Several of the honorees of San Francisco Pride, including Black Lives Matter, withdrew on Friday from the “racial and economic justice” themed parade and festival this weekend in response to the increased policing measures put in place after the Orlando attack.
On Tuesday, SF Pride announced that this year’s events would have a “significant police presence” and that, for the first time in the celebration’s 46-year history, attendees at the festival would be required to pass through security screening. The decision was made in the wake of the mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed.
Many LGBT people of color expressed concern with that news, citing the historic targeting and harassment of communities of color by police.
“For us, celebrating Pride this year meant choosing between the threat of homophobic vigilante violence and the threat of police violence,” said a statement from Black Lives Matter, an organizational grand marshal; Janetta Johnson, a community grand marshal.
“I’m more afraid of police than terrorists,” Johnson, who is a black transgender woman, told the Guardian on Tuesday.
The ACLU of northern California also criticized the decision, writing in a blog post: “Cops in the clubs won’t make people feel safer. And SF Pride should not be an excuse to over-police the city’s most vulnerable communities.”