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.

Just Posted

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

Wild about nature photos: Royal B.C. Museum set to kick off annual exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners, finalists’ works on display starting Friday

REVIEW: Allan Reid finds a meal fit for a king

Monday’s intrepid restaurant reviewer gets the royal treatment at the Fireside Grill

FILM FEST WRAP: Your winners, reviewer’s favourites make for differing lists

Kyle Wells takes a look back on the Victoria Film Festival’s 25th anniversary event

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Women dominated in Grammys nominations, but will they win?

This year’s nominees mark a departure from the 2018 Grammys

Most Read