LGBTQ Organizations Unite in Calling for Transformational Change in Policing

Black people have been killed, Black people are dying at the hands of police, our country is in crisis, and we all need to take action. We cannot sit on the sidelines, we cannot acquiesce, and we cannot assign responsibility to others. We, as leaders in the LGBTQ movement, must rise up and call for structural change, for divestment of police resources and reinvestment in communities, and for long-term transformational change. Now is the time to take action, and this letter amplifies our strong calls for urgent and immediate action to be taken.

Ongoing police brutality and systemic racism has plagued this nation for generations and has been captured on video and laid bare to the public in the United States and around the world. In 2019, more than 1,000 people were killed at the hands of the police. We mourn the unacceptable and untimely deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Stephon Clark, Freddie Gray, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mya Hall, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks and many more who were gone too soon.

We have seen with increased frequency the shocking video footage of police brutality. Officers have been recorded instigating violence, screaming obscenities, dragging individuals out of cars, using unnecessary force, holding individuals at gunpoint, and kneeling on peoples’ necks to the desperate plea of “I can’t breathe.” These occurrences are stark reminders of a police system that needs structural changes, deconstruction, and transformation. No one should fear for their lives when they are pulled over by the police. Parents should not have to “have a talk” about how to engage with the police to their children. We as a nation are bleeding, and it is now, once again, time to call for change at every level of government.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with more than 400 other civil rights organizations including LGBTQ organizations, outlined critical steps ranging from demilitarizing law enforcement to ending qualified immunity that must be taken at the federal level to end police brutality and create accountability. In response to the continued violence, Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), working closely with the Congressional Black Caucus and other leaders in Congress, introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 that reflects those core priorities which we support.

We also call for a divestment of public funding from police and a reinvestment in communities. Specifically, both the power and scope of police responsibilities should be significantly curtailed, by shifting certain responsibilities —such as mental health crisis response —from armed police officers to the professionals who are properly trained and better equipped to manage those responsibilities. True change must include the following principles.

  1. Divesting of Public Funding From Police and Investing in Our Communities

Public funding should be shifted from police to reinvesting in our communities. Crime is often a symptom of scarcity and our frayed social safety net is sorely underfunded. The United States spends twice as much on policing, prisons, and courts as it does on direct welfare programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and supplemental social security. Congress, states, and local governments can reduce incidents of crime and create healthy communities by investing in direct assistance programs, affordable housing, education, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and early intervention programs (including violence interruption programs).

2. Shifting Most First Responder Responsibilities Away From Police

Our current crisis-response system should place healthcare workers, like social workers and psychiatrists, at the frontline of immediate health crisis events, not police officers. Inadequate healthcare and a lack of social safety nets have led to increased police interaction with individuals experiencing mental health crises. As a result, police officers are often called to assist in mental health emergencies, despite having little or no relevant training. This should change.

3. End Predictive Policing

We must address and stop the current use of predictive policing techniques that disproportionately affect minority communities. Predictive policing forecasts crime using algorithmic techniques, based on historical crime data, to determine where to deploy police and who is most likely to commit a crime. Not only does this dangerously reinforce discriminatory biases in the criminal justice system, resulting in over-policing of vulnerable communities, such as people of color and those from the LGBTQ community, but there is a lack of transparency from agencies that employ this method. Law enforcement agencies are often not required to share how or what data is being analyzed. Furthermore, these predictive technologies serve to escalate the level of enforcement and increase police presence in communities that are already over-surveilled. All law enforcement strategies must take into account the privacy concerns of the communities being policed, as well as the impact of over-policing on vulnerable communities. The use of predictive policing algorithms disregards both.

4. Police Union Contracts Should Be Made Public and Officers Held Liable.

Currently, police union contracts make it nearly impossible for civilians to view information about officers, including incidents of prior misconduct. In doing so, police officers are shielded from accountability for their actions. The disciplinary history of a police officer whose personnel records are riddled with instances of misconduct and bad behavior should not be protected from public scrutiny. Making these contracts public and removing barriers that restrict access to records of police misconduct would allow for greater transparency and oversight and are necessary for public safety. Police union contracts must also hold police officers financially liable for killings and excessive use of force, including ending paid administrative leave and eligibility to be rehired by police departments.

As we consider these proposals, we should also evaluate how we reduce our over-reliance on policing to secure public safety.

