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Gay NYPD cops barred from marching in Sunday’s New York City Pride March call the organizers’ decision to scorn a certain segment of the LGBTQ community “shameful.”
Heritage of Pride, the non-profit behind the annual two-mile march through Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Midtown, banned law enforcement groups from participating because the group claimed cops pose a threat to their community.
“The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” the group said in a news release in May.
“NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community,” HOP said.
“We’ve called [the cop ban] shameful,” said Officer Jason Samuel, a gay nine-year veteran of the NYPD. “Personally, it’s definitely disappointing.”
Samuel — a former board member of the Gay Officers Action League, which sued the NYPD in 1996 for the right to join the parade in uniform — will be left out in the cold. As will about 300 to 400 other GOAL members.
The ban stings even more, Samuel said, because GOAL and Heritage of Pride share the same mission to “enlarge the place of the queer community” in society.
The ban on gay cops marching Sunday has left those who straddle both worlds — LGBTQ and policing — struggling, said Michael Alcazar, a retired NYPD detective and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Pride organizers are “ironically” discriminating against their gay officers, who already face “great stress” just for being who they are, he said.
“A person who is a member of two discrete subcultures will experience great stress, especially if they’re not accepted by one or both communities they belong to. A similar stress that black police officers experience in this current anti-police climate,” Alcazar added.
Heritage of Pride has said law enforcement would be banned from its pride events through 2025.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the department’s work with Pride events “has been increasingly embraced by its participants.”
“The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and runs counter to our shared values of inclusion,” said NYPD Sgt. Jessica McRorie. “That said, we’ll still be there to ensure traffic safety and good order during this huge, complex event.”
The ban is a “huge mistake” and “truly hypocritical,” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
“We have bias crimes and attacks on gays. And who do they report them to? The police. … At this parade, if there’s an incident or something happens … it’s the police who will provide protection,” said Mullins.
Heritage of Pride didn’t return a request for comment.
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