Police at Pride
Since 2014, OutReach LGBT Community Center has proudly organized and hosted
Madison’s OutReach Pride Parade and Rally. We take great pride in ensuring that the community and public have an event that centers on the LGBTQ+ community and
allies and amplifies their voices and visibility in such a public way.
Last year we became aware of concerns about the inclusion of the Madison Police Department (MPD) in Pride. Recent posts on OutReach’s Facebook page again
expressed those concerns, and in poor judgment, we removed the posts and made the decision to prevent further discussion on the page. Our intent was to route those discussions to the upcoming MPD listening session, which OutReach requested. We sincerely apologize and acknowledge that we should have found a more transparent and thoughtful way to redirect this conversation.
OutReach takes these concerns seriously. This issue affects our entire community.
First, we would like to be transparent about the two ways the MPD intersects with our event:
1) Our City of Madison Parade Permit requires OutReach to hire uniformed
Madison Police Department officers to serve as security for the event.
2) The MPD’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), MPD Pride, has a marching
contingency in the parade, alongside many other ERG’s, companies, and
Since we first became aware of concerns last year, we have engaged many community
members through listening sessions and group meetings. Based on that feedback, we directed the MPD Pride ERG contingent to wear plain clothes and not include a squad car.
OutReach will continue to focus on our mission to promote the equality and quality of life for all LGBTQ+ people.
The Madison Police Department’s MPD Pride ERG is holding a public listening
session on Monday, August 13, from 6p – 730p at Madison Central Library, Room 301. All are encouraged to attend and express your concerns. More information on the session is available here: http://ourlivesmadison.com/event/madison-police-departments-mpd-pride-listening-session
OutReach Board President, on behalf of the OutReach Board of Directors