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2024 Pride Month Alert:
Threats Targeting LGBTQIA+ Community and Pride Events

2024 Pride Security
Image Credit: Pexels/@myersmc16

Threats Targeting LGBTQIA Community and Pride Events – June 2024
Ensuring Safety During Pride Month Celebrations

May 24, 2024

As we approach Pride Month in June 2024, it is crucial to address the safety and security of the LGBTQIA+ community. We urge attendees to exercise heightened caution while participating in events. Recent intelligence from the State Department, FBI, Homeland Security, and other agencies indicates an increased probability of hate-based or terrorist attacks targeting Pride Month gatherings and the LGBTQIA+ community.

The current threat environment is more severe than in previous years, driven by a rise in violence and hate crimes locally and globally. This article aims to provide the LGBTQIA+ community and the public with important safety information, recommendations, and resources to ensure a safe and enjoyable Pride Month.



Understanding the Threat

The levels and types of threats posed to the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride Month events vary significantly based on the event’s location, particularly the local environment’s acceptance of LGBTQIA+ individuals and groups. Widespread travel for Pride Month events is anticipated to be higher in 2024 than in 2023. Given the increased risk and threat profile this year, it is crucial for attendees to understand these dynamics.

Popular Pride Month events are typically held in larger cities and metropolitan areas, known for their liberal and diverse demographics, offering a vibrant cultural scene for the LGBTQIA+ community. However, these high-profile events are also more likely to attract attention from hate-based and terrorist organizations, protestors, and other activist movements. Conversely, rural areas, often more conservative with traditional and religious values, may exhibit lower levels of acceptance and tolerance toward the LGBTQIA+ community.

While Pride Month is a time for celebration, attendees must remain vigilant as threats still exist despite cultural and legislative progress. The presence of pride events does not guarantee safety, nor does it imply local acceptance. Opponents may seek to politicize or target these celebrations negatively.

The LGBTQIA+ community sees Pride Month as an opportunity to celebrate and promote acceptance and equality. However, protesters and hate-based groups have previously targeted LGBTQIA+ friendly spaces such as nightclubs, parades, and special events. Staying informed and aware of the local context is essential for ensuring safety and security during Pride Month.

Intelligence agencies have identified potentially credible threat(s) from both foreign and domestic terrorist groups intending to target the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month celebrations. A joint public service announcement issued by the FBI and Homeland Security provide a briefing on this intelligence, and the US State Department issued a worldwide advisory. These threats are aimed at causing harm and spreading fear within the community. While specific details remain confidential to protect ongoing investigations, it is important for the public to remain vigilant and proactive.


Foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) or their supporters may exploit increased gatherings during Pride Month.

  • FTOs have a history of promoting anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and targeting related events.
  • June 12 marks the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, a significant event celebrated by pro-ISIS messaging.
  • In June 2023, three alleged ISIS sympathizers attempted to attack a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria.



Recommendations for Event Attendees and the Public


1. Stay Informed and Alert
  • Monitor Local News: Keep up-to-date with local news reports and official advisories from law enforcement agencies.
  • Watch the Crowd: If you find yourself in a dense crowd with no visible crowd control measures, consider leaving the area. If the crowd begins to sway, wait for it to stop before calmly moving towards safety.
  • Recognize Suspicious Behavior: Be aware of unusual activities or individuals. This includes:
    • Unattended bags and packages,
    • Individuals dressed inappropriate for the time of year (e.g. winter coat during summer),
    • Individuals showing an unusual interest in events, venues, buildings, or security measures,
    • Individuals loitering near event entrances, or anyone acting erratically,
    • Threats of violence made online, in person, or by mail.


2. Report Suspicious Activities
  • Immediate Reporting: If you see something suspicious, do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement immediately. Dial 911 or local emergency number or non-emergency line as appropriate.
  • Anonymous Tips: Many communities offer anonymous tip lines, crime watch programs, and similar reporting platforms. Utilize these resources if you prefer to remain anonymous while reporting.


3. Plan Ahead
  • Know the Venue: Familiarize yourself with the layout of event venues; including emergency exits, medical personnel and first aid stations, and where police or security are stationed or posted.
  • Know the Local Area: Become accustomed to the locations of large and sturdy buildings, hospitals, parking areas, and similar. Learn any local expressions, gestures, insignia or symbols, and words which indicate a hate-based or derogatory view of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
  • Coordinate with Friends: Make plans to stay connected with friends and family members during events. Establish specific meeting points outside the venue in case you get separated during an emergency situation.


