For many white, straight, or cisgender people, it’s easy to forget what the uniformed police officers who dance on parade floats do on the other 364 days of the year.
For the rest of us, it’s impossible. Many queer and trans people in major cities actively avoid Pride. A lot of us have vivid memories of inappropriate conduct — to put it nicely — on the part of police.
For many, just the sight of a police uniform is enough to trigger a full-blown panic attack. Despite the continued presence of uniformed officers as security on the sidelines, many of us will still try to go far out of our way to avoid areas where we know cops hang out, and we are afraid to call police in emergencies, unsure of how they might treat us when we’re vulnerable.
These experiences are far more pronounced among people of colour, which may explain why (despite an apparent increase in token multicultural events), Pride feels so damn white.
That’s why banning uniformed officers from Pride events will actually make it more inclusive: those who have been reticent to come to Pride before are more likely to attend when they aren’t being made to celebrate the police.