Uniformed police to march in Utah Pride Parade
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."
- Pride center officials said since the festival is "inclusive" it should "include law enforcement, much like other community partners."
- That's aggravated some advocates who say "inclusivity" should prioritize vulnerable communities over police.
- Critics point to a history of police harassment of LGBTQ activists as a reason why law enforcement should not be involved. Queer people of color have also said police presence discourages them from attending Pride events.
- "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.
More Salt Lake City stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Salt Lake City.