Pride St. Louis Marches On The Right Side of History In 2019 PrideFest Parade
St. Louis, Missouri is a rich and vibrant city. Diversity is alive and well and knows no boundaries here – that is until you try to show support for one of the most historically marginalized and discriminated against communities. Today that disparity raised its ugly head when Pride St. Louis, the non-profit organization that hosts the annual PrideFest, made public a statement that confirms that in tandem with their previous decision to honor the local transgender and non-binary community as Grand Marshal of this year’s 2019 Grand Parade, they have reached an agreement with the St. Louis Police Department and Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office that no member of the police department will march in uniform in the Grand Parade procession.
This act stands in solidarity with the decision to honor the transgender and non-binary community and in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The St. Louis LGBTQIA community is torn by the decision. When the news broke on social media via local news on the RFT Facebook page, responses are mixed and passionate. While some state they plan to withdraw their support of the festival, there is clear support of the decision, as well.
Sayer Johnson, Executive Director of Metro Trans Umbrella Group in St. Louis, reminds us that the first pride parade was a defiant march against oppression. “Our oppressors were the police. Since Compton and Stonewall, the police have continued to brutalize our community – especially our black and brown siblings. It is disrespectful of our trailblazers to march with our oppressors, especially since they are still actively oppressing and brutalizing us. We are grateful to be able to celebrate our liberation without the police looming over us. There is much work to be done to dismantle white supremacy transphobia and homophobia within the ranks of the police. Until then not having our oppressors in the parade is the right thing.”
Some St. Louis LGBTQIA police officers are asking that Pride St. Louis reconsider their decision.
This is a developing story.