SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A decision to allow uniformed police officers in the Sacramento Pride Parade this weekend is causing a split within the LGBTQ community.
Sacramento police will help secure the pride parade this year, but some officers also want to join in with their badge.
“We have a lot of LGBTQ officers in every position up to including two captains,” said Captain Pamela Seyffert, an openly gay Sacramento police officer.
For many in the LGBTQ community, this is a welcome gesture. However, the police uniform is not.
“That uniform represents violence, it represents oppression,” said Ebony Harper, an LGBTQ activist.
Harper described herself as a trans woman of color who has a legitimate reason to fear the police.
“I had an incident last year at a Stephon Clark rally where I was tazed and manhandled and put in the men’s jail. I was put through a real traumatic situation,” she said.
Harper is upset with pride parade organizers. She and fellow activists say the decision to allow police in uniform alienates a large portion of the LGBTQ community.
“You get dehumanized for both being a minority of color and also someone that’s queer. So every space you navigate there’s always the questions, ‘Am I safe?’” said Ayotunde Ikuku, an LGBTQ activist.
The parade this year comes at a sensitive time, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. They’re widely considered a key part of the gay liberation movement.
“I am also a person of color and I can appreciate and empathize with their perspective,” said Carlos Marquez, the Sacramento LGBTQ Community Center Board President and an organizer of the parade.
Marquez said police were ultimately allowed to wear their uniform, in exchange for access. He said members of the LGBTQ community will be able to help train new cadets about issues that matter to them.
“I think what we are ultimately about is trying to transform, re-imagine the way policing is done with our community,” he said.
In a press release Thursday night, the Sacramento LGBT Community Staff said they held a vote of no confidence in the board of directors, asking for the immediate resignation of the Center’s board president, Carlos Marquez.