We, the undersigned, call out for change and call out for change now. There is no state, no municipal jurisdiction, and no law enforcement agency where transformational changes are not necessary and urgent. When celebrating Pride Month this June, we must remember that the protests and riots from Compton’s Cafeteria to Stonewall were sparked by Black and Latinx transgender women calling for police reform due to harassment and mistreatment of LGBTQ people. We commemorate the history of the LGBTQ Movement, namely our resistance to police harassment and brutality across the nation, when such violence was common and expected. We remember this time as transformative, where we overcame our pain and fear to push for the ability to live a more authentic and free life. Today, we join together again to say that enough is enough. The time for structural change and transformation is now.

African American Office of Gay Concerns

African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC)

AMAAD Institute

American Civil Liberties Union

American Protestant Union

Annapolis Pride


Aqua Foundation for Women

Arianna's CenterAsexual Outreach

Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN)


Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

AVOL Kentucky

Basic Rights Oregon

Baton Rouge Pride

Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice

Being Alive/People with AIDS Action Coalition, Inc.

Bet Mishpachah

BHT Foundation Bi Women Quarterly

BiLawBilly DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center

BiPOL Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP)

Bisexual Resource Center

BJF Interiors

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition

Black Trans Women Inc

Blue Ridge Pride Center, Inc.

Boston Gay Men's Chorus

Boston Pride

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Campaign for Southern Equality

Campus Pride


Care Resource Community Health Centers, Inc.

Cascade AIDS Project

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Central Outreach Wellness

Cincinnati Men's Chorus

Coastal Bend PRIDE Center

Colors+Community Education Group

Compass LGBTQ Community Center

Contigo Fund

Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide

Dallas Voice/Voice Publishing Co.

Deaf Queer Resource Center

Desert AIDS Project

Diocese of Southern Ohio

Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance -AllianceQ

Dolphin Democrats

Drag Story Hour-Arizona

East Bay Getting to Zero


End Hep C SF

Equal Rights Washington

Equality Arizona

Equality Business Alliance

Equality California

Equality Delaware Foundation

Equality Florida

Equality Michigan

Equality Nevada

Equality New York

Equality North Carolina

Equality Ohio

Equality Prince William

Equality Texas

Equality Utah


Equitas Health

Equitas Health Institute

Family Equality

Fijate Bien Program/MPact Global Action for Gay Men's Health and Rights

FL NOW (National Organization for Women) 

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus

Florida Trans Proud Inc


Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center Frank Harr Foundation

Freedom for All Americans

Freedom Through Healing

FreeState Justice -Maryland's LGBTQ+ Advocates

Friendly House Inc/SAGE Metro Portland

GAPIMNY—Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders

Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center

Gay Freedom Band of Los Angeles (GFBLA)

Gender Equality New York

Georgia Equality

Get Out And Trek (GOAT)

GLAADGLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz

GLBT Historical Society

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality


GLSEN Southern Nevada


Harvey Milk Festival, Inc

Harvey Milk Foundation

Have A Gay Day Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights

Hearts on a Wire

Henderson Equality Center

Hester Street Fair, LLC

Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey

Holyoke Pride Hope & Help, Inc.

Horizons Foundation

Houston GLBT Political Caucus

Howard Brown Health

Hudson Pride Center

Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation

Human Rights Alliance Santa Fe

Human Rights Campaign

Identity, Inc.

Immigration Equality

Inside Out Youth Services

Institute for LGBT Health and Wellbeing

International Association of Providers of AIDS Care


Jackson Pride Center

JustUs Health

KatKeo Properties LLC


Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles

Lambda Legal

Latino LinQLesbians of Color Symposium (LOCS) Collective, Inc.

Lesbians Who Tech & Allies

Leslie Lohman Museum of Art

LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

LGBT Life Center

LGBTQ Allyship


LGBTQ Center of Bay County

LGBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada

LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

LGBTQ Northwest Indiana / Northwest Indiana Pride

LGBTQ+Allies Lake County

Liberty City LGBTQ Democratic Club

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY)

Long Island LGBT Community Center

Lorain County LGBTQ+ & Allies Task Force

Los Angeles Bi Task Force

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Mass Equality


Mazzoni Center

Media for the Public Good, Inc. / OutCasting Media

Meroe & Wellness, LLC

Methodist Federation for Social Action

Movement Advancement Project

Nashville LGBT Chamber

Nashville Pride National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition for LGBT Health

National Equality Action Team (NEAT)National LGBT Cancer Network

National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Inc.

