Rantz: Delta Airlines Sponsors Seattle LGBT Pride Event Banning Police
June is LGBT Pride Month and two of Seattle’s biggest festivities prohibit cops from attending or patrolling. In one case, Delta Airlines supports an event with a conflicting view of the police.
PrideFest and Capitol Hill Pride are asking cops to stay away, but for somewhat different reasons. Despite the thousands of people expected for both events, officers are not welcome at the site unless there is an active emergency. The cops are, apparently, too triggering for the LGBT participants — or at least for the leaders of both groups.
Beyond the obvious public safety issues this decision could pose, it sends a clear message to gay officers: stay in the closet as cops. So why is Delta effectively sponsoring this message?
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PrideFest says no to the police
PrideFest, presented by Delta Airlines, orchestrates the festivities at the Seattle Center following the downtown Seattle Pride Parade.
Its executive director, former City Council candidate Egan Orion, confirms to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that they’ve asked police to “limit their direct engagement with festival-goers on the festival grounds to the emergency room.”
“PrideFest serves historically over-policed LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities,” Orion explained in an email to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Pride actually emerged from the Stonewall Riots in New York City in late June 1969 and was a response to the vicious and relentless harassment and violence of the police. We have come a long way since 1969, but many members of our community feel even less safe with a police presence, based on their own lived experience. We take the safety of everyone who attends our events very seriously.”
Message to gay cops: keep a part of you in the closet
Orion says he would prefer gay officers not in uniform.
“On LGBTQIA+ officers showing up in uniform at the event but not on duty, I don’t really understand why anyone would do that,” he explained.
It is a strange statement.
It is not uncommon for LGBT employees to attend or march in the Seattle Pride Parade in uniform or wearing apparel with their company name or logo. This has been a common occurrence for at least a decade. Indeed, the SPD and the King County Sheriff’s Office have historically walked the parade route — while in uniform.
“We welcome all LGBTQIA+ people and allies to our events, but while we ask the police to stay on the periphery except in an emergency, we obviously do not encourage LGBTQIA+ officers to attend the event in uniform. Diversity within the ranks of the police department is incredibly important to creating a new generation of officers who can better serve diverse communities, but applauding that diversity in this workplace and showing up to PrideFest in uniform are two very different things. We also encourage more diversity in construction trades, but we don’t understand why someone who isn’t working would want to show up in their construction uniform,” says Orion.
An easy way to show that LGBT people are represented in the SPD — so that it “looks like the community it serves,” as progressives often demand — is to show up in uniform. Just like gay men had to keep their sexual orientation a secret, PrideFest wants you to keep certain jobs secret.
Delta takes a loose approach
What does presenting sponsor Delta think of this anti-police stance?
Like many companies, Delta is using june to highlight his alleged support for the LGBT community to earn social currency. Online, the airline shares videos of pilots – in uniform, even! – talk about what Pride means to them. He even celebrates a recent travel award for being inclusive.
It’s possible — if not probable — that Delta has no idea that PrideFest is institutionally taking an adversarial view of policing. Sponsorship of these events are just public relations games.
Delta did not respond to a request for comment.
Capitol Hill Pride is an anti-police activist group
Capitol Hill Pride organizers are more outspoken about their distrust of the police, calling them “intimidating.”
“If you ask us if we feel comfortable with uniformed police at our event – in a nutshell, no,” co-organizer Charlette LeFevre explained to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
They’re not just uncomfortable with the police. Organizers LeFevre and Philip Lipson are proud to join other anti-police LGBT event organizers in “banning” the cops.
“Seattle’s Capitol Hill Pride maintains its ban on Seattle police participation consistent with this year’s New York Pride and Denver Pride police ban for the 2022 march and rally. We are pleased to learn that San Francisco Pride 2022 – which hosts the largest LGBTQ rally in the country is also limiting police attendance,” LeFevre and Lipson said in a statement.
Capitol Hill Pride cannot actually prohibit officers from attending or patrolling because the event is held on city streets and on Seattle parks property. Nevertheless, the agents will remain on the perimeter if necessary.
State Sen. Jamie Pederson (D-Seattle) is one of the featured speakers at the event thanks, in part, to sponsorship and support of the ‘police reimaging’ bills that have led to a surge of crime across the state. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Seattle Pride takes a different approach
It is perhaps ironic that Seattle Pride, which is responsible for organizing the pride parade in downtown Seattle, does not avoid the officers. While the leaders of this organization are considerably more partisan than Orion, and more in tune with LeFevre and Lipson, he decided to continue discussions with the police while welcoming their participation.
“This year, all city departments – including the SPD – can participate as contingents in the parade,” an organizer told MyNorthwest.com.
The organization noted that it “contracts with on-site private security for its events” but works with the SPD “for additional security services as required by the city for large licensed events.”
“Currently, the Seattle Pride Board of Directors is continuing discussions with the SPD regarding the relationship between law enforcement and Seattle’s LGBTQIA+ community, as well as the role of the police during Seattle Pride events at the ‘future,’ the statement continued.
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What if the police didn’t even show up?
Although shunned at PrideFest and Capitol Hill Pride, officers will always put their own safety on the line to protect the people who hate them, in the event of an emergency. Hopefully officers won’t be needed.
But what if they don’t show up when they’re needed?
The organizers are trying to have it both ways: they want to signal their hatred of the cops while using them when they desperately need help. PrideFest and Capitol Hill Pride recognize that the police are welcome during public safety emergencies.
But if the cops aren’t good enough to attend events, with LGBT activists demanding tolerance while pushing gay officers into the closet, why are they good enough to respond to emergencies?
Listen to The Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.