How is it that an event that’s all about inclusion has rules about who can and can’t attend?
SACRAMENTO, Cali. – They say love is love, but apparently uniformed police don’t fall into that arena…
Police officers in Sacramento are welcome to take place in LGBT PRIDE events…. as long as they aren’t wearing their uniforms.
You read right. The inclusive event singled out members of law enforcement and told them they couldn’t show up to PRIDE events if they were wearing their uniforms. Those who have been brave enough to come out about their sexuality now faced exclusion from the very people they thought supported them no matter what.
The LGBTQ community in California holds an annual PRIDE parade in which thousands of people march through the streets. But officers were told they can’t march if they look like they’re on patrol.
“It was.. it was shocking,” said Officer Jeff Kuhlmann. Fox 40 reported that because of a photo in Time magazine, Kuhlmann became a national symbol of the Supreme Court’s support for marriage equality back in 2015.
But now his own community is discriminating against him.
“It happened because of certain people in the community being uncomfortable with seeing uniformed police officers at the PRIDE event,” he said.
David Heitstuman of the Sacramento LGBT Center said that because of the initial movement, tensions between the police and the community are still tough.
“The foundation of PRIDE 50 years ago was the original Stonewall riots which was an uprising against police brutality,” said Heitstuman. “Not everyone feels safe in the presence of uniforms.”
Last Wednesday, officers from the Sacramento Police Department and members of the LGBT Center met to try and work out the issue, but after the meeting, it was hard to gauge what really got accomplished.
“I thought we had a really productive meeting with the chief and with the officers,” said Heitsuman.
But officers felt differently.
“I think all of us walked away from that meeting feeling disappointed,” said Kuhlmann. The officers have been asked to not participate in uniform in 2018, following the controversy with the Stephon Clark shooting. But SPD officers wanted to get back involved this year in an attempt to patch up the relationship between police and the public.
But even if they showed up in polos and weren’t showing any major signs of their career choice, their presence might still be protested, said members of the LGBTQ community.
“Police cannot peacock as allies for one day a year and not expect to be held accountable for their actions the rest of the time,” said one member of the community.
Sacramento police issued the following statement in regards to the PRIDE events.
Our police department is disappointed that the LGBT Center does not want our officers attending upcoming public community events while in uniform. We support our LGBTQ officers who proudly serve our community on a daily basis. They have worked hard to earn these uniforms and are proud to wear them.
A final decision is set to be announced concerning next weekend’s events.
“The uniform is who we are. I worked hard to be on this job, and I worked hard to be open and out on this police department,” said Kuhlmann.