ST. LOUIS — Another St. Louis organization has announced they will not march in the St. Louis Pride Parade and will join Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) in an alternative Pride march.
Ethical Society of St. Louis, a Humanist congregation, announced Wednesday that they would reduce their participation in Pride festivities, only manning a table at the PrideFest. They will not march in the Pride Parade.
MTUG said on Facebook and St. Louis Public Radio that they would not march in the St. Louis Pride Parade after the parade organizers reversed a decision saying police could march in the parade only if they didn’t do it in uniform. MTUG had been announced as the grand marshals of the Parade. After parade organizers said that police would march in uniform, MTUG withdrew from the Parade.
The Ethical Society said in a blog post that they were also withdrawing from the Parade in solidarity with MTUG. The Society listed serveral incidents that have lead to a loss of trust between parts of the LGBTQ community and police:
- The fatal shooting, and subsequent misgendering, of black transgender woman Kiwi Herring by STLMPD in 2017, under contested circumstances
- The recent revelations regarding the social media posts of a number of STLMPD officers, which display deep racism and contempt for protesters, as well as a desire to inflict violence on citizens
- The arrest by police of two LGBTQ activists at Pridefest last year, despite the protestations of the LGBTQIA+ community
- The breaking of an agreement by police not to march in last year’s parade (uniformed officers took the head of the parade without the permission of the Pride Board and against their explicit commitment not to march at the community’s request)
- The repeated unprofessional behavior of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which has become increasingly political and partisan, targeting citizens and politicians in an extremely personal and aggressive manner on their social media platforms
- The ongoing tension between LGBTQIA+ people of color and the STLMPD, which erupted after the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, but which has been festering for a long time
Instead, both organizations will be marching in the Trans & Gender Free Pride March on Friday, June 28.
An alternative to the downtown parade, the Free Pride March will be start at the corner of Arsenal and Oregon near the MTUG offices and end at Benton Park. It starts at 5:30 p.m. this Friday.
From the Free Pride March event:
After a half century of trans and gender-brilliant folks leading the way, it is beyond time to celebrate our contributions with a Friday night Pride kick-off march. Mark your calendars and prepare your signs to celebrate our Trans, Non-Binary and Gender defying family locally. This is an event planned for Trans & GNC folks BY Trans & GNC folks, with Black and POC fam to the front! Allies welcome.
Join us at the corner of Oregon & Arsenal (one block from MTUG HQ) at 5:30p. We will leave at 6p to march down Arsenal to Benton Park. The March (no cars, walking/scootering, biking only, and other mobility devices are welcome of course!) will be followed by a short program featuring local Trans & Queer community members.
The March is being hosted by the ACLU of Missouri, MTUG and Flower Boi Support.