LGBT tourists planning to visit the United States and participate or watch a gay pride parade should be aware of ongoing threats against LGBT communities everywhere. From New York to California, cities are increasing security for upcoming gay pride parades in order to prevent another bloody rampage like the one in Orlando.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s massacre, in which 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub called Pulse, Republican Illinois Senator Mark Kirk has asked for the FBI office in Chicago to help the city ensure “the maximum security possible” for its 47th Pride Parade on June 26, as well as preceding events during this weekend’s two-day pride festival.
The city is going to deploy 200 additional uniformed and plainclothes officers to maintain security during both the Parade and the PrideFest.
Parade organizers are also providing additional security at the city’s request, the Associated Press reported. This year, they are hiring 160 off-duty police officers and other security professionals.
Nearly one million people have attended the pride parades in Chicago in previous years, and some 750,000 people are expected to gather for the four-mile pride parade that will run through Uptown and Lakeview this year.
Security will be tight in Denver, Colorado as well, where 300,000 people are expected to walk in honor of the LGBT community.
Ahead of this weekend’s parade, LGBT members received special training on how to deal with active-shooter situations.
Metal detectors, and fences will be set up near rallies. Security will be boosted along parade route as well, and people should be prepared to be searched.
In the meantime, Houston law enforcement is on edge over a threat that appeared on Twitter just days ahead of the June 25 parade.
“There will be a massive shooting at the pride parade in Houston, Texas,” Twitter user crehgdu123 posted on June 13.
The city of Portland, Maine also has security concerns surrounding its upcoming Pride Parade, which is scheduled for Saturday.
Increased police presence in and around pride parade celebrations is also expected in San Francisco and Seattle, where events are scheduled for June 25 and 26.
New York City is bracing for what is predicted to be its largest gay pride parade ever this weekend.
The NYPD has tweeted on its official page that it has “no security concerns,” but police presence in Manhattan is going to be increased.