Jun 2, 2022 - News

Denver's Pride parade welcomes cops back

Illustration of flashing rainbow police lights.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The organization behind Denver PrideFest will allow police officers to march during this month's festivities and programming celebrating LGBTQ+ identity.

Why it matters: The decision reverses last year's controversial move to ban officers from participating in its virtual march.

  • The Center on Colfax, the group behind Denver PrideFest, said in a statement its 2021 decision was rooted in a commitment to justice and to denounce police violence against Black people.

Yes, but: Officers will only be permitted to join individually this year as part of a law enforcement group in the parade.

  • Police won't have their own marching section, won't be in uniform and police cars will not be part of the parade, per a spokesperson from the Center on Colfax.

What they're saying: Denver police Lt. Michael Wyatt, an openly gay man who serves as the Denver Police Department's LGBTQ liaison, told Axios Denver that some of his LGBTQ colleagues don't agree with the compromise and will boycott Pride events. Wyatt worked with the center to bring officers back this year.

  • The center said it's working with individual LGBTQ law enforcement officers and first responders to create a group called Pride on Duty Colorado to "provide networking opportunities, training and support for LGBTQ officers and first responders throughout the year," per a statement.

Zoom out: Cities including Des Moines and Salt Lake City are allowing cops to attend their local pride marches. But dozens of other pride events across the U.S. are banning officers from participating.

  • Police in San Francisco aren't taking part because organizers have banned officers from wearing their uniforms, per Axios San Francisco's Nick Bastone.

Details: The 2022 Denver PrideFest takes place June 25-26. This year’s festivities feature a 5K and the Coors Light PrideFest Parade.

  • At least 7% of adults in Colorado identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or another non-heterosexual orientation, per a report from the Colorado Health Institute, while 1.2% of Coloradans identify as transgender, non-binary or otherwise gender diverse.

Of note: Black Pride Colorado will host events June 16-26.

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