'Trans & Gender-Free Pride March' Friday Offers 'Police-Free' Alternative

Jun 27, 2019 at 10:59 am
click to enlarge Revelers enjoy Pride St. Louis' 2018 parade. - THEO WELLING
Revelers enjoy Pride St. Louis' 2018 parade.
The trans community may have pulled out of its role as grand marshal of the Pride St. Louis parade, but it will still be taking to the streets this weekend: A "Trans & Gender-Free Pride March" will take place near Benton Park tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. And this march is proudly "police-free."

The march — which says it's the first ever of its type in St. Louis — lists as its sponsors the ACLU of Missouri, Flower Boi Support and the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. The final of those groups, also known as MTUG, had issued a statement yesterday saying that it would no longer participate in the Pride St. Louis parade.

Originally, Pride St. Louis organizers had announced that uniformed police officers would no longer be welcome to march in the parade, citing the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the concerns of the trans community. Facing fierce pushback, the group reversed course last week.

The march tomorrow, June 28, presents an alternative. In the words of organizers,
Join the first ever (police-free) St. Louis Trans & Gender Free Pride March to help honor the anniversary of #Stonewall50! While headlines may show that disproportionate members of our community are being murdered, there are also many of us fighting for our freedom and safety while we are still alive.

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.
Organizers in the trans community have also announced a "trans hangout" this Sunday at MTUG headquarters: "For those of us who are not interested in going to downtown pride but wish to be in community, come to HQ. Super low key. Video-games, board games, chatting, friends, and community."

MTUG isn't the only group pulling out of this year's Pride St. Louis event. The Ethical Society of St. Louis issued a statement yesterday saying the inclusion of uniformed officers had also doomed its participation.

It cited the actions of officers in the department, as well as the utterances of its bombastic police union, saying, "This is not, then, a problem of a 'few bad apples' poisoning the reputation of an otherwise fine police force. Rather, it is indicative of a deeply broken culture of policing, in which the police see portions of the community – including members of the LGBTQIA+ community – as an enemy to be violently subdued rather than citizens to be served. This is entirely incompatible with the core values of the Ethical Society."

For more details on the trans march tomorrow, see its Facebook page.

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