Police will not be taking part in Auckland’s Pride Parade in February – because they say they have been banned from wearing their uniforms.
Instead, the Pride Festival board told officers they must wear T-shirts instead of their uniforms, says Inspector Tracy Phillips.
“It’s really, really sad, “says Phillips, the self-appointed coordinator of the New Zealand Police’s diversity liaison officer (DLO) service.
“We’re really proud of what we do for a job, who we are and the work that we’ve done – so if we’re not welcome, we’re certainly not going to force our way in, and we’ve taken that message as we are not welcome.”
So the Auckland Pride Board believe in inclusion and diversity – except for gay and lesbian police officers.
The problem here will be activist take over. I suspect the vast majority of gay Aucklanders love seeing the Police take part in the Pride Festival. It’s actually a very powerful symbol. The comments on the article show there is a lot of upset.
The problem will be those on the board will not be representative of the community. They’ll be dominated by a few hard core activists who will use jargon such as:
A spokesperson for the Auckland Pride Board said there was “goodwill towards the NZ Police” but that they did not “currently meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality required by our rainbow communities”.
According to Phillips, the NZ Police had reached out to the board to find out what the force could improve on.
“We had said to the organisers, come to us and tell us what we can do better – but no one’s come back to us.”
She says the news is a huge blow, but that they’re staying positive.
“Our entire police band was going to come this year, our police horses, or police dogs, our rainbow scarf and rainbow car – so I’m really disappointed. But we’ll just keep doing the mahi in the background, and doing things because it’s the right thing to do.”
A real own goal by the Auckland Pride Board. And very insulting to the gay and lesbian police officers who have effectively been told they are viewed as second class citizens who shouldn’t be proud of the job they do.
UPDATE: Mika is not happy:
The decision to ban police from wearing their uniforms during Auckland’s Pride Parade by the festival’s board, has been described as “fascist” and “elitist” by Mika, a gay icon and parade veteran.
“These things are about inclusion, and we’ve got our community within the police force who want to represent us,” said Mika.
“We are talking about the inclusion of a community, dressed in their own drag, supporting the kaupapa (subject). I don’t understand the Pride Board’s decision. It’s fascist and elitist.”
It is the opposite of inclusive.
Mika, who has been a parade grand marshall and involved in Pride festivals around the world, said the board’s decision was treading on dangerous territory.
“As soon as we start not allowing some groups, where do we stop? You start with the police, then it can lead to lesbian groups who don’t like transgender. The list can go on.”
Let’s not even start on the pregnant man in Dunedin!