Police Should Not Be In Pride Parades

Police Should Not Be In Pride Parades

Pride should not accept police brutality.
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In 1969, the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn. Raids on gay bars were not uncommon at the time, but what made the raid on Stonewall unique was that the patrons of the bar fought back. The resulting riot, led by trans people of color, challenged police oppression of the queer community and is widely credited as the event that sparked the modern queer liberation struggle.

Now, 47 years later, the story has changed. Instead of resisting the police, the mainstream LGBTQ movement embraces them. At New York’s annual Pride Parade, the NYPD was given the opportunity to march in uniform and was even cheered on by a crowd of mostly white queer people. And New York is not alone. All across the U.S. and Canada, police departments are given the opportunity to march in uniform, in Pride parades.

Several organizations advocating for queer people of color have protested this arrangement. Most recently, the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter managed to interrupt Toronto’s Pride parade. They demanded that police floats be removed from Pride. Pride organizers initially agreed to their terms, but then backed down.

This has triggered a lot of reactionary racism amongst white queer people. What a lot of us white queer people simply don't get is that our whiteness shields us from many of the realities of police brutality. The response I heard from a lot of white queers was, "The police protect us so we shouldn't alienate them." What we don't get is that while the police may protect us, people of color are not given the same treatment.

Not all cops are bad, but the police as an institution are extremely oppressive. This has been the case since the creation of police as we know them today. Before the mid-19th century, communities generally organized their own police forces. This changed when the rising upper class needed a way to keep "social order" so that the capitalist system would be maintained. Thus, a centralized, bureaucratic police force was founded. This new police force was primarily used to crush strikes and other labor-related uprisings.

Police oppression has also always specifically targeted people of color -- black people especially. In the South, the first modern police force was the "slave patrol." The slave patrols had three primary responsibilities: to catch escaped slaves, to terrorize slaves to deter slave revolts and to punish any slave who did escape. As the 19th century went on, the slave patrols did not go away, even after the Civil War. In fact, many slave patrols went on to form the organizational structure of most Southern police forces.

And, of course, police oppression of black bodies continues to this day. We constantly see people like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and so many others who are murdered for the simple crime of being black in the U.S. Last year, a study by the Washington Post found that even though black men only make up 6 percent of the population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed victims of police shootings. The Toronto P.D. specifically has a long and disturbing history of racism.

Queer people of color are especially likely to be victims of police violence. Trans women of color, black trans women in particular, have the highest chance of being targeted. A recent study found that trans women of color were seven times more likely than the general population to experience physical violence from the police. Another study found that 41 percent of black trans women and 25 percent of Latino/a/x trans women were arrested due to police profiling.

Thus, allowing police to march in Pride as they continue to brutalize queer people of color is in extremely bad taste. When we decide to allow police at Pride, we are accepting and even endorsing police oppression.

Plus, allowing police to march in Pride compromises the safety of queer people of color who may want to participate in Pride. Fifty percent of queer people of color have reported feeling unsafe interacting with police officers, due to police oppression. Allowing police to march in Pride shows a very clear lack of respect for those concerns.

Some people have argued that stopping police from marching would be analogous to discrimination. This is problematic for two reasons. First, the police are not an oppressed group. Second, if a queer officer wants to got to Pride, I am not saying they shouldn't be able to. I'm just saying they should leave their uniform and badge at home.

I have also heard the argument that excluding police from Pride would cause a wedge between police and queer people, which would make police brutality worse. But there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Police have been marching in Pride for several years and yet, continue to oppress queer people of color. The only thing allowing police to march in Pride does is it allows police departments to maintain the illusion of how progressive they are.

Finally, I've heard the argument that not all cops are bad so we shouldn't vilify them. But I think this argument misses the point. Sure, individual cops can be well intentioned and may truly want to help people. But, as an institution, police are extremely oppressive because that is simply what they were designed to be. You don't need to say that every individual cop is a monster to say that the institution of police is oppressive. And again, individual cops can come and show their support at Pride, they should just leave their uniform at home.

By accepting police at Pride, we tacitly reinforce police oppression. We further alienate queer people of color and ensure that queer liberation only works for white queers. If we really want an inclusive movement that works for all queer people, police simply need to go.

Cover Image Credit: Boing Boing

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Things Are Heating Up In The Impeachment Fandom

"Scandal, scandal, New York Times" might as well be this administration's "Duck duck goose."

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Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, thinks it's time to invoke the 25th amendment to impeach Donald Trump. Less than two years into his presidency, Trump's administration has undergone numerous public and private scandals. The most recent, an exposé of officials within Trump's own West Wing who are quietly working to undermine his more impulsive policy decisions, is one source Warren cites as a reason to begin the impeachment process.

Warren, herself a target of Trump's vindictive name-calling (she was dubbed "Pocahontas" by Trump last year), is demanding that the appropriate constitutional action be taken if the now-infamous New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday is as true as it is damning. Problematically, the New York Times published the op-ed anonymously to protect the author from the inevitable backlash of such a public blow. While this calls up a host of questions (namely, who gets to write an anonymous op-ed?), the instantly viral article did more than just throw shade on the President; it's a new rallying cry for everyone who wants him out of office.

Along with a fundraising letter for her 2018 re-election campaign, Warren sent out a petition to her state residents, asking them to consider impeachment as a viable method for stopping the instability of the Trump White House.

The Washington Times quoted Warren:


"This isn't about politics – this is about the safety of our children, the national security of our nation, and the future of our democracy. Tell the cabinet: if Trump is unfit, invoke the 25th."

While it's unclear what effect her words have--it cannot, after all, be said that Warren has a political mandate to impeach or facilitate impeaching Trump--had on her constituents, this latest push represents an attempt to hold Cabinet members and senior administration accountable for the oaths they took to uphold the Constitution. Warren said:

"The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the Vice President and senior officials think the President can't do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the President — take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds. Every one of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It's time for them to do their job."

In other words, the onus of bringing impeachment into the national conversation falls squarely on the officials who facilitate the "quiet resistance" cited in the op-ed. Whether their purported devotion to country over leader compels them to do so is yet to be seen, which is why the author's anonymity is so denigrating to the faith that they are clearly trying to restore in Americans, to reassure them that there are, indeed, "adults in the room."

The op-ed's full effect is likely to be compounded by any new findings from the Mueller investigation, which looms ever closer to Trump's own re-election campaign in 2020. At the moment, though, it's hard to pin down as pure reassurance or proof that doubting the current administration is the best course of action. To Warren and the Democratic base, it's just more fuel to the fires that lit everywhere on November 9th, 2016.

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