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SF police, Pride Parade reach deal to allow limited number of officers to march in uniform

San Francisco policemen hold hands while walking during the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration on June 30, 2019, in San Francisco. I Photo by Arun Nevader, via Getty Images

San Francisco police officers, first responders and Mayor London Breed will march in San Francisco’s Pride Parade after a compromise agreement was reached with event organizers.

A limited number of officers in uniform will be allowed to march in the parade, which is scheduled to return on June 26 after two years of dormancy because of the pandemic. 

Recently, however, the event was embroiled in controversy when members of the San Francisco Police Department, along with LGBTQ+ members of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office and the San Francisco Fire Department, said they would not participate in the parade because of a prohibition on police officers marching in uniform.

Under the terms of the agreement, SFPD Command staff will be allowed to march in dress uniform without weapons and will be joined by fewer than 10 support officers who are armed. The largest contingent will be made up of officers who will march in polo shirts or casual attire showing their affiliation with the department.

“I am very pleased that the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance and San Francisco Pride have come to a resolution regarding the participation of uniformed officers in this year’s Pride Parade,” SFPD Chief Bill Scott said in a statement. “Our police officers will be part of a contingent of front-line public safety employees led by Mayor London Breed.”

Breed previously said she would not participate in the event in solidarity with law enforcement, but the mayor’s office confirmed her participation Thursday. Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who until recently worked for the police department, confirmed to The Standard that he will also participate in the parade.

“I appreciate how our LGBTQ police officers and public safety workers came together with the Pride Board to come up with a compromise,” Breed said in a statement. “The understanding and respect they showed each other is reflective of this year’s pride theme: love brings us together.”

State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, cheered the news of compromise in a statement Thursday.

“I’m grateful that Pride, the LGBT Pride Alliance, and the Mayor came together to broker this resolution,” Weiner said. “The LGBTQ community is under severe assault around the country —lives are literally at risk—and we all need to unify to fight back. I’m looking forward to an awesome Pride Month.”

Terms of the full agreement were not immediately available.

“They were trying to honor what we were asking of them and the things that they do to keep the event safe,” said Carolyn Wysinger, the board president of San Francisco Pride. “It’s really coming along and we’re excited to have a little bit of this burden lifted.”

The Pride Board, Pride Alliance, Human Rights Commission and Supervisor Matt Dorsey will form a new working group beginning this month through June 2023 to discuss policy to help support and recognize the LGBTQ+ community.

Check back for updates to this story.

Kevin Truong can be reached at