doubling down on last year’s exclusion from the supposedly inclusive event.

However, the event will continue to benefit from the protection of uniformed police officers who will be at the parade for security, as required by the organization's city permit, according to The Seattle Times



Seattle Pride interim Executive Director Noah Wagoner said in a statement to the outlet that the event’s board of directors instituted the exclusionary policy last year based on the results of a community survey, “as well as the queer community’s long history of distrust of law enforcement, criminalization of LGBTQIA+ people, and police violence against marginalized groups - the genesis of the Pride movement.”  

Wagoner also told The Times that organizers remain “in close contact” with the Seattle Police Department. 

Until last year, SPD uniformed officers marched in the parade and had been doing so since 1994.

Organizers said the 2022 decision to ban officers was "Due to the history of Stonewall Sunday and the fact that Pride was birthed from a riot against police brutality, Seattle Pride will not permit police uniforms, police vehicles, any police insignia, or police propaganda to walk in any parade contingency." Seattle firefighters were allowed to march at the parade in uniform.



Capitol Hill Pride, a different local LGBTQIA+ organization in Seattle, announced they will also be continuing their ban on uniformed officers at their march and rally the day before the Seattle Pride Parade.

SPD Chief Adrian Diaz announced last year that officers wouldn’t march in the parade, but published an open letter calling out organizers’ decision.

“The Executive Board’s decision, described as ‘discriminatory, demeaning, hateful and antiquated’ by SPD Missing Persons Unit Detective Aimee LaClaire, has been met with sadness by SPD’s more than 100 LGBTQIA+ officers, commanders, and civilians, many of whom proudly walked in the parade annually with colleagues, family, and friends. The Executive Board’s decision is especially hurtful because other city workers will be allowed to participate in uniforms or insignia that identify their department, but not SPD.”  

Diaz added that the move by parade organizers could jeopardize progress in diversifing the department by recruiting more LGBTQIA+ officers, recruits that are desperately needed because the department is severely short-staffed.

In a statement to The Post Millennial, the Seattle Police Officers Guild said the group “…once again strongly disagrees with the decision to ban uniformed Seattle Police officers from marching in Seattle’s Pride Parade.”

SPOG President Mike Solan said, “SPOG members took an oath to serve our entire community equally and without discrimination.  It’s a shame to see that the commitment to equality and inclusion doesn’t flow in both directions.”
 
Solan added “Banning uniformed Seattle Police officers from Pride events is disgusting, bigoted, discriminatory and contradicts our community’s beautiful inclusive LGBTQ message. SPOG LGBTQ members serve our community with distinction and pride. They value inclusiveness and demand respect not only for proudly being LGBTQ but for serving our community as police officers.

"Anyone that believes in their banishment has no place in Seattle and does not believe in the inclusive LGBTQ message. To date, close to 600 police officers have left our agency. The bigoted decisions banning uniformed officers from Pride events do not aid in stopping this mass exodus of cops. All we ask as SPOG members is some reasonable messaging of support from our elected officials and people in positions of power/influence. Police are fantastic human beings, especially SPOG members.”
 
Solan noted that SPD officers are “currently working under an expired labor contract now 2.5 years and counting. It’s time the city delivers a fair and competitive labor contract. The Seattle community cannot stand to lose more of our professional police officers. Public Safety continues to be at risk.”

Last year, the director of Capitol Hill Pride, Charlette LeFevre, filed a complaint with the Office of Police Accountability after five uniformed Seattle Police Department officers showed up to the event. The oversight agency found the officers did nothing wrong and also ruled that a second complaint, alleging that three uniformed officers showed up to the Seattle Pride Parade, was unfounded.
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