May 31, 2022 - News

Uniformed police to march in Utah Pride Parade

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Utah Pride Center is facing backlash for allowing uniformed police to march in the upcoming Pride Parade.

  • The festival will kick off at 1pm Saturday, with the parade set for 10am Sunday in downtown Salt Lake City.

Driving the news: In a statement, the center said police "will not only march with us but will serve as our escorts and security."

Zoom out: Cities like Denver, San Francisco and New York City have banned uniformed police from participating in their respective events.

What's next: Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid, a group of local organizers, is hosting a separate festival, "Pride Without Police," at 8pm on June 10 in Jordan Park.

  • "In a city where our pride celebrations are gatekept by entry fees and sponsored by billion-dollar corporations, we must maintain the revolutionary spirit that has always been the driving force of queer liberation movements," organizers with Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid wrote in a statement.

Pride festivities are traditionally held in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which were sparked by the police raid of a gay club in New York City.

Flashback: In 2014, a Salt Lake City Police officer was put on leave, and later resigned, after refusing to participate in a motorcycle brigade in that year's Pride parade because he said it violated his religious liberties, The Guardian reported.

  • There were increasing calls within the LGBTQ community to limit police presence at Pride after that, Kat Kellermeyer, a Salt Lake City activist and former festival organizer told Axios.
  • Kellermeyer said by characterizing police presence as a duty of "inclusion," the center signals the discussion between stakeholders is over.

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