Some facts re the acrimonious debate over Pride and Police


Police and Pride

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.

Request

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.

Fair Day

Volunteer uniformed police from the QPS LGBTI Liaison Program will conduct a stall at Pride Fair Day following the march.

Armed police

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.

Happy Pride

Whatever your beliefs, and however, wherever, and whenever you celebrate it, Happy Pride.

If you’re heading off to Brisbane Pride Fair Day, get your tickets here.

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4 Comments

  1. Angus Constable-Townsend
    29 September 2021
    Reply

    The Police those years ago were acting on the law of the land at the time, the laws changed & regardless of orientation or dress we are inclusive of all…. moving on should be a welcome by all of us.

  2. Dr Wendell Rosevear
    30 September 2021
    Reply

    We need to Reclaim PRIDE from PREJUDICE: don’t judge and discriminate against the good LGBTIQ cops because of the bad cops. Let an Apology be a meaningful healing gift, not an extracted, manipulated farce. Support victims heal with mediated dialogue and support buddies to regain worth and safety through honesty rather than the false hope of a world without triggers. To seek safety through the prejudicial generalisation that all police can’t be trusted due to the actions of some, is to be locked in the limitations of survival. Restoring Mutual Respect beats Prejudice every time when it comes to delivering safety. I am a paying Pride Member and I have Trained LGbT Liaison offices from the beginning plus prepared the LGBTI police for the courageous act of telling their stories in the very successful cultural change project on YouTube called”It Gets Better” I also support Ben in establishing the National LGBT DV awareness day that even got the PMs support. Plus tell his story with another guy on The Project. We need to foster the amazing progress, not squash the spirits of Courageous change makers. “…make Love infectious” Wendell

  3. Bernard Gardiner
    30 September 2021
    Reply

    It is worthy to expect important issues to be addressed in a meaningful way by the QPS. If it takes some pressure from outside the Force to move another step forward, then I prefer that to resting on our laurels and swallowing our Pride. Those working for incremental change within the Force can leverage this moment to empower their efforts. I look forward to the QPS making a meaningful apology about the harms done to LGBTIQ Brotherboy and Sistergirl lives in the past, and being transparent about how they are dealing with members who abuse their power and tarnish the reputation of the QPS in the present. This is not too much to ask.

  4. Brett
    30 September 2021
    Reply

    Pride Committee is not speaking for the wider community!

    Irrespective of the reasons outlined in the committees public statement, I believe the only way to make amends for past injustices is to move forward and look towards the future.

    This action can only be perceived by the public as the committee acting in a petty childish retaliative way to penalize those QPS members who positively support and assist and love our community.

    We should be including anyone and everyone in whatever they choose to wear!

    Police were only allowed to wear the uniforms in the match for the first time in 2015.
    At the time this decision was made, this was a huge achievement!

    Revoking that right, with a tit-for-tat mentality, from those officers who wish to march in uniform can only do damage to our community and the way that we are perceived by the wider community as excluding those who support us.

    It is for this reason that I will not as an individual be participating this year in Pride
    I also have several friends, who for the same reasons, have voiced to me their disappointment with this decision, and will also be boycotting the event and those events after the March.

    I do not believe that the committee has made the right decision in this matter, or made this decision in the best interests of the LGBTIQ+ community.

    I feel this is a very narrow minded approach to penalize QPS members with this action and pettiness.

    I look forward to this decision being reversed for next year‘s march and which stage I will resume my participation

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