Police uniforms, vehicles no longer allowed in Vancouver Pride parade

The Vancouver Pride Society has decided not to allow uniformed officers, police vehicles or weapons at the annual parade

Facebook

There won’t be any uniformed police officers marching alongside the colourful floats in Vancouver’s Pride parade next August.

Andrea Arnot, executive director of the Vancouver Pride Society, says the group has decided not to allow uniformed officers, police vehicles or weapons in the annual parade.

She says the decision was made in September after more than a year of community consultations where members of the LGBTQ community told board members they were uncomfortable seeing uniformed officers or police vehicles at the event because of historic police oppression.

Plainclothes officers will be welcome to march with the City of Vancouver’s parade entry and Arnot notes many officers are strong allies of the LGBTQ community.

Vancouver Pride spoke with the police force about the decision in September and Arnot says they found the officers very receptive.

The Vancouver Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Related: LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

Vancouver Pride’s decision follows similar moves across the country after the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter halted the city’s parade in 2016, demanding Pride organizers agreed to a list of conditions, including a ban on uniformed police.

Black Lives Matter has argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalized communities from attending.

Forces in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto were all asked to leave their uniforms at home for Pride festivities this summer.

Vancouver Pride came to a compromise with the police department this year, where the majority of the officers marching were not in uniform and no vehicles were included in the parade.

But Arnot said the move has never been about excluding police.

“When we started out with these conversations way back in 2016, our intent was not to ban the police from the parade,” she said. “It was how to have the police participate in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable and for them to show their support in a different way.”

Reaching the decision has been a long, often uncomfortable process, Arnot said, noting that the board and staff spoke to more than 300 people in the community consultation process.

“I’m really glad that we’ve been able to move things forward,” she said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BEHIND BARS: Relaxed and refreshed at The Palms

Sneak peek at Victoria’s freshest new bar

Ocie Elliott: Facing the Music

Victoria duo describes effects of COVID crisis

YOUR AUGUST HOROSCOPE: It’s Leo Season!

Georgia Nicols giving us insight on what lies ahead this summer

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Sand sculptor creates special eagle head in Qualicum Beach

Kaube fashions work behind Civic Centre

Parksville artist takes home Sooke Fine Arts People’s Choice Award

Francine Street’s winning piece is titled ‘Ken’

Poetry contest started for Vancouver Island poets

“We’re such a unique group,” says founder on why she wanted to start the collective

Nanaimo Fringe Festival productions adapt to new online format

10th annual festival to be live-streamed due to COVID-19

Island pub wants people to ‘drop five’ to keep music alive

Royston’s Charlie Aiken thinks his plan can help artists and venues alike

First Arts Alive sculptures of 2020 now installed

Oak Bay’s annual public art exhibition starts anew

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Most Read