Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday June 1, 2022
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Letters to the editor

Supports SF Pride board's decision

I'm writing to state that I'm 100% behind the board of San Francisco Pride in its decision to ban the police from marching in uniform ["LGBTQ first responders won't march in SF Pride parade," online, May 23]. As a queer man with significant disabilities, the police do not make me feel safer in my community. Just weeks ago, the San Francisco Police Department shot dead two people in Mission Bay, in a case in which the details are still murky. We have a mayor who has announced a "crackdown" on a historically queer neighborhood, the Tenderloin, which brings back echoes of the Castro Sweep. And with the history of police shootings in this city of young people of color like Alex Nieto, it's understandable that any uniformed police presence would make young people of color uncomfortable attending Pride.

SF Pride made the right call here. Last year, I was able to attend the alternative People's March for Pride down Polk Street. Several hundred of us marched down Polk Street with a message that the LGBTQ+ community needs to get back to its roots of liberation and inclusivity. It was refreshing to see a Pride march that had a meaningful political message.

My hope is that the decision to ban uniformed police officers from the "main" SF Pride parade signals a step in the right direction — that the board of SF Pride is starting to listen to historically marginalized communities and is now working to make it an event that is meaningful for everyone. If we, as LGBTQ+ people, aren't able to take a stand against oppressive institutions that actively hurt and kill other members of our community, then what is Pride even for?

Matthew S. Denney

San Francisco

Disagrees with SF Pride board

I disagree with the San Francisco Pride board of directors decision not to allow the San Francisco Police Department officers to march in the Pride parade in their uniforms. These LGBTQ police are to be acknowledged, celebrated, and respected for their bravery and courage as officers, as well as breaking down barriers and bringing diversity to the SFPD; and to the SFPD for evolving to accept and encourage this diversity. This decision is wrong-minded and should be overturned (including an apology).

There are issues that should be addressed at SFPD, but not at the expense of disrespecting our LGBTQ officers and the SFPD they represent — let them march proudly in uniform and be celebrated in the Pride parade.

Jim Ogren

San Francisco

The sleep-walking woke

The decision by the San Francisco Pride board to ban San Francisco police officers, including LGBTQ officers, from marching in their uniforms at the San Francisco Pride parade is a slap in the face to LGBTQ persons who fought hard to break through employment barriers and who dedicate their lives to public safety and service.

The inability of the San Francisco Pride committee to discern between friends and foes demonstrates a gross lack of leadership. It also promotes an intellectual zombie-ism that has some in our community indiscriminately turning on and devouring our own. Knee-jerk, blanket cancel culture does not make you woke; it makes you one of the sleep-walking woke.

Yes, there are racist cops in parts of our country who have committed abuses of power and egregious acts of racism and violence against people of color. They should be held to account and removed from positions of public trust. They should not be confused with the numerous LGBTQ+ community members who serve honorably in local law enforcement agencies. They have as much right to march openly and proudly as any of us.

Pride celebrations are about inclusion and showing our pride. The Pride board's action is exclusionary and indicates shame for LGBTQ+ first responders, which is not the way many of us feel.

It may be true, as this year's SF Pride theme somewhat ironically asserts, "Love Will Keep Us Together," but it is certain that turning against our own and our allies will only divide and weaken us. I call on the Pride committee to reverse its decision to exclude members of the LGBTQ+ community and its attempt to dictate the clothing they wear. I encourage other members of the LGBTQ+ community to speak up and do the same.

Joseph Leonardi

San Francisco

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