Calgary LGBT Pride March Bans Police in Uniform over ‘Historical Oppression’ and ‘Institutionalized

The LGBT Pride march in Calgary, Canada, has banned police officers from attending in uniform, citing “historical oppression” and “institutionalized racism.”

“We acknowledge the historical oppression and institutionalized racism faced by queer/trans people of colour and Indigenous persons, and the potentially negative association with weapons, uniforms, and other symbols of law enforcement,” claimed organizers in a press release.

Despite the ban, Calgary police officers will still be providing security for the event, and there will be an “opportunity for officers to march in the parade out of uniform,” according to CBC.

Calgary Chief Roger Chaffin expressed disappointment at the ban, but claimed the relationship between police officers and the LGBT community is now “far better” than the previous decade.

“We are obviously disappointed with the decision that police will not be allowed to march in uniform, but we are not going to allow it to undo decades of progress between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in Calgary,” declared Chaffin. “We have a far better relationship with the LGBTQ community now than we did even 10 years ago, and we want to keep that forward momentum.”

President of Calgary Pride, Jason Kingsley, defended the ban by claiming symbols of law enforcement could be “triggering” to attendees, comparing it to PTSD.

“It’s that symbol, that authoritative symbol, that weapon that can actually be triggering and traumatic for individuals who have faced oppression or faced issues,” claimed Kingsley. “So it’s similar to things like PTSD, where sounds or sights can actually trigger these emotions or these responses, where they can relive these kind of traumatic episodes or situations that they’ve experienced in their lives.”

The decision was reportedly made following a meeting between Calgary Pride and “VOICES – Calgary’s Coalition of People of Colour,” and follows similar bans from other Canadian Pride marches, including Toronto, which were influenced by Black Lives Matter. Dozens of police officers from Toronto traveled to New York City to march in a pride parade in that city, while Justin Trudeau marched in the Toronto parade wearing Islam-themed socks for Ramadan.

Numerous people in the LGBT community have protested Calgary Pride’s decision to ban police in uniform, with many announcing that it will be the first year they boycott.

“This is no longer an inclusive pride parade. The Calgary Police Service has done a lot over the years to be inclusive in many ways,” said one gay man to CBC. “I know I, for one, won’t be attending anything that’s associated with Calgary Pride at all, ever again, until this is changed. And I know a number of people who are the same way.”

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