New York City Pride has told the Gay Officers Action League — which represents LGBTQ officers from the NYPD and other law enforcement organizations — that it is not welcome this year.
NYPD Det. Brian Downey, president of the police group, told media he was “disheartened” by the decision. In a press statement posted on Twitter and the GOAL website, the group said:
The Gay Officers Action League (“GOAL”) is disheartened by the decision to ban our group from participating in New York City Pride. Heritage of Pride (NYC Pride) has long been a valued partner of our organization and its abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful.
GOAL and our members have had our hands in every police reform and policy revision touching on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City. As the result of our advocacy alongside our allies, NYPD revised its Patrol Guide in 2012 to include procedures specific to transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers. For nearly 30 years, GOAL has provided LGBTQIA+ training for every new NYPD recruit at the academy, educating future officers on the unique challenges facing our community. We also serve as victim advocates for those in our community that have needed to navigate the criminal justice system. These are just a few of the countless initiatives that GOAL has undertaken to change the culture of law enforcement. We are doing the work that leads to progress.”
In the statement, GOAL said it had facilitated LGBTQIA+ sensitivity and awareness training for criminal justice agencies and was working with partners for change throughout law enforcement. “For them to succeed, they need to be supported by leading LGBTQIA+ groups, not excommunicated by them,” the statement said.
The statement continued to say that Heritage of Pride had bowed to activist pressure and were “preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots,” said GOAL President Brian Downey. He continues: “It is demoralizing that Heritage of Pride didn’t have the courage to refer to GOAL by name in its announcement, referring to us only as ‘Law Enforcement Exhibitors.’ The label is not only offensive but dehumanizing for our members.”
The organization has about 300 active members who would ordinarily take part in the Pride march. NYC Pride will have some in-person events this year, but the annual Pride March scheduled for June 27 will take place virtually due to COVID-19 precautions.