Pride Toronto, which made headlines after Black Lives Matter set off smoke grenades during its 2016 parade, has requested that the Toronto police department withdraw its application to march at this year's event.
Pride organizers released a statement on Twitter that indicated a fresh schism between police and the LGBT community, related to a serial killer who targeted queer men of color. When it came to police responding to several gay men becoming prey "investigations into their disappearances were insufficient, community knowledge and expertise was not accessed and despite the fact that many of us felt and voiced our concerns, we were dismissed... We request that the Police withdraw their application to march in the 2018 Pride Parade."
The remains of six men were found in planters in various backyards in Toronto. There were also two suspicious deaths in the gay village -- Alloura Wells, 27, and Tess Richey, 22. Many feel that Toronto police did not act diligently because of who the victims were. Landscaper Bruce McArthur was arrested on January 28 and charged with six counts of first-degree murder. He had been previously been brought in for questioning after reports of him trying to strangle an intimate partner, but was let go by police. This was a year before the first victims disappeared.
"This has severely shaken our community's already often tenuous trust in the city's law enforcement," Pride Toronto's statement explains. "We feel more vulnerable than ever."
In August, according to documents obtained by the Toronto Star, Pride Toronto was open to allowing uniformed officers in the parade. Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray confirmed that police submitted a formal application to march, and it was still pending a decision last week. There had been talks about having officers march out of uniform, with only the police chief in official clothing. Tuesday's statement now makes it clear that the police are not welcome.
In the wake of acts of terrorism against LGBT people like the Pulse shooting, some feel that police would make the march safer. Others feel that the stance against the force would alienate LGBT officers. For others, the issue has brought up old wounds related to intersectionality.