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Pride Parade 2018

St. Louis police officers Tim Simms and Cedric Hendrix stand aside as the St. Louis Balloon Brigade marches down Market Street last June 24 during the PrideFest parade downtown.

Updated at 5:52 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — Police will be allowed to march in uniform in the June 30 Pride parade, parade officials and Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Tuesday.

Pride St. Louis Inc. previously had asked police to not take part in this year’s annual gay-rights parade downtown, citing sensitivities surrounding the 50-year anniversary of the New York police raid on the Stonewall Inn bar that helped spur the gay-rights movement.

But on Tuesday, Jordan Braxton, a Pride St. Louis official, said the group concluded after “lengthy discussions and debate and also listening to our community, that we will welcome LGBTQIA police and allies to walk in uniform.” 

LGBTQIA is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual.  

Braxton, the group’s director of diversity and inclusion, said “many people in our community still feel unsafe and targeted and marginalized by the systems that are here to protect us.”

However, Braxton said, the group ultimately decided that it is “committed to continue the conversation” and “it’s an opportunity for change.” Braxton said uniformed officers had taken part in the parades here for many years.

Krewson said she had been in ongoing conversations with Pride St. Louis since its original decision. 

“Exclusion of our police or, frankly, anyone is not in the spirit of our city,” she said.

Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards added that he’s elated that police “will have an opportunity to participate in uniform.”

The Pride St. Louis reversal was criticized by a transgender group, the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. The organization had been slated to be the grand marshals of this year’s parade.

“We’re reassessing our options and deciding what we as a community need and want to do in response,” said Sayer Johnson, Metro Trans’ executive director.

Johnson said “transexpansive” people have been “brutalized and criminalized” by police historically. Johnson added that the Metro Trans group had concerns in previous years as well about allowing uniformed police officers to join in the St. Louis parade. 

Another critic was Alderman Megan Green, D-15th Ward, who on Twitter called Pride St. Louis’ reversal “really sad and unfortunate.” She said that “once again the comfort of white cisgender folks is being centered over the most marginalized in our community.”

The term cisgender refers to people whose personal and gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. 

Concern over police involvement in gay pride parades also has come up in some other cities this year

The Sacramento Bee reported that about 100 members of a transgender group set up a human barricade to block several entrances to a pride festival in that California city on June 9 to protest a decision by event organizers to allow uniformed police to take part in the festival and parade.

PrideFest in St. Louis will be held June 29-30. The parade begins at noon on June 30. 

Man threatens parade 

An Overland man emailed a threat to the organization planning PrideFest that he would shoot and kill gay people at the Pride parade, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Edward A. Terry, 49, was charged Tuesday with making a terrorist threat.

Court documents say Terry created a fake email account and sent a message to one of PrideSTL's parade planners saying he would "come to pride fest with my guns to kill every gay person I can before I kill myself."

The PrideSTL manager notified the FBI of the email, and police tracked the account to Terry's cellphone number, charges say. Terry was recently kicked out of his Overland home in the 9500 block of Ridge Avenue but told police he created the email account while he was living there.

He told police he used the name of a woman he used to live with to create the email account, charges said.

Terry has a pending theft case in Creve Coeur, court records say.

Bail for Terry was set at $20,000, cash only. A jail photo of him was not immediately available.

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