Toronto Pride went ahead this weekend with the exception of one long-running supporter in the parade, the police force.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans police officers in Toronto did not take part in this year’s event after Black Lives Matter protestors disrupted last year’s parade and demanded that they be excluded from the parade along with other requests, which the organisers signed on the spot – without consultation.
Black Lives Matter said it had launched its objection to hold Pride answerable for its “anti-blackness”.
Instead of taking part in a parade which was on their home turf, 100 TPA officers and civilians marched in the New York City parade.
The Pride organisers were keen to clarify that the force was not “banned” saying that LGBT officers were welcome to take part with “select conditions”. They were asked not to include “uniforms, weapons, and vehicles”.
“We welcome and encourage their participation to add to Pride this year as members of our community. LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies can march in the parade with community groups, with the City of Toronto, or even create their own group.
“We are simply requesting that their participation not include the following elements: uniform, weapons, and vehicles.
“The Toronto Police Service has been involved and supportive to us throughout our festival planning. They will provide all the necessary services to ensure that the festival weekend and parade are secure and successful.
What Were The Black Lives Matter demands?
- Continued space, including stage and tents, funding and logistical support for Black Queer Youth.
- Self-determination for all community spaces at Pride, allowing community groups full control over hiring, content and structure of their stages.
- Full and adquate funding for community stages, including logistical, technical and personnel support.
- Doubling of funding for Blockorama to $13,000.
- Reinstatement of the South Asian stage.
- Prioritising of the hiring of Black transwomen, Indigenous people and others from vulnerable communities at Pride Toronto.
- More Black deaf and hearing sign language interpreters for the festival.
- Removal of police floats in the Pride marches and parades.
- A town hall organised in conjunction with groups from marginalised communities, including but not limited to Black Lives Matter – Toronto, Blackness Yes and Black Queer Youth, in six months, where Pride Toronto will present an update and action plan on BLM-TO’s demands
Black Lives Matter did not take part in this year’s parade saying they wanted to ensure their “presence is felt through the parade” through other organisations.