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."
Joint public statement about police participation in Pride Toronto's 2018 parade. Signed by The 519, Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, Sherbourne Health Centre, ASAAP, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) and Pride Toronto. #prideto pic.twitter.com/oG5XFyaD5B
— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) April 3, 2018
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.
So because lack of funding to our police system and having no availability to actually do so when there was no evidence of said crimes, don’t blame it on the ENTIRE Goddamn police force... are you forgetting there’s LGBTQ+