Mayor Breed opts out of SF Pride parade over police uniform controversy

San Francisco Mayor London Breed waves to a cheering crowd atop a float during the San Francisco gay pride parade in San Francisco, California on June, 24, 2018. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images) (KTVU FOX 2)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she will not march in next month's Pride parade unless organizers relent and allow participating law enforcement officers to wear their uniforms.

The mayor's decision is a sign of the growing controversy surrounding one of the city's marquee public events. Earlier on Monday, the San Francisco Police Officers' Pride Alliance said its members would not participate in the annual celebration over the 2020 rule that bars cops, sheriff's deputies and firefighters from wearing their uniforms. 

"I love the Pride Parade, and what it means for our LGBTQ community and for our city. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. However, if the Pride Board does not reverse its decision, I will join our city public safety departments that are not participating in the Pride Parade," Breed said in a statement to KTVU. 

"Let’s be very clear about who we are talking about: brave women and men who not only have the courage to put on their uniforms and go out and risk their lives every day to serve our city, but who also have the courage to do so as openly out women and men in uniform," Breed said.

Parade organizers imposed the uniform ban in 2020 following a confrontation at the 2019 event when protesters decrying police and corporate involvement, blocked the parade.

The officers in the Pride Alliance said it felt like they were being forced into the closet if they could not dress in their uniforms. But parade organizers said that seeing officers in uniform can be uncomfortable for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have had negative interactions with law enforcement. 

Members of the police and sheriff's department may wear t-shirts with their department's logo, such as a t-shirt, but not their professional uniforms with a badge, according to Suzanne Ford, interim executive director of San Francisco Pride.

"We didn’t ask anyone to hide, or not to denote who they were," Ford,said. "We just did not want full uniforms, out of harm reduction to marginalized members of our community."

The parade is scheduled for June 26