Authorities urge Pride month celebration attendees to be extra vigilant about security

Authorities are issuing travel warnings for cities across the globe urging people to heed advice on how to stay safe, especially in large crowds.
Pride month celebrations
Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 01, 2024

Authorities in cities across the United States are on alert as Pride month begins, preparing for any potential threats as crowds — sometimes very large — plan to gather for Pride celebrations.

The U.S. State Department recently issued a renewed travel warning to LGBTQI+ travelers who the agency says "can face special challenges abroad." The State Department reminded travelers that around 70 countries across the globe still consider same-sex relationships to be a crime. With some countries implementing "severe punishment" to those who engage in same-sex relations, the agency warned.

Travelers are urged to review the State Department's travel checkliston their website — and country information — before traveling.

In the United States, June marks a time when crowds plan to gather in cities across the country to celebrate Pride Month.

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TheFBI said in March there were no current threats of violence related to Pride month, but authorities continue to monitor for dangers.

Cheyvoryea Gibson, a special agent in charge at the FBI's bureau in Michigan said, "The FBI wants to assure the public we take all hate-based crimes seriously."

Law enforcement says they look for various "threat indicators" — including violent threats made online, via mail or in person. Authorities also look at incidents where security measures at events or venues are unusually tested. If individuals are seen taking photos or using security-related equipment to scope out access points to perform pre-operational surveillance without an explanation, that can also be seen as a possible threat indicator.

Robert Snead, a public safety expert, said law enforcement agencies are coordinating and making plans on how to keep large crowds safe.

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Snead said, "It's not about our textbook response, it's about our immediate response. You don't get those seconds back."

Last year there were more than 160 LGBTQ+ community events that were targeted with threats of violence, according to GLAAD.

According to a 2022 report from the organization, around 54% of transgender and non-binary people said they feel unsafe in their own communities.

In June 2016, a mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. The alleged gunman reportedly praised ISIS during the attack.

Last year, President Joe Biden unveiled a series of initiatives with the goal of trying to better safeguard the rights and security of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.