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July 15, 2019 | by  | in Politics | [ssba]

Rostra’s Hot Takes – Queerlient

Should police officers be permitted to march in parades at Pride in their uniforms?


Prioritize LGBT+ People at Pride, Please

Kalea Hampton


People in the military and police, LGBTQ or otherwise, can of course come to Pride out of uniform—though I think those institutions are opposed to the inherent aspects of revolution and defiance of state oppression in Pride—but uniformed officers and military/police groups marching should be banned. There is an implicit threat to most LGBTQ people in the presence of police and military in uniform, based both in history and modern instances of trauma, even ^without actual weapons being marched down the streets. Pride is meant to be a safe place for LGBTQ people, centering our LGBTQ-ness. By including uniformed officers, you make LGBTQ people feel uncomfortable and unsafe at Pride. And that is ridiculous.

The Wellington Pride Parade this year was well-attended by corporations, and the military group was the largest one in the parade by a mile. But it was lacking in actual LGBTQ groups, like the Lilac Library or Inside Out. Our community was outnumbered by companies and the military and police at ^our event for ^our community.

Banning uniformed officers at Pride doesn’t prevent those people from attending and supporting out of uniform, but having uniformed officers present hurts the purpose of the march and the people it is supposed to support. And at Pride, LGBTQ people ^need to take precedence. It’s the only time and place we get that, so lessening that to cater to organisations that have actively participated in the criminalisation and oppression of our community is wrong—plain and simple.


Police can be Proud, Too

Hamish Dick


Every community has its uniform of sorts. Schools have ties, the LGBT+ family has its flag, Scots have kilts, sports teams their emblems, and policemen and women have their badges. Wherever one looks, it is impossible to ignore these symbols of unity, family, and solidarity.


These symbols matter. And they must be celebrated. I respect the argument that policemen and women should only participate in Pride when not in uniform, but does this argument not simply erase one community in favour of another? All communities matter. As a member (or ally) of both communities, a policeman or woman must be able to proudly and enthusiastically wave the flag of the LGBT+ family while still dressed in uniform.


When someone puts on a tie, when an individual from the LGBT+ community waves the flag, and when policemen and women don their uniforms, these people see themselves not simply as individuals, but as members of a greater whole—bound together by a shared identity materialised through symbol or uniform.


Every ^Brooklyn Nine-Nine^ fan knows that we mustn’t overlook this value of symbolism. In the words of Jake Peralta to Captain Holt: “We’re a team, and the tie is part of that team’s uniform, right?” No wonder, then, for Captain Holt, a gay policeman who had been kept off the ‘team’ for so long, the symbolic tie was so important.


Let’s continue to come together in a spirit of compassion and goodwill. Every individual matters, every family matters, and every community matters.


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