INDIANAPOLIS — Indy Pride is getting ready for this year's celebration in June, which is also Pride Month. However, the organization is facing some backlash after posting and then removing a picture from their Facebook page.
The photo included a man wearing a shirt that prominently displayed Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. After removing it, Indy Pride apologized saying in part "this photo hurt members of our community that are actively fighting against police brutality."
Now, they're receiving backlash from those who were against and were okay with the picture. There's a long history between the LGBTQ+ community and law enforcement. Now, when most people think of Pride, what comes to mind is happy people from all backgrounds marching proudly through the streets. However, the origin of Pride can be traced back to 1969 in New York City to the Stonewall Riots where gay and trans people fought back against police harassment.
"This barrier between this institution [law enforcement] and this population [LGBTQ+ community] of people has been happening since the 60s," Tanner Alexander, Indy Pride President, said. Last Summer, the organization made the decision to cut ties with IMPD after video of the rough arrests of two women during downtown protests began circulating online.
"What we saw last year, specifically, seeing some of the harassment and violence that took place in protests here in Indianapolis, specifically against the BIPOC community and trans community, that in of itself was a reason to a draw a line in the sand," Alexander added.
Joseph Blevins, however, is speaking out against Indy Pride and their decision to remove the picture. In an email to WRTV, along with posts on his social media, he said he's the person in the picture wearing the shirt that caused them to remove the picture. He and others are concerned that Indy Pride is excluding parts of the LGBTQ+ community
Alexander, however, wants to be clear: Officers who want to be involved with pride are welcome, but only out of uniform.
"We never said officers aren't welcome at our events, all we asked is that officers who want to attend and are a member of the community, or not a member of the community, don't wear uniforms to our events. That uniform means something different to different members and segments of our community."
WRTV has reached out to IMPD but has not received a response.
This year, the majority of Indy Pride's events during the month of June will remain virtual including Pride Festival.