GOAL’s Reaction to the Heritage of Pride’s Decision to Kick Cops Out Of Pride
New York, NY – May 14, 2021. The Gay Officers Action League (“GOAL”) is disheartened by the decision to ban our group from participating in New York City Pride. Heritage of Pride (NYC Pride) has long been a valued partner of our organization and its abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful.
GOAL and our members have had our hands in every police reform and policy revision touching on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City. As the result of our advocacy alongside our allies, NYPD revised its Patrol Guide in 2012 to include procedures specific to transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers. For nearly 30 years, GOAL has provided LGBTQIA+ training for every new NYPD recruit at the academy, educating future officers on the unique challenges facing our community. We also serve as victim advocates for those in our community that have needed to navigate the criminal justice system. These are just a few of the countless initiatives that GOAL has undertaken to change the culture of law enforcement. We are doing the work that leads to progress.
GOAL’s efforts extend beyond New York. We have facilitated LGBTQIA+ sensitivity and awareness training for criminal justice agencies throughout the region and internationally. Our efforts have served as a model for police departments pursuing their own LGBTQIA+ programs. There are many partners for change throughout law enforcement. For them to succeed, they need to be supported by leading LGBTQIA+ groups, not excommunicated by them.
“Heritage of Pride is well aware that the city would not allow a large scale event to occur without police presence. So their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots,” says GOAL President Brian Downey. He continues: “It is demoralizing that Heritage of Pride didn’t have the courage to refer to GOAL by name in its announcement, referring to us only as ‘Law Enforcement Exhibitors.’ The label is not only offensive but dehumanizing for our members.”
Over the course of our nearly 40 years of existence, GOAL has worked feverishly to build a bridge between the LGBTQIA+ and criminal justice communities. Despite Heritage of Pride’s decision, our work will continue.
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