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

National Queer TheaterNational Trans Visibility MarchNational Working Positive CoalitionNew England Aces

New York City AIDS Memorial

New York City Gay Men's Chorus

New York LGBT Network

North Carolina AIDS Action Network

North Shore Alliance of LGBTQ Youth

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

Oasis Legal Services

Oklahomans for Equality

ONE Archives Foundation

One Colorado

One Orlando Alliance



ORAM -Organization for Refuge, Asylum and MigrationoSTEM

Our Family Coalition

Out & Equal

Out Boulder County

OUT Georgia Business Alliance

Out in TechOut in the Open

Out In The Vineyard

Out Leadership

Out on Film

OutCenter of Southwest Michigan



OutRight Action International

OUTspoken Leaders

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council

Pan Eros Foundation

Partnership Project

Peer Support Space, Inc.

Peoria Proud

PFLAG Cape Cod

PFLAG Crown Point (Northwest Indiana)

PFLAG National


FLAG Olympia

PFLAG Orlando, Inc.

PFLAG South Miami

PFLAG Spartanburg

PFLAG Washington State Council

PFund Foundation

Philadelphia Family Pride

Phoenix Gay Men's Chorus

Phoenix Pride

Planned Parenthood Keystone

Planned Parenthood Keystone's Youth Programs (Rainbow Room, The Spectrum, The Curve)

Plexus LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Point Foundation


Pride Arts (Pride Films and Plays)

Pride at Work

Pride Center of the Capital Region

Pride Center West Texas

Pride Community Center, Inc (Brazos Valley, Texas)

Pride Community Services Organization

Pride Films and Plays/Pride Arts

Pride Fund 1

Pride Law Fund

Project MORE Foundation

Project No Labels


Proud Haven Inc

Q Christian Fellowship


QLaw Foundation of Washington

Queens LGBT Center (Q-Center)

Queer Connect, Inc.

Queer Kid Stuff


Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton

Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance

Rebellious PR & Consulting

Reconciling Ministries Network

Resource Center

Rhode Island Pride

Ring of Keys

Rockland County Pride Center

RUSA LGBT -Russian-speaking American Association

Sacramento LGBT Community Center

Safe Schools Action Network

SAGE --Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders

SAGE Metro Detroit

SAGE Upstate

San Diego LGBT Visitors Center

San Diego Pride

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Francisco Community Health Center

San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® Womens Motorcycle Contingent

Sandhills PRIDE

Sarwood Inc.

SAVE -Safeguarding American Values for Everyone

Seattle Aces and ArosSeattle Choruses: SMC/SWC

Sero Project

SF LGBT Center

Side by Side VA

Silver State Equality-Nevada


Southern Arizona Gender Alliance

SpeakOUT Boston



Stanislaus LGBTQ+ Collaborative for Well-Being

StartOutStill Bisexual

Stonewall Columbus

Stonewall Democratic Club

Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio

Stonewall National Museum & Archives

Stonewall Sports -Richmond


TBuddyTennessee Equality Project

Texas Pride Impact Funds

The Affirmative Couch, LLC

The Bearded Ladies Cabaret

The Box Gallery

The Bros in Convo Initiative

The Chroma Museum

The Cubbyhole Bar

The DC Center for the LGBT Community

The Diversity Center

The Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment

The Great Griffon

The Hetrick-Martin Institute

The Human Rights Alliance Santa Fe

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The LGBT Asylum Project

The LGBT Center of Greater Reading

The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement

The LGBTQ Center Long Beach

The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center

The OUT Foundation

The Pride Center at Equality Park

The Pride Center of Maryland

The Rainbow Times

The San Diego LGBT Community Center

The Source LGBT+ Center

The Spahr Center

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative

The Transgender Training Institute

The TransLatin@ Coalition

The Trevor Project

Three Dollar Bill Cinema (Seattle Queer Film Festival)

TPANTrans In Color

TransFamily Support Services

Transgender Assistance Program Virginia

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund

Transgender Michigan



True Colors United

True Colors, Inc.

Truth Wins Out


Under The Arc


UNIDA Uplift Outreach Center

Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA)

Valley AIDS Council

Valley Community Healthcare

Virtual Arizona Pride


Waves Ahead Corp & SAGE Puerto Rico


Wenatchee PrideWhite Mountains Pride

Whitman-Walker Institute

William Way LGBT Community Center

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Yakima Pride

Yale GALA:

Yale's LGBT Alumni

Young Democrats of Georgia LGBTQ+ CaucusYouth Outlook

Youth Pride, Inc.

Zebra Coalition