The organizers of NYC Pride, the biggest annual celebration of the LGBT+ community in America, have decreed that NYPD and law enforcement groups will be banned from participating in Pride events in the city until 2025, because kicking the cops to the curb will help create “safer spaces” for those participating in the various activities, including the big one, the march in New York City on the last Sunday of Pride weekend – this year on June 27.
The mind boggles, especially given the territory. Are NYC Pride officials even aware of the decades-long battle that Irish gay marchers fought to finally be told, only in 2016, that they were good enough to participate, with their own banner, in the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world on Fifth Avenue?
We could be wrong, but we don’t ever remember an organized NYC Pride presence on the Fifth Avenue sidelines each March 17, holding up signs that protested the exclusion of the Lavender and Green Alliance from the parade. Maybe there are new Pride organizers who aren’t aware of the real struggle for LGBT inclusion that took place in their own backyard up until a few years ago, but that is highly unlikely.
More probable is that they just don’t care. That was then and this is now, and hating on cops is in vogue these days.
“The steps being taken by the organization challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change,” the NYC Pride statement issued on May 15 said in part.
Come 2025, Pride officials will conduct a “review” to see if cops and law enforcement officials took their time as pariahs to learn about all the harm they’ve caused – you know, like the NYPD officer who was shot three times in Brooklyn last week by a gang member and miraculously survived, or the NYPD officer mowed down and killed last month on the Long Island Expressway by a drunk, high driver who also happened to post a Facebook video hours before in which she ranted “f*** the police” among other pleasantries.
For many years, before new and enlightened leadership helmed by Dr. John Lahey came to the fore of the New York City St. Patrick’s Parade in 2015, the old organizers said it was their right to exclude any group they wanted because it was a privately organized march and they had the backing of the First Amendment to do so.
So if it was wrong to ban then, as gay groups argued, how could it possibly be right now?
Policing in America, and in New York, isn’t perfect, that’s for sure. The “bad apples” line sounds clichéd but it’s true.
Conversation and collaboration are taking place in departments all over our country to develop better law enforcement practices and trust between the police and the communities they serve. That’s the only way forward.
Telling gay law enforcement officers who very likely had personal difficulties coming out that they’re no longer welcome to march behind a banner, in a parade that celebrates LGBT identity, does zero to advance the goal of police reform. It’s a PR stunt that’s unfortunately in lockstep with the times in which we live and creates bad will all around.
NYC Pride says it plans on handling security concerns for its events. “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,” their statement said.
Well good. The NYPD could use the savings because of the negative impact of the nonsensical “defund the police” movement, though of course officers say they will still be on hand to play a part in the security of the NYC Pride march which due to the pandemic will be greatly scaled back for 2021.
Let’s hope that NYC Pride members who support the move to ban the police never need to call the cops for an emergency, or to report a crime. After all, there are private security members and volunteers who can handle that going forward, right?
*This editorial first appeared in the May 19 edition of the Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.