Police Not Allowed to Participate in Denver PrideFest

Above Photo: By Evan Semón.

NOTE: Organizers in New York City have also banned police from participating in the Pride Parade until 2025 writing: “The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason. NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community.”

Denver — The Center on Colax confirmed Tuesday police will not be allowed to participate in the 2021 Denver PrideFest parade or as exhibitors.

The Center, who hosts PrideFest, released the following statement regarding their decision:

“The Center was founded 45 years ago in response to police violence and harassment of the LGBTQ community. The entire history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement is rooted in a history of opposing police harassment and violence aimed at our community. There are numerous examples of police violence going back beyond the famous Stonewall Riots of 1969. For all these decades, The Center has worked to address these issues and improve the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the police and we have made great strides. However we cannot in good conscience, as an organization that speaks up for justice, look the other way when it comes to police violence aimed at the Black community—a history of violence that goes back even further in American history. While we value our relationships with law enforcement and want to continue to build a safer community for all Coloradans, we feel we must take a stand. We have decided to not allow police participation in the 2021 virtual pride parade or to allow law enforcement agencies to participate as exhibitors. We hope to facilitate future conversations about how we can reform policing in our community that will involve all members of our community and support new and just ways of keeping our communities safe.”

Denver7 has reached out to DPD for an official response. The department does indeed have a history of supporting the LGBTQ community. In 2017 DPD launched the Proud in Denver campaign, partnering with businesses to provide safe places for the LGBTQ community.

Denver police officers have also historically marched in previous parades.

After moving to a virtual celebration in 2020 due to the pandemic, Denver PrideFest announced last month that 2021 would be a hybrid event with both virtual and in-person activities.

This year’s PrideFest will take place June 26-27 and include an in-person and virtual 5K race, a virtual parade presented by Denver7, a virtual marketplace and in-person “Pride hubs” across the city where people will be able to celebrate together.