A Florida police department received a barrage of criticism after rolling out a rainbow-colored cop car to celebrate Pride season.
Prior to the Miami Beach Pride Parade on April 10, the Miami Beach Police Department posted a picture of a Pride-themed squad car on their Instagram account.
The picture of the car, a white Ford Expedition painted in the colors of the Progress Pride flag, with the words “MIAMI BEACH POLICE” written in rainbow letters, prompted much debate on social media and in the comments section of the Instagram post.
Many commenters didn’t like the car, but for varying reasons.
Some of the comments took a more homophobic tone.
“This is where our tax money goes to???” one Instagram user wrote, followed by a slew of facepalm emojis.
“What a joke wow,” another user wrote.
Other criticism – primarily from those on the political Left or from the LGBTQ community itself – questioned whether the presence of police at Pride clashed with the intent of Pride, or the history of the LGBTQ movement and its historical relationship with police.
“The first pride was an anti-cop riot,” one user wrote, echoing ongoing debates being held in cities across the country about whether uniformed police officers should be present at an event that commemorates a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, and the resulting riots that were sparked because of that raid.
Other users questioned the police department’s attempt to ingratiate itself with the LGBTQ community at a time when Florida legislators appear intent on passing anti-LGBTQ legislation, beginning with the passage of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans discussions of LGBTQ identity in schools.
Already, state lawmakers are proposing measures for next year’s legislative session that would criminalize doctors who prescribe gender-affirming health care treatments to trans minors. And the Florida Department of Health has issued guidance discouraging transgender minors not only from obtaining gender-affirming care, but even from socially transitioning.
Against that backdrop, some Instagram users questioned the police department’s alleged support for the LGBTQ community and how that would stand up in cases where – if Florida lawmakers have their way – police might have to arrest parents who permit their transgender children to transition.
While no such law has passed in Florida yet, state welfare agencies in Texas are already actively investigating parents of trans children for “child abuse” based on a directive issued by Gov. Greg Abbott – even though the Texas Supreme Court later ruled that the governor had overstepped his authority.
“Cops are not our friends,” one commenter wrote. “Rainbow patrol cars while arresting gender-affirming parents for child abuse.”
Some users argued that the introduction of the Pride-themed squad car appears to be an empty, performative action on the part of Miami Beach’s police department, arguing that it would be hypocritical to promote LGBTQ rights while enforcing the state’s anti-LGBTQ laws.
“Actions speak multitudes louder then the pride flags,” wrote another commenter.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!