H.O.P cancels G.O.A.L — with Pride

Motorcyclists ride through New York's Greenwich Village in the city's annual Heritage Pride March, Sunday, June 28, 2015. The march features thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Associated Press/Mark Lennihan, file

Cancel Culture resonated with members of the NYPD recently when Heritage Of Pride (HOP) — the organizers of the annual Pride Day parade — announced that uniformed members of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) will not be welcomed to join the colorful spectacle.

Effective immediately, the ban from the most diverse event in New York City will temporarily prohibit NYPD participation until 2025 when a review will either extend the ban or lift limitations.

“Effective immediately, NYC Pride will ban Corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025,” André Thomas, HOP co-chair said.

He added that “at that time their participation will be reviewed by the Community Relations and Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion committees, as well as the executive board.”

Needless to say, a response from the police group followed saying — “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 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.”

While talk has been prevalent that police presence grates against the origins of the parade, HOP activists believe police presence conflicts with the origins of the event which commemorates the 1969 anti-police riots in response to repressive NYPD raids at a Manhattan watering hole named Stonewall Inn.

Relentless surprise visits often ended with arrests, humiliation and beatings of LGBTQ clientele however, that June patrons retaliated with six days of protests that is now symbolic of the early years when they marched chanting: “Say it loud, gay is proud.”

It has become a recurring theme to advocates, sympathizers and police officers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer.

The memory of those early rallies were not forgotten last year when police railed against protesters to the murder of George Floyd. HOP advocates paralleled the brutality which they believe revealed the worst police behavior and should not be overlooked.

“This announcement follows many months of conversation and discussion with key stakeholders in the community,” the co-chair added.

He credited the Anti-Violence Project, National Black Justice Coalition, and other advocates for giving HOP the guidance to make the decision possible.

In executing the ban, the NYPD would be asked to distance themselves at least one block away from the parade and events related to NYC Pride.

HOP spokesperson explained that instead of inviting police into the event they would be responsible for securing private security and only use the NYPD if necessary.

“In the meantime, NYC Pride will transition to providing increased community-based security and first responders, while simultaneously taking steps to reduce NYPD presence at events.”

Although the full force of the ban will not be evident this June 27 when a virtual event will highlight the 51-year-old tradition, in 2022 the rescinded invitation will be obvious when the parade returns to the streets following easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The seemingly understanding between the department and their own uniformed LGBTQ members painted a colorful picture of officers walking hand in hand with their same-sex partners and even featured lettering on NYPD squad cars decorated by a rainbow emblem marking the milestone celebration.

The public display began in 1982 when NYPD Sgt. Charles Cochrane testified before the City Council about discrimination he had endured. His bold testimony revolutionized perceptions about homosexuality and also swayed reforms to pending legislation waiting to be voted.

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