Policewoman scheduled as gay parade leader

Oct. 29, 2009 at 4:59 PM

ATLANTA, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- An Atlanta gay activist condemned the choice of a community-liaison policewoman to head a pride parade because he said she defended a police gay bar raid.

Dani Lee Harris, the Atlanta Police Department's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liaison, is scheduled to be Atlanta's 39th Pride festival's first grand marshal who is intersex (someone whose gender chromosomes or chromosomes do not fit the standard definitions of female or male at birth or puberty), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

In the Sept. 10 bar raid, police held patrons on the floor for an hour and hurled anti-gay slurs, and arrested eight bar employees on charges of improper permits, the Atlanta Eagle bar's owner, Richard Ramey alleged.

"She was a terrific choice before the raid," writer and activist Michael Alvear said.

"Harris didn't know about the raid beforehand, but was willing to stand up and answer questions on behalf of both the APD and our community on a very controversial issue," Pride's events manager, J. Sheffield, said.

Harris said she neither defended the police's behavior during the bar raid nor said the sweep shouldn't have happened, the newspaper reported.

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