Seattle Pride Parade bans police officers from marching in uniform

SEATTLE — As Seattle gears up for the return of Pride weekend, you won’t be seeing any uniformed police officers in Sunday’s parade.

This year, police officers will not be allowed to march in uniform or display any law enforcement logos or clothing during the Pride Parade.

It’s the first time since 1994 that Seattle police will largely be absent from participating in the event.

“(Police officers) need to recognize the privilege that they hold,” said Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride. “They get to take off their uniform every day, (whereas) we don’t get to take off our queerness.”

Organizers of the Seattle Pride Parade said their decision stems largely from a survey conducted in the aftermath of 2020′s riots and unrest.

“Over 1,300 people responded, and the vast majority of folks shared with us that if (police were to march) in the parade, they would prefer police would be out of uniform, in plain clothes,” Marx told KIRO 7.

Pride organizers added they’re also advocating on behalf of those within the LGBTQIA+ community who’ve historically been victimized by the police, including during the Stonewall riots.

“We’re not the ones bribing the officers at Stonewall. We’re not the ones harassing the officers. Our community has never been the one instigating problems,” said Marx.

Yet longtime Seattle Pride Parade supporters like Victoria Beach disagree.

“(Pride organizers) say that the Black and brown community is traumatized, and the Black and brown community that I talked to is not (traumatized),” Beach said.

Beach serves on the African American Community Advisory Council to the Seattle Police Department.

She believes Seattle Pride Parade organizers are engaging in exclusionary practices.

“How do they like it we said, ‘you’re welcome in our group, but we don’t want to know you’re gay?’” Beach asked rhetorically. “You cannot have it both ways,” she added.

Seattle Pride Parade officials insisted that any police officer can still participate in Sunday’s parade, but they’re just not allowed to do it wearing any type of clothing that indicates they’re in law enforcement.

Beach, however, said she’s skipping the parade altogether.

“I’m not going to participate in division of a group of people. I won’t participate.”

Seattle Pride isn’t alone in making this decision.

Similar decisions have been made in both Minneapolis and San Francisco, where police are banned from wearing uniforms if they march in pride parades.