New York City’s Pride organizers have dropped the New York Police Department as security at this year's Pride events, and have banned law enforcement groups from marching in the city’s Pride celebrations, until at least 2025.
Heritage of Pride (HOP), the group behind NYC’s Pride event, announced the new “police presence policy” in mid-May, which will be reviewed in four years’ time.
“In the meantime, NYC Pride will transition to providing increased community-based security and first responders, while simultaneously taking steps to reduce NYPD presence at events,” HOP organizers said.
The announcement follows more than a year of heightened tensions and nationwide marches over police violence within communities of color.
According to LGBTQNation, HOP cited an “increased budget for security and first response,” and said “NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events.”
“All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers will be reviewed,” HOP added.
HOP co-chair André Thomas credited the Anti-Violence Project, National Black Justice Coalition, and other advocates for giving HOP “the guidance to make the decision possible,” LGBTQNation reports.
In the GWK community, there were mixed reactions to NYCPride’s severing of ties with members of the city’s police department.
Many @gays_with_kids followers who responded on Instagram said they thought it wasn't a good move.
"It goes against everything our community should stand for which is inclusion," @jordanletschert said.
"Well difficult topic, but pride is all about to gather as one," said @jorgepalacio86 "There are many LGBTI members that are police officers."
"It will make our community less safe," @tristanwitha.c said. "Discourages LGBT youth from joining law enforcement."
A few respondents in the GWK Instagram community said they supported the NYCPride police ban.
"I think it's fantastic," said @cgosch
And then there were some folks who said they could see both sides.
""I understand it," @dsourani commented, "but it seems like the opposite of progress. Creates more division less understanding."
In a statement released Friday May 14th, the New York chapter of GOAL said its members were “disheartened” to hear of the ban.
“Heritage of Pride has long been a valued partner of our organization and its abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful,” NYGOAL said. “GOAL and our members have had our hands in every police reform and policy revision touching on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City.”
In his response to the ban, GOAL President Brian Downey suggested that NYC leaders will still require police presence at the event.
“Heritage of Pride is well aware that the city would not allow a large-scale event to occur without police presence,” Downey said. “So their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots.”