Pride Toronto Membership Votes to Accept Demands by Black Lives Matter

If you have not heard by now, which is possible if you are not part of the LGBTQ+ Community of Toronto or a member of the Toronto Police Service, last summer during the Pride Parade in Toronto, the group Black Lives Matter, disrupted the parade with a protest that basically stopped the parade from proceeding and presented the head of Pride Toronto with a list of demands.

Those demands were made on behalf of Black Lives Matter Toronto, BQY (Black Queer Youth) and Blackness Yes;

  1. Commit to BQY’s continued space (including states/tents), funding and logistical support.
  2. Self-determination for all community spaces, allowing community full control over hiring, content, and structure of stages.
  3. Full and adequate funding for community stages, including logistical, technical, and personnel support.
  4. Double funding for Blockorama + ASL interpretation & headliner funding.
  5. Reinstate and make a commitment to increase the community stages/space (including the reinstatement of the South Asian stage).
  6. A commitment to increase representation amongst Pride Toronto staffing/hiring, prioritizing Black trans women, Black queer people, Indigenous folk, and others from vulnerable communities.
  7. A commitment to more Black deaf & hearing ASL interpreters for the Festival.
  8. Removal of police floats/booths in all Pride marches/parades/community spaces.
  9. A public townhall, organized in conjunction with groups from marginalised communities, including, but not limited to, Black Lives Matter- Toronto, Blackness Yes, and BQY to be held 6 months from today. Pride Toronto will present and action plane on the aforementioned demands

(copied as presented and displayed on @BLM_TO)

Last night (10 January 2017) at Pride Toronto’s Annual General Meeting, the membership voted to agree to 8 of the demands that were presented, most importantly #8 which has now infuriated a good number of the LGBTQ+ community here in Toronto, as reported by blogTO. Even though the matter was not on the Agenda for this meeting.

Now every where I look on my Facebook timeline, the timelines of those I have “friended” are messages of disappointment and scorn for Pride Toronto.

In 30 years of attending Toronto pride the police have always been there, and they should be there always, Pride is about inclusion, not exclusion, the police officers are part of our community and have every RIGHT to be there. Who are you going to exclude next, nudist, gay men, families.

My Pride includes our LGBT2S cops and allies and does NOT allow any one group to bully another or decide for me who is and isn’t allowed to march with me. There is room enough for all.

Shame on you Toronto Pride, you don’t exclude to include, horrible decision making.
Police officers from Hamilton joined in Sunday's Pride parade in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)
Police officers from Hamilton joined in Sunday's Pride parade in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

There is something I want to take a moment here and point out;

  1. The membership fee to be member of Pride Toronto is $10. [Thank you to Leslie Miller for providing the correct information] How many people that are now expressing their disdain for Pride Toronto took the time to pay the membership fee and go down last night and vote? Or did they just assume and expect that everyone shared their view points and would vote accordingly in their own absence. (Sounds to me a lot of what was going on in a recent voting action that has plagued the media of late.) Even though the agenda did not include addressing this issue; it does not really come as any surprise that the motion was raised.
  2. Members of the Police are allowed to be at the parade and events; but not in uniform, there will not be any floats in the parade, there will be no police marching in the parade and their will be no police booths during the festival.

The Toronto Police Service LGBTQ+ Liaison twitter account (@TDotGayCops) posted an interesting message last night.

Lots of concern after #PrideTO AGM tonight. No worries we still have Pride & are still in the #community to help you! Let[’]s have a [coffee] & chat.@TDotGayCops

Followed up with an invitation to come down for a “Coffee Break” on 26 January 2017 from 4-6pm at the Second Cup in the Village. 544 Church Street.

Now here is where I am going to throw another angle at you.

Remember this?

Just a few months ago; how was using undercover officers, in what surmounted to a “sting operation” and arresting men after soliciting them for sex in an area that is known for “cruising,” helping us?

As we discussed during episode 134 of THE VOICE OF TURNIPSTYLE “POLICE RAIDS IN THE PARK” this was an opportunity to turn a new page and strengthen the relationship between the Toronto Police Service, the LGBTQ+ & MSM Communities.

Instead of actions that were reminiscent of the bath house raids in 1981, which sparked protest and revolt within the LGBTQ+ community, this would have been a perfect opportunity for the Police Service, along with Sexual Health groups to do some much-needed outreach.

Why did they not reach out to the few people that were in the park and take the opportunity to ensure they were safe, both physically from violence and took the opportunity to educate about sexual health and safe sex options.

Especially, and this is the kicker for me, after APOLOGIZING for the bath house raids that occurred in 1981

How is that helping us?

How is that helping us?

Toronto Police Car Div 52

Did you vote?


One last thing to think about here. If we go back to the reaction of many, after the parade was blocked by Black Lives Matter, that was invited by Pride Toronto to try and bridge a gap and build a relationship, we saw a very unforgiving and possibly a relatively ignorant & selfish response condemning Black Lives Matter for the disruption.

The reason we have a PRIDE celebration at all was because of an uprising and a disruption.

I remind you of the Stonewall Riots and the protests here in Toronto after the bath house raids.

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turnipHed is the Chief Editor at TURNIPSTYLE, Presenter & Producer of THE VOICE OF TURNIPSTYLE. The lifestyle magazine and podcast for [GBTQ+] Men.


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