County Executive Dow Constantine inadvertently started a Facebook war on Tuesday after he (or whoever runs his social media) posted this:
It's a pretty innocuous post (a new task force! In King County! What a shock.), but, soon enough, a self-proclaimed "internet activist" commented on Constantine's post: "Step one: keep cops out of Pride. It's not for them, queer or not."
Nothing says "Pride" like queer in-fighting, and the thread quickly devolved into name-calling, link-posting, and the REPEATED reminder that "the first Pride was a riot," which has become such a popular slogan in queer circles that I imagine Bank of America plans to put it on their annual Pride t-shirt this year. Still, while I'm not sure Dow Constantine's Facebook is the appropriate forum to have this conversation, the self-proclaimed "internet activist" did bring up a frequently debated question this time of year: Do cops belong at Pride?
I, for one, would rather go to a loved one's funeral than another goddamn rainbow parade (cops or no cops), but I can see both sides of the argument. Team ACAB says that cops are symbols of the state and queer people have historically been oppressed by the state, therefore cops do not belong at Pride. Buuuut, on the other hand, cops are theoretically there to protect the public from, say, homophobic attacks. On Constantine's post, the self-proclaimed internet activist argued that queer communities can police themselves, but c'mon. We live in America. No major (or even minor) city would issue a festival permit without cops on sight for security. That is just not going to happen.
As for whether or not the queer police should be invited to march in the parade, frankly, I don't know, and even if I did, I don't feel like getting yelled at on the internet today, so, I turned to my colleagues and asked them instead.
"The people who say that cops don't belong at Pride have no idea what it's like to live through gay bashings," said one gen x homosexual on staff. "If cops were there, Matthew Shepard might not have been murdered and Brandon Teena might not have been murdered. Young queer people should know that cops are on their side and are not the enemy."
Our resident millennial queer had a slightly different take: "I think they're necessary as long as we have corporate Pride," he said. "I'm all for a cop-less Pride but I think that can only happen at a Pride in the woods without corporate sponsors. You can't have Bacardi giving out free merch and not have cops."
When I asked if SPD will be participating in the parade, Seattle Pride says that they "typically march as a part of the City of Seattle contingent," and will, as far as Pride knows, be doing the same this year. SPD did not immediately respond to request for comment, but what do you think? Do cops belong at Pride? Let us know in the comments (or keep shouting on Dow Constantine's Facebook page).