San Francisco Mayor London Breed and police will march at this year’s pride parade following an agreement, the mayor said Thursday.
Breed said that raising the rainbow flag outside her office at San Francisco City Hall has become one of her favorite events this time of year.
After a three-year hiatus from most in-person pride festivities because of the pandemic, the parade is back. But a decision to ban uniformed police officers from marching in the parade, led the mayor to say she'd boycott the event.
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But Thursday’s announcement changed all that.
"I almost want to cry because I’m so happy. But I, along with our LGBTQ public safety officials will be marching in pride this year,” Breed said.
Breed's announcement that she and members of the city's public safety community will be marching in the city's pride parade after all, ends nearly two weeks of uncertainty leading up to the iconic event.
The standoff over uniformed police officers not marching quickly grew to include firefighters and sheriff's deputies, who bowed out in solidarity. Then, one of the city's two openly gay supervisors and finally the mayor.
At Thursday’s pride flag event, everyone assembled described the controversy as a "family spat, that's now over."
But the issues involved still simmer including a checkered, sometimes violent history among the LGBTQ community and the city's police force.
"I think it was important from our point of view to make sure members of our community who historically haven't had a voice, to make sure that was heard and elevated. And that's the job, that's San Francisco pride,” said SF Pride Executive Director Suzanne Ford.
Members of the San Francisco Police Officer's Pride Alliance said their effort to represent their community as their authentic selves is also important.
"There was a time when myself, as a trans woman, couldn't serve in a police department, anywhere in this country,” said San Francisco police officer Kathryn Winters.
A lot of officers have joined law enforcement to make sure that the events of the past don't happen again.
The details of the compromise are still being hammered out. But according to the pride board president, officers will likely be asked to wear something more casual than a full uniform.
"One thing that we really stressed, we wanted to really trust our officers to know what it was to be casual, what it was to dress it down a bit," said SF Pride President Carolyn Wysinger.
This will be the first pride parade in San Francisco since 2019. This year's theme is "love will keep us together.”
The San Francisco Pride and the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance released the following statements Thursday:
“Pride grew out of conflicts between LGBTQ communities and police at Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall Inn. Ever since then, we have attempted to bridge that divide. That is why we are grateful to have reached a compromise solution today. It shows everyone is working in the spirit of Pride to come together! We have agreed that all first responders will march together in one contingent. Most law enforcement officers marching will be in casual dress. Police and fire department command staff will march in their class AA uniforms as regulated. There will be a small number of LGBTQ officers in uniform providing security for the contingent.”
“In addition to the agreement reached surrounding law enforcement officers marching in Pride, San Francisco Pride and the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance have also agreed to continue work that builds on the foundations laid by our conversations over the last two years. The San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance will work with Chief William Scott’s office to reinvigorate the Chief’s LGBTQ Police Advisory Forum, working with San Francisco Pride to ensure that community members selected for the forum represent the diversity of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ community. San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance and San Francisco Pride, over the next year, will host a series of community discussions bringing together the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ officers. These discussions will take place in San Francisco LGBTQ+ communities in order to ensure that the forums are accessible to all.”