Pride and Black Lives Matter


Black Lives Matter stalled the 2017 Twin Cities Pride parade by inserting themselves in front of the lead car. In response to the verdict in Philando Castile’s killing ten days before the parade, Pride organizers had decided not to have uniformed officers march in the parade. After speaking to police officials, organizers partially reversed and decided to let uniformed officers march but to exclude squad cars. People on both sides of the issue were angry, and some people boycotted the parade.

People are still pissed on both sides of the issue, but this was, in my opinion, a wonderfully Minnesotan result of an ugly situation. Black Lives Matter got to make a statement, and they deserved to. The Minneapolis police were decent enough to keep their distance and let them have their protest. Gay officers still got to march in the parade. Both sides got a lot of support from the crowd. The police managing traffic in my area, despite massive cheers for every Black Lives Matter or Justice for Castile sign, remained friendly and engaged with parade participants.

The situation is more complex than this, but for this day, somehow Pride managed to cover both sides of an ugly divide. I am proud that we could be that together. Even if it was forced, both groups represented.

The valid fears and concerns of people of color should not be ignored, but still, it has to be hard to be a gay cop, and I am grateful; for every police officer that supports the LGBTQ community. Pride, to me, means inclusion and supporting people for who they are. We accidentally got there today. If I ran the parade, I would just plan to do the same thing next year.

That said, I have a bone to pick. I have seen a lot of responses today, generally from white, middle-class, gay men, that basically say, "I have been going to Pride for X years. This is our day! [Black Lives Matter] has no right to intrude."

1) Similar people complained when bisexuals were added to the community, and then again when transgender people were added. Being a white gay man has become somewhat mainstream because these guys rode on the backs of better people – those who cared about all gender and sexual identities. All those people deserve their support now.

2) These "uniformed" people (quotes because I am making myself choose a polite word) need to learn their history. Pride started, a few after the Stonewall riots, to carry on the momentum of the riots created in standing up for GLBTQ rights. The Stonewall riots had jump started the modern GLBTQ activist movement, and were started by gay, lesbian, and trans people rebelling against exploitation by the mob and blatant abuse and harassment by the police. People of color were central to – if not essential to -- these first days of LGBTQ activism. So, yes, it is their day -- as much as it is anyone's.

This post is taken from a private Facebook post, used with permission and edited slightly for clarity.
Ronald Thump (Administrator)