Officials put extra focus on safety at Pride Month celebrations

Federal law enforcement officials say they're monitoring threats against the LGBTQ+ community as cities are holding major events for Pride Month.
Revelers carry a LTBGQ flag along Fifth Avenue during the New York City Pride Parade.
Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 02, 2023

According to GLAAD, more than 160 LGBTQ+ community events have been targeted in the last year with violence and threats. 

The figures are noteworthy given that many cities are holding large gatherings in the coming weeks to celebrate Pride Month. 

When asked about safety concerns at Pride Month events, the Department of Homeland Security referred Scripps News to the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin it issued last week. 

The report indicated that individuals or events associated with the LGBTQ+ community remain likely targets of potential violence. 

In response to concerns over safety of Pride Events, the FBI said it is “in regular communication with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners on any potential threats to their communities. We encourage members of the public to maintain awareness of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

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A 2022 report from GLAAD found that 54% of transgender and nonbinary people feel unsafe in their own communities. The same report indicated that 36% of all LGBTQ+ adults felt unsafe in their communities. 

But safety concerns are not stopping Pride Month events from taking place. In Columbus, Ohio, organizers say they’re expecting this year’s Pride march and festival to draw 700,000 people. 

“With such a large gathering, it is imperative that we take extra precautions to ensure a secure environment where everyone can embrace their identities, express their love, and celebrate without fear,” said Densil Porteous, Stonewall Columbus executive director. “Our community is a resilient community and in this moment we must be a united community not allowing fear or hatred to dampen our spirit and celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride. Together, we must stand strong, embracing our diversity, advocating for equality, and celebrating love in all its forms.”

New York City is expecting large crowds later this month for its Pride events. Organizers there recently updated their safety policies ahead of the June 25 events.

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NYC Pride said its personnel will be trained on active shooters and other threats. It also said volunteers will be “highly visible.” 

“NYC Pride updates its policies surrounding safety, wellness, accessibility, sustainability and more to reinforce and reassert our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of event goers and the greater community,” NYC Pride said. “These policies continue NYC Pride’s ongoing efforts to acknowledge and be accountable for public safety measures that have inflicted harm to transgender, womxn, black, indigenous and peoples of color that have engaged in NYC Pride events.”