Organisers of the Sydney Mardi Gras have formally requested that members of the New South Wales (NSW) Police Force abstain from participating in this year’s parade.

The decision is intended to provide the LGBTIQ+ community with the opportunity to mourn and heal in the aftermath of the arrest of an active-duty officer for a double homicide.

The board of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras reached this conclusion after deliberations on Monday, responding to a swell of public demand for police exclusion from the event. This outcry followed the charge against Senior Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon for the murder of his former partner, Jesse Baird, a one-time Network Ten presenter, and Baird’s new partner, Luke Davies.


A photograph that re-emerged last week showing Lamarre-Condon at the 2020 Mardi Gras parade underscored concerns, prompting a spokesperson for the Mardi Gras to articulate the board’s stance. They highlighted the community’s need to grieve and reflect, emphasising the importance of the parade as a space for protest, celebration, and advocacy for equality.

The NSW Police, acknowledging their awareness of the board’s decision, expressed disappointment but reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining a close relationship with the LGBTIQ+ community.

Calls for the police’s exclusion were notably supported by the Pride in Protest group, which criticised the police’s presence in the parade, particularly highlighting the visibility of weapons alongside rainbow flags. They reminded the public that the Mardi Gras originated as a demonstration against police brutality towards the LGBTIQ+ community, a struggle they believe remains relevant.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb, advocating for police participation, warned that excluding officers could hinder progress made in building trust within the LGBTIQ+ community. Webb’s comments come in the wake of an apology she issued for historical police misconduct identified in a special inquiry into suspected LGBTIQ+ murders.

Support for police participation also came from NSW Premier Chris Minns and Independent state MP Alex Greenwich, both highlighting the significance of inclusion for LGBTIQ+ officers and the broader goal of community reconciliation.