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Ban on Uniformed Cops at NYC Pride March Stirs Anger, Painful Memories

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After police arrested and pepper-sprayed some participants last year, organizers of the city’s largest pride parade hope the decision to ban uniformed police officers from marching Sunday will create a safer experience for trans people and LGBTQ people of color. 

As New York City’s annual pride parade approaches on Sunday, streets will once again fill with thousands of residents in colorful celebration. But for the first time ever, uniformed police officers will be barred from marching. NYC Pride’s recent decision to ban LGBTQ police officers from participating in parades until at least 2025 has aroused anger and hurt among rank and file officers, The Associated Press reports. “Why should I have to hide a part of me?” asked Ana Arboleda, a sergeant with the NYPD who has marched in the parade several times and is the vice-president of the Gay Officers Action League. “Why should I have to take off (the uniform) as if I’m ashamed?”

But the ban also reflects simmering unease and resentment among LGBTQ people who say including uniformed police is a painful reminder of the police violence that dogged the movement for so long, especially in a parade commemorating the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations sparked by police raids at a gay bar. Organizers of parades in other cities — including Toronto, Vancouver, Denver and Seattle — have banned uniformed police participation in recent years. The decision to ban uniformed officers comes a year after officers arrested and pepper-sprayed some demonstrators at a smaller march last summer.This will be the first parade without an appearance from the Gay Officers Action League, whose members have marched in NYC Pride in uniform since 1996.

Source: The Crime Report

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