EPS, RCMP officers in Edmonton Pride parade to appear in civilian clothing
In an effort to ensure marginalized people within the LGBTQ2S+ community feel more comfortable, area police organizations will march in the Edmonton Pride parade in civilian clothing, not in uniform.
In a statement posted on Twitter Monday, the Edmonton Pride Festival Society (EPFS) said organizers reached out to members of the QTIBPOC (Queer and Trans Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) community to consult, after the Toronto Pride parade was brought to a halt by marginalized groups in 2016.
EPFS said pride organizations in other communities did the same – and many found police organizations had been seen to make marginalized people feel unsafe, police appearing in parades were asked to not be involved in Pride celebrations.
In Edmonton in 2017, EPFS restricted police vehicles, lights and sirens in the pride parade.
After a consultation, Edmonton police came up with a plan to use their entry in the pride parade to launch a program called “Beyond the Badge”, in an effort to show police in uniform as individuals who are members of and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“The EPS is a vibrant community in itself, made up of over 2,500 diverse and unique folks, and ‘Full Spectrum Pride’ is a perfect occasion to highlight those individuals ‘Beyond the Badge’,” Supt. Brad Doucette with EPS said in a statement.
Parade organizers said the EPS decided to march in civilian clothing, and EPFS organizers invited RCMP to do the same.
“Out of support for those who feel marginalized, the Alberta RCMP has decided to attend this year’s pride parade out of uniform,” Staff Sgt. Jeremie Landry with RCMP said in a statement. “Participants will be wearing RCMP Pride t-shirts, as proud employees of the RCMP, in support of the LGBTQ2S+ community.”
The pride parade will take place along Whyte Avenue and 104 Street on June 9, 2018.