Berkeley Police and the “Pinkwashing” of Lethal Transphobia

Solidarity to comrades in Washington D.C. who called out policing as the racist, transphobic, toxic institution that it is.  #NoJusticeNoPride

At first blush, it seems like a wonderful step forward. In a June 1st memo, Berkeley police were being encouraged by their chief to take a stand for LGBTQ rights. According to the memo from Chief Greenwood, BPD was going to display a Pride flag in the lobby of the Public Safety building, encourage sworn officers to wear Pride lapel pins, and the BPD would be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade, in uniform, right behind the SFPD contingent.

This all seems so marvelous and progressive! Who could criticize such a robust display of support? However, when asked questions to find the substance behind this, the show of support becomes, well… just a show.
At the June 14th Police Review Commission meeting, the chief was asked whether officers were being paid to attend the event in uniform or not. The chief replied, “I don’t know”. (Doesn’t know or doesn’t want to say?) The chief was also asked whether this display represented any new trainings or professional development for officers – that is, whether this display of supposed support would translate into any tangible benefits for Berkeley’s LGBTQ communities. He said “no”.

One can only wonder whether this display of “support” is being done in an effort to pinkwash the department’s reputation before the start of the trial of BPD officers in the in-custody death of Kayla Moore which is scheduled to begin in October. Kayla Moore was an African American, transgender woman who was killed in her own home by BPD officers on February 13th 2013.

The crimes against Kayla were appalling and activists are convinced that the gross disregard for her life and her rights was due, in part, to the transphobia of officers who referred to Kayla using a transphobic slur as she lay dying after being abused by BPD officers. Her pleas for help were ignored as officers turned a plea for assistance from a friend of Kayla’s into a death sentence.

Join the Justice 4 Kayla Moore Coalition this Friday at the SF Trans March, where we’ll be lifting up our pride in trans resistance and true community support and safety – NOT pride in the police departments that criminalize, traumatize and destroy the lives of so many trans people of color. Check out and share our contingent event page on Facebook!

***And don’t forget to visit the OFFICIAL TRANS MARCH event page as well, and read the GUIDELINES for attendees, especially allies!***


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