Aziz Al-Sa'afin: The not-so-inclusive Pride Parade

OPINION: For the first time in five years I will not attend the Auckland Pride Parade. 

The not-so-inclusive parade has made its stance heard about our police force - you are not welcome.

Over the weekend the board voted to ban police from marching in uniform. 

The board says, although there is goodwill towards the force, as an institution "they do not currently meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality required by our rainbow communities".

I say it's bollocks and PR speak gone rogue. 

It disappoints me that a board I once believed represented my views, has gone against them. 

The board says some people had expressed concern, but "some" is not all.  

They do not speak for me.

They do not speak for my friends. 

And, quite frankly, they do not speak for the entire LGBTQI community. 

As a journalist I have worked with members of the police. 

As a member of the LGBTQI community I have seen the positive change in and out of the force.

It has been so committed to changing perceptions and this decision to ban them is going to undo years of work. The force has come a long way. 

They should be supported, not pushed out. 

How can the board stand by a decision which, ironically, goes against everything they stand for? 

For decades we have fought for equality and the right to be included. Now we are ourselves inciting a gross use of power to leave out an entire community. 

What's worse is after the decision was made the force reached out to the board and asked what they could do better as an institution. 

They got no reply. 

So the police have now made the decision not to march.

And it's with a heavy heart that I make that same decision. 

Like many, my values and that of Auckland Pride are no longer aligned. 

We have come such a long way, and now we are taking such a giant step backwards. 

Aziz Al-Sa'afin is The AM Show's social media presenter.