This year, 50 years after the Stonewall riot, we were cautiously optimistic that we would finally be seen by our own community. Earlier this year, the board of Pride St Louis decided to center gender expansive and trans lived experiences by holding us up as grand marshals in honor of 50 years into our movement. When we agreed to take our place as grand marshals, we agreed to make our bodies vulnerable; we put our most marginalized community members at risk once again, especially our siblings of color.
While hesitant, we agreed despite knowing that uniformed, armed police officers who have historically and presently criminalized our bodies would be in the parade. We have strained at best, and violent at worst, relationships with police officers. There has been no indication or effort made to gain an understanding or awareness by the police of who we are and what our community needs from our police officers. We knew that our constituency would be resistant to marching with armed officers however we wanted to work with the Pride Board and Parade team. Once the decision was made to exclude armed, uniformed police officers we finally felt seen, heard, understood and centered. Watching the backlash from white, cisgender gay and lesbian and straight community members, we realize that there is so much more work to be done. More than 50 years into this fight, we are not safe even within our own movement.
So what are we going to do now? We don’t know. For right now, our leadership core is at a loss for words. We are disappointed. We are frightened. And, now quite frankly, we are much more aware of the massive targets on our backs put there by the federal government, our state legislature, and our own community leaders.
On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of The Stonewall Riots we admit that we still have an enormous amount of work to do to insure EVERY member of our St. Louis LGBTQIA Community feels respected, honored and included, especially our Transgender members.We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
As we move forward towards a safer and more inclusive St. Louis, we look forward to working with The Mayor, and The City of St Louis to provide Diversity and Inclusion training, continued conversations, meetings, and working together for a better community.
We concluded after months and weeks of lengthy discussions and debate and also listening to our community, that we will welcome LGBTQIA Police Officers and allies to walk in uniform in the 2019 PrideFest Parade June 30th downtown.
We are dedicated to making sure all of our LGBTQIA community feels safe and respected and are looking forward to building lasting relationships with Mayor Krewson, The City of St. Louis, Public Safety and Law Enforcement.
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