Gay New Rochelle detective speaks out against NYC Pride March's decision to ban officers in uniform
A gay police detective in New Rochelle is speaking out against the organizers of the New York City Pride March for their decision to ban officers in uniform from the event.
Melissa Diniz serves as a youth police detective in New Rochelle, protecting the community where she grew up. She says her focus is preventing juvenile crime and she spends a lot of time interacting with young people and their families.
“It can be challenging, but it means a lot to me to be able to help the ones who are a little bit more of a challenge,” she says.
The 11-year veteran also serves as her department’s LGBTQ+ liaison, a position she says she help create.
Diniz conducts workshops to help fellow officers better understand the gay community.
"We talk about orientation and the right words to use, and basically I teach what matters police-wise and what doesn't matter,” she says.
Diniz says her department has been open and accepting to who she is and her ideas, but she now finds exclusion from some members of her own community.
In May, Pride March organizers announced they would no longer allow police officers to host exhibitions or participate in the event while in uniform.
In a statement last month, organizers say the decision is partly based on some members of the LGBTQ+ community's discomfort and even fear of police in uniform, saying they're "unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community."
“The inclusion of one group of people makes the other group of people feel excluded. So you're just going to choose which group to exclude, which in my mind just really doesn't it doesn't make sense. That's not the solution,” Diniz says. "You're taking people who are making change, affecting change, educating cops, you know, and you're saying that we can't do something because we're cops…you're saying that I can march, but not in uniform. I'm still a cop, not in uniform. "
Diniz says she actually felt more supported by her brothers and sisters in blue than from her gay friends when she decided to speak out.
"All the things that I've done in my past make me who I am. And being a cop also contributes to who I am,” she says. “I'll never not be proud to be a cop."
Diniz says she has no plans to take part in this year's parade or any pride events in the city.