With Madison’s Pride Parade in its final stages of planning and set for Aug. 19, the OutReach LGBT Community Center recently uninvited Madison Police Department from the event.
According to a letter OutReach posted on Facebook Aug. 10, MPD was asked not to attend to better hear the voices of marginalized groups, particularly queer and transgender people of color.
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In the letter, OutReach board president Michael Ruiz rescinded the invitations to MPD, the University of Wisconsin Police Department and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
“Our community is facing complex, unprecedented times, where power is a fleeting commodity for our most vulnerable members,” the letter said. “In times like these it is crucial to listen to those whose voices are not often heard in the mainstream.”
OutReach still encouraged unarmed, off-duty, plain-clothes officers to attend the rally in support of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, MPD will still provide security for the parade as the City of Madison Parade Permit requires.
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MPD has been working to improve their relationship with the LGTBQ+ community, including their recent training with leaders of the transgender community to “provide training to the nearly 600 employees of the Madison Police Department,” MPD Chief Mike Koval said in a statement about the decision on his blog.
“We are disappointed in the recent decision by Outreach to rescind our participation in the Pride parade, but we respect the decision and understand and acknowledge the complex issues at hand,” the statement said.
Madison’s pride parade will take place on Aug. 19. in the downtown area.