Will the real Pride Toronto please stand up?
Toronto Police and Pride Toronto have had a complicated relationship since 2016. That’s when Black Lives Matter activists halted the parade for about 30 minutes, calling out Pride’s “anti-blackness” while demanding police not participate in future parades.
Pride is about being inclusive, accepting, and building community. To exclude one group goes against everything it stands for.
On April 2, in a Facebook post, Pride Toronto and several other LGBTQ organizations co-signed a letter asking Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders to end all efforts at rejoining the parade this year. Pride officials said talks between both groups were going well until alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur’s arrest on Jan. 18 and the investigation into the missing and murdered gay men in the Church-Wellesley area (known as the Gay Village).
Last year for the first time, Toronto police and their floats were not part of the parade. Uniformed police will again not be a part of it when the 38th annual Pride Parade takes place on June 25.
The letter contends that the police investigation into the deaths has been handled poorly. Even after many LGBTQ groups told police they suspected a serial killer was targeting gay men in the village, their concerns were “dismissed” by police, according to the letter.
If you’re blaming BLM for initiating this exclusion from the parade, well, you’d be right. BLM started it, but it is not one of the co-signers of this year’s request to exclude uniformed police from participating in the parade.
One Muslim terrorist should not stereotype all Muslims as terrorists, and one black shooter does not represent the black community.
It’s unfair to blame an entire police force for the actions of a few. Yes, they are imperfect. Police services are meant to protect the public and when they fail, we feel cheated, threatened and maybe worse.
But excluding police from the Pride Parade is a form of bigotry and provides a reason not to go.