ST. LOUIS — A Pride St. Louis board member who resigned after the parade has said that the city threatened to withhold permits unless the decision on barring uniformed police from marching was reversed.
Jolene Gosha announced her resignation in a Facebook post on Sunday. In the resignation she said the city threatened to pull the parade and festival permits and that the parade organizers and been the target of harassment from a police officer who marched in the parade.
Gosha also apologized to the transgender community for failing to keep the promise that was made to them.
Pride St. Louis had announced on June 10 that police would be welcome to march only if they did not wear uniforms or come armed to the parade. One week later, after a week of controversy, the group reversed the decision, saying that St. Louis police would be welcome to march in uniform.
Transgender organization Metro Trans Umbrella Group, which had been selected as the parade’s grand marshal and told that police wouldn’t be wearing uniforms, withdrew as grand marshal and from the parade in response. The Ethical Humanist Society of St. Louis followed in support of MTUG.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson denied the accusation in a phone interview with the Riverfront Times.
“I wouldn’t do it,” Krewson told the newspaper in a phone interview. “I didn’t do it.”
The mayor read the text she sent to the parade organizers to the Times:
“Is there any possibility you will reverse your decision and allow police uniforms in the parade? We’re being bombarded by calls for an executive order, investigations into sponsors and to support our police. This decision is proving very divisive. I hope you will reconsider.”
Gosha said in a Facebook post sharing the Riverfront Times article, saying the text that she read was much different from what was read at the PSL board meeting.
We have reached out to Pride St. Louis and MTUG for comment.