Cops should absolutely be allowed at Pride events
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Given the not-so-great history of police officers and the 2SLGBTQ+ community, most infamously with the Stonewall riots in 1969, I can understand people’s reasoning that cops should not be allowed at Pride. However, considering how much has changed and that there are now many out-and-proud police officers, the idea that cops in uniform should be banned from Pride is counterproductive.
It has now been 50 years since those events took place and times and attitudes have changed drastically since then. Being gay is no longer illegal or widely seen as morally wrong and is now more accepted than ever before. Because of this, many police officers are out as gay and proud, so to deny them the right to celebrate their Pride as homosexual cops in an establishment that was once rampant with homophobia doesn’t make any sense. 2SLGBTQ+ cops are still members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and letting cops march with Pride is a great way to let them show their solidarity and support for the community, so what good comes from not letting them attend in uniform?
Furthermore, having a strong, authoritative entity such as the police celebrating and defending Pride alongside many other proud 2SLGBTQ+ people and allies is a huge step in the right direction. I think refusing to let uniformed cops attend will only cause more tension in the already-fraught relationship between police officers and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. I know police brutality or harassment is a major reason why many say cops should not be allowed at Pride, but I don’t believe in banishing a whole establishment for the awful actions of a few. I’m not saying we should ignore what happened in the past or what continues to happen in our society, but we should be able to build bridges from those events. In this case, I believe police officers are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Sandy-Leo Laframboise, a Métis and trans activist, has shared this contention of cops being allowed in Pride and even took part in launching the petition “Our Pride Includes Our Police.” In an interview with the National Post she explained her reasoning.
“Banning the police from the Pride parade will undermine our commitment to diversity and inclusion and all the work we’ve done,” said Laframboise. “They want to remove an entity that we’ve been working with for over 40 years.”
The National Post article explains that Laframboise was a gay and trans sex worker in Canada in the ’70s and is no stranger to police brutality, but still thinks they should be included in Pride events. “I’ve had my fair share of injustices that we’re speaking about, but I also think that we’ve evolved from that,” she said.
I believe that Pride is something everyone should be involved in. At the centre of these Pride events is a message that opts for inclusivity and openness, so it makes no sense to refuse anyone from attending.
Don’t agree with this opinion? Check out “War of the words: No cops at Pride, please” for another perspective!