MEMBERS of the South Australian police force will march in uniform at Adelaide’s upcoming annual Pride March for the very first time.
This will follow similar historic events this year that saw the police take part in Brisbane Pride March and more recently in the TasPride Parade.
“It shows that the police have evolved to be there for all Australians and it sends a really powerful message to those who are still struggling with their sexuality that it’s okay, that we’re equal,” he told the Star Observer.
Kuhlmann added that a few factors might have contributed to the police’s decision to take part in the march for the first time.
“I think the whole marriage equality debate has pushed queer rights to the forefront of the media and society in general,” he said.
“In our case it’s also because we have a new police commissioner who doesn’t have a problem with police marching in uniform, whereas the previous one did.”
South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens was behind the decision to allow police members to march in uniform.
“South Australia Police is a proudly diverse work group and we serve an equally diverse community… it is important that we recognise this diversity by demonstrating our core values not only to the community, but out own workforce,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Linda Fellows will be among the members marching, alongside Senior Constable First Class Russell Disher.
Over in Perth, the Western Australia Police Pipe Band is also slated to march in this year’s WA Pride Parade as part of PrideFEST.
Earlier this month, members of the Tasmanian Police marched in the TasPride Parade for the first time.
TasPride president Rebecca Dorgelo said the day was significant in helping Hobart’s LGBTI community feel supported by the local police.
“It was pretty amazing, everyone was feeling very proud and supported, and a little bit overwhelmed,” she told the Star Observer.
“There are a lot of people who have been waiting a long time for that gesture.
“We’re hoping it will become an annual thing, but obviously it depends on the March organisers… the police certainly seemed happy and excited to be there.”
Adelaide’s Pride March, which is part of the city’s Feast Festival, is on this weekend on Saturday, November 14 at 6.30pm.
Perth’s WA Pride Parade will take place a week later on Saturday, November 21.