By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A time of pride for the gay community is now leaving some of its members out. Bill Hummel is a sergeant in the Aurora Police Department. He is not pleased that police are being told not to participate in this year’s Denver celebration.

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“As an openly gay police officer in Aurora, I was a bit taken aback by the news we were not welcome at the pride event,” he said.

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Aurora now has an openly gay Police Chief Vanessa Wilson and has been represented in past parades.

The annual event is put on by The Center on Colfax. It criticized police handling of Black Lives Matter protests and the treatment of other minority groups.

(credit: CBS)

Rex Fuller, the chief executive of The Center told CBS4, “I really think this discussion is about the agencies and where there might be shortcomings in policing in our community.”

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Hummel wrote a letter to the organizers, “Rather than fighting for inclusivity, you are excluding a group of gay, lesbian and transgendered people from participating.”

Fuller added, “There’s no denying that this is a difficult position to take and that some people view this as divisive.”

(credit: CBS)

Hummel agreed on that point, “Because we have so many gay, lesbian transgender police officers in Aurora, when you are told by members of the gay community you are not welcome at an event built fundamentally on inclusion at a gay event, it stings a little bit.”

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This year’s festival is June 26 and 27 with a virtual parade and race as well as in-person events at venues being termed “hubs.”

Rick Sallinger