Brisbane Pride’s recent request that police do not wear uniform during the Pride Rally and March on Saturday caused considerable social media debate about Pride and Police. With two diametrically opposed sides battling it out on social media, it would add nothing to reiterate the arguments made by either side here. However, we did notice some wildly inaccurate ‘untruthiness’ in some of the discussions. Our communities deserve honest information to make informed decisions, so here are some real facts.
Brisbane Pride did not ban police from marching in the parade — or marching in uniform.
The organisation made a request of the Commissioner that police do not wear uniforms in the parade — which she then agreed to.
That said, police officers require permission from the police hierarchy to wear uniforms off-duty. Therefore, individual officers can not choose to ignore the request.
Volunteer uniformed police from the QPS LGBTI Liaison Program will conduct a stall at Pride Fair Day following the march.
Armed police have never marched at Pride. Despite the uniforms, the marchers were off-duty. Nor were they paid to march.
Hares and Hyenas raid and Sydney murders
Disgraceful as those two oft-quoted issues are, they have nothing to do with Queensland Police. The QPS has no jurisdiction beyond Queensland state borders and therefore bears no responsibility for events in other states. Might as well blame the Story Bridge for Sydney traffic jams.
Nor, we might add, is the QPS responsible for the actions of police in the US or anywhere else.
Brisbane Pride Incorporated
Brisbane Pride is not a self-appointed body. The organisation is an incorporated association with a properly elected management committee. It conducts an annual audit as per Queensland Government regulation. The last Annual General Meeting and election of office-bearers took place exactly six months ago.
The organisation has the legal right to decide who participates in their parade and how — subject to local government regulation and state and federal laws. Brisbane Pride undertakes the arduous work of organising the event and pays the bills.
Pride at war with Police
Statements from both Brisbane Pride and a spokesperson for the QPS described ongoing discussions as ‘positive and productive’.
Overwhelming support for my side of the argument
The argument over Police and Pride causes ongoing contention in Pride groups across Australia and internationally. Neither side enjoys overwhelming support. Indeed, if that was the case, the issue would not beget such animated debate.
Like it or not, our communities encompass a wide range of beliefs. People vehemently opposed to each other on this issue, probably marched together just a few years ago for marriage equality.
If you disagree with the decisions of community organisations, then give yourself a voice in future decisions. Join up, vote, and take on some of the heavy workload shouldered by a very few for the benefit of many.
On that note, this is a good place to thank all the members of Brisbane Pride and our other community organisations, past and present, whatever their views on this subject, for their contribution. Few see how much work these people put in — and what they sacrifice in their own lives — for an often thankless task that frequently attracts criticism.
Why did Brisbane Pride make the request?
As per their statement, Brisbane Pride specified two main areas of concern.
- distrust because of historical homophobia, abuse, police brutality and unsafe behaviours.
- concerns about a perception of escalating levels of homophobia.
Whatever your beliefs, and however, wherever, and whenever you celebrate it, Happy Pride.
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