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Uniformed Police Are No Longer Welcome At Calgary Pride

No more police uniforms, weapons, vehicles, or floats at Calgary Pride.

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Calgary Pride says it doesn't want uniformed cops to take part in this year's festivities, becoming the latest Canadian city to limit police presence at pride.

Instagram: @calgarypride

According to a statement from Calgary Pride, law enforcement members who want to participate will have to do so without uniforms, weapons, vehicles, "or any forms of institutional representation." That includes police floats in the parade, and applies to Calgary Police as well as RCMP and corrections officers.

"We acknowledge the historical oppression and institutionalized racism faced by queer/trans people of colour and Indigenous persons, and the potentially negative association with weapons, uniforms, and other symbols of law enforcement," the organization said.

Police will still provide security for the Calgary Pride Festival, which runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4.

The Calgary Coalition of Two-Spirit & Racialized LGBTQIA+ and their Chosen Allies, also known as Voices, said in a statement that excluding uniformed police was a collaborative decision that came about after discussions between Voices, Calgary Pride, and Calgary police. That means it's not a ban since all three groups agreed to the measures, Voices said.

Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin told the Calgary Herald the force was "obviously disappointed" by the decision, but said it would not undo "decades of progress between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in Calgary.”

“We have a far better relationship with the LGBTQ community now than we did even 10 years ago and we want to keep that forward momentum," he said.

Calgary joins a number of other Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Halifax, in limiting institutional police participation during pride.

Instagram: @calgarypride

In 2016, Black Lives Matter Toronto staged a sit-in during the pride parade and demanded the removal of police floats and more resources for people of colour, which the group said had been neglected.

BLM's demands — which were accepted by Pride Toronto leadership and later endorsed in a vote by Pride Toronto’s membership — set off a wider debate across Canada about police presence at pride.

Calgary Pride says it's open to having an institutional police presence at future pride activities, but is calling on the police force to commit to diversity training for its senior leadership before that happens.

"We believe [Calgary Police Service] Senior Executive team’s engagement in formal Diversity and Inclusion training will demonstrate their commitment to allyship and creating a cultural shift in law enforcement agencies’ approach to diversity and inclusion, within a top-down approach," the organization said.

BuzzFeed Canada reached out to the Calgary Police Association for comment.

UPDATE

This article has been updated with additional information about Voices and how the decision was reached.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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