In protest against the handling of the eviction of Moms 4 Housing from their West Oakland home, seven members of San Francisco Pride push to ban the Alameda County Sheriff's Office from participating in this year's Pride parade.
As reported by the Chronicle, members of the LGBTQ cohort passed an amendment Wednesday to bar the East Bay sheriff’s office from marching in the 2020 San Francisco Pride celebration. This, too, comes alongside another recent exclusionary action taken by SF Pride, the banning of Google and sister company YouTube from the parade based on their less-than-inclusive practices — dating back to a dustup within the company that SFist covered last June.
Don't get too excited, there's an asterisk on this. But:— Tyler Breisacher 🏳️🌈 (@tbreisacher) January 16, 2020
The membership of SF Pride passed a resolution tonight, banning YouTube/Google/Alphabet from participation in San Francisco Pride.*
(TL;DR: The colossal tech cephalopod’s tentacles touch on the Conservative Political Action Conference, it's accused of not exercising the same vigilance against homophobic hate videos as other types of content, it has allegedly discriminated against queer influencers, and there are ties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.)
Though not for the same rationale, SF Pride's board believes that the Bay Area's current housing problem disproportionately affects "people of color, LGBTQ and youth," leading a handful of members to vote to ban the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
“I thought it was important to show solidarity with the Moms 4 Housing group... even as we were taking action on other important issues," says SF Pride member Laurence Berland speaking to the Chronicle Friday.
However, it's worth noting the East Bay law enforcement department isn't barred from participating in the queer festivities — just yet, that is. Fred Lopez, interim executive director for the San Francisco Pride, told the media outlet that no ban is in place, saying that Wednesday night’s vote represented the wishes of just seven of the Pride group’s 326 members.
“One small group raised concerns about the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office,” Lopez adds, helping clear any semblance of ambiguity. “As we get ready to celebrate our 50th parade, our goal remains the same as it was for our first — to be inclusive and reflect the diversity of our communities.”
One caveat? The resolution takes special note not to single out the deputies themselves; the amendment still allows for individual sheriffs to march as private citizens.
"[Alameda County Sheriff's deputies can participate in Pride] so long as they do not visibly identify as deputies of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office while doing so," the resolution dictates.
Bay Area law enforcement’s relationship with the LGBTQ community is anything but untarnished. San Francisco police infamously raided the gay club Tay-Bush Inn in 1961 where they arrested over a hundred people and cited them as “visitors to a disorderly house," per the Chronicle. The 70s Halloween celebrations along Polk Street — which were primarily queer-centric — were also rich with disservice, marked by dozens of arrests and even tear gas canisters being tossed into crowds.
Regardless, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office department hopes there's still an opportunity to foster a healthy relationship between their law enforcement and the queer communities they serve.
“The pride parade is about inclusivity, and a lot of members of our agency are part of the LGBTQ+ community,” Sergeant Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, told the Chronicle. “It’s important that the relationship between law enforcement and that community stays strong.”
This year’s SF Pride Parade will take place on June 28th, and this year's celebration will be the 50th anniversary one for San Francisco — SF's first pride in 1970 marked the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which took place in June 1969.
Image: Flickr via David Yu