ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — The Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) has decided not to participate in Sunday’s PrideFest parade. The group had been named Grand Marshal but changed its mind about being in the parade after a decision to allow uniformed police officers to march.
“We had a lot of community conversations and we really just came up with the decision, we cannot be complacent or contribute to our own oppression by marching with armed uniformed police officers,” said MTUG executive director Sayer Johnson.
Uniformed officers had initially not been allowed to march in the parade because the event would mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. On June 28, 1969, violent clashes broke out between protesters and police following raids on a Greenwich Village gay bar in New York. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a reversal of that decision last week.
“Continuing to include police in the parade helps to build trust, helps to build understanding, respect and helps to build inclusion,” said Krewson.
A spokesperson for Pride St. Louis spoke to News 4 about MTUG’s decision.
“Yes, I’m sad they pulled out as grand marshals but we’re still going to honor the trans community because they’re part of our community, our LGBTQI community here in St. Louis,” said Jordan Braxton.
Johnson said he hoped the attention the group was getting over the parade could be redirected to bring greater awareness to the discrimination that trans, gender-free and non-conformist individuals face while just trying to meet basic needs.
“Healthcare, being able to access quality affirming healthcare is a problem, is a barrier. 30 percent of us are living in some sort of poverty. Housing is a major issue, being able to get affirming, affordable housing,” said Johnson.
Coincidentally, the trans community had been planning an event of its own long before deciding to not participate in the parade. It’s being called “A Joyful March” and will be held Friday at 6:00 p.m., starting at the corner of Oregon and Arsenal, and marching to Benton Park.
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