4. Practice Personal Safety
  • Avoid Large Bags: If possible, leave large bags and backpacks at home to minimize screening delays and security risks.
  • Leave Expensive Items at Home: Do not make yourself a target for theft or robbery.
  • Do Not Accept: Drinks, food, vapes, cigarettes, marijuana, chewing gum, or other consumables from strangers. Hate and terror-based assailants utilize these tactics, passing laced and tainted products and consumables.
  • Stay Sober: Maintain situational awareness and pay attention to your surroundings by moderating alcohol consumption and avoiding impairing substances.
  • Use Safe Transportation: Plan your transportation to and from events. Utilize rideshare services, public transportation, or designated drivers.
  • In Case Of Attack: In the event of a violent or potentially violent situation, RUN, do not hesitate. Seek shelter immediately in secure places like hotels, large public buildings, libraries, theaters, hospitals, or museums.


5. Participate in Safety Drills
  • Event Drills: Attend any safety drills or briefings provided by event organizers or public safety officials. Understanding the emergency procedures and knowing what to do can be lifesaving.
  • Personal Preparedness: Ensure your mobile device stays charged, consider adopting the buddy system, and avoid wearing earbuds or headphones. You can also consider carrying a small first aid kit, small flashlight, and pepper spray (if permitted inside the venue.)



Support and Resources


1. Community Engagement
  • LGBTQIA+ Centers: Engage with local LGBTQIA+ centers and organizations for support and resources.
  • Law Enforcement Liaisons: Many police departments and public safety organizations have community teams and LGBTQIA+ liaisons who can provide additional guidance and support.


2. Mental Health Support
  • Crisis Hotlines: Access crisis hotlines if you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety or fear related to these threats.
  • Counseling Services: Utilize counseling services available through community organizations or healthcare providers.



Safety & Security for Event Organizers, Venues, and Hosts


1. Conduct a Thorough and Proper Risk Assessment
  • Details: Assess potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to your event and location. Utilize investigative or intelligence-based resources, services, or organizations to assist with this critical step. Listen to recommendations and consider all current threat information.
  • Key Steps: Identify all points of entry and exit to include exit only; crowd control, movement, and management areas of concern; any specific areas inside or adjacent to the event area or venue that have locations which are elevated and unobstructed. 
  • Risk Management: Contact law enforcement and/or protective security organizations in order to evaluate specific risks and threats. They can also provide the guidance and services necessary to properly safeguard the event and attendees against criminal and terroristic acts.
  • Health and Safety: Contact emergency medical services or ambulance service organizations to discuss options such as a first-aid station, medical team, or ambulance on-site. TSERA Special Police as well as other select law enforcement and protective services organizations have the capability to provide comprehensive emergency medical care, which could help offset event expenses.
  • Additional: Don’t forget to consider and inquire about expanded capabilities. Some organizations don’t like to deploy some of their more advanced tools and resources unless asked. 
2. Implement Comprehensive Measures
  • Details: Develop and refine the following:
    • Layered security plan that addresses both routine and extreme possibilities which are specific to your area and location. This plan should include visible and invisible measures, perimeter security including fencing and barriers, active shooter, unattended articles, vehicular threats, and property/event rules and regulations. 
    • All-hazards plan that addresses weather emergencies, environmental risks, natural and manmade disasters, logistics, communications, evacuations, and coordination.
    • Health and safety plan that addresses emergency medical issues, mass-casualty events, overdoses, food-borne illnesses, and exposure to dangerous and toxic materials.
  • Key Steps: Employ and utilize internal and external resources in a way that makes sense, and don’t be afraid to rely on the external services or resources that make the most sense for your particular area or venue. When deploying and utilizing event personnel and resources, be smart. Do not ask volunteers to patrol or conduct security or police tasks. Likewise, do not ask police or security officials to perform tasks suited for volunteers, such as taking entry tickets or manning an information booth.
  • Don’t Shy Away From Inconvenience: Just because it may be slow or inconvenient for attendees, does not mean you can neglect to implement certain measures. This includes functions such as:
    • Entry checkpoints,
    • Metal detectors,
    • Pat-downs,
    • Bag checks (if bags are permitted), and,
    • Utilizing portable detectors which passively detect things like radioactive materials and explosives.
  • Additional: Certain external service providers, ask if they can deploy and utilize things like portable surveillance technology, mobile lighting, emergency/panic buttons and call boxes, and wide-area waning/notification systems.
3. Managing Volunteers and Your Staff
  • Details: Ensure all internal staff and volunteers have a clear understanding of the plans, their duties and responsibilities, and assigned locations. Schedule floaters/rovers who can cover for things like restroom breaks, and can deliver water to their coworkers. Be sure that all volunteers and staff are trained in basic emergency response, communications, venue layout, resources locations, crowd/event management principals, and similar.
  • Key Steps: Conduct regular trainings and briefings with volunteers and staff leading up to the event. Some external service providers can likely help you with this. Conduct simulations and assess their understanding and performance, and if necessary, review any decencies in a positive and reinforcing manner.
  • Command Post: Ensure appropriate lines of communication exist for your event, and can be utilized by staff types. Consider planning for and having a command post or “home base” where one representative of each staff group can be located, emergency and panic buttons and call boxes can be monitored, cameras can be monitored, and so on. Be sure that specific responsibilities are designated and understood.
4. Establish Communication Protocols
  • Details: Establish a defined communications plan. Account for the level of oversight and management from the Command Post, total number of staff, and how many groups of staff will be present. Ensure the plan accounts for all different scenarios and emergencies. Ensure that efficient and effective methods of communication exist for everyone working the event. This will most likely not be cell phones.
  • Key Considerations: Utilizing radio communications is generally the superior approach, as well as having Public-Address capabilities. For events which may become loud, a noise-cancelling microphone and silicon earphone is somewhat of a necessity for each radio. Not all radios will work together, almost all require a license to use legally, and using cheap “bubble pack” style radios that can be found at Walmart or Amazon is a horrible idea. Most police or security providers can help event venues with obtaining the necessary number and type of radios.
  • Cell Network: Depending on the location, size, scope, and expected attendees, you may need to discuss network overload and inquire about a Cell-On-Wheels or other field-deployed network resources that exist for large-scale or extremely remote events. This is something you can discuss with security or police vendors, city/county emergency management, or the cell phone network providers.
  • Digital Media: Consider utilizing various forms of digital media including mass notification platforms, social media, event management platforms, and similar tools to send any updates or emergency notifications to attendees. You can also utilize this approach for intelligence gathering for use in your initial threat assessment, and ongoing monitoring.
5. Additional Areas of Consideration
  • Waste Management: Ensure a proper plan exists for waste, refuse, and trash. This includes considerations for restrooms, handwashing, sanitizing, and similar. If your event or venue will be renting things like trash cans, ask the vendor if they have explosion-proof waste bins available.
  • Contingency Plan: While may different plan types were previously mentioned, one of the most important plans to have is a continuity/contingency plan. This is the plan that addresses what to do and how to accomplish high-priority tasks if a worst-case scenario occurs. 
  • Enhance Access & Parameter Security: Monitor and control access of all entrances and exits to prevent unauthorized entry by persons or vehicles.
    • Establish proper security checkpoints and screening functions for attendees and guests at all points of entry.
    • Consider implementing the same screening for vendors.
    • Schedule all deliveries, whether by passenger or commercial, to occur before attendees arrive to the event.
    • Screen and inspect all delivery vehicles and occupants thoroughly prior to allowing entry to the event area/venue.
    • Do not permit any delivery vehicles, commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers, or other nonessential vehicle to remain or park at or within the event/venue.
    • Ensure all routine and nonemergency vendors arrange their deliveries and pick-ups at times when no attendees or guests will be present.
    • Require all routine and nonemergency vendor delivery vehicles undergo the same screening and inspections as previously detailed.
  • Cultural Considerations: If there is a chance that event attendees may come from a different culture, background, or nation; be particularly mindful of potential miscommunication based on their customs and cultural norms. 
  • Ongoing Intelligence: After conducting your initial risk assessment, it is critical to conduct ongoing intelligence gathering. Leveraging digital communications and social media platforms/channels is a powerful tactic to help ensure you identify new or missed potential or actual threats. 


Message from TSERA Special Police

The safety of our neighborhoods and communities is a top priority. We believe all special events, including Pride Month celebrations, should be safe, exciting, and memorable. TSERA Special Police is among countless other local, state, federal, nonprofit, and corporate partners who are collaborating to ensure that Pride Month celebrations are safe and secure. We ask for your cooperation and vigilance as we navigate these challenging times.

Together, we can create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone can celebrate Pride Month with confidence and joy. By staying informed, reporting suspicious activities, and practicing personal safety, we can thwart potential threats and protect our community.

Let’s honor the spirit of Pride Month by standing united against hate and ensuring a safe, vibrant celebration for all.


B. E. Beckwith, Deputy Chief

TSERA Special Police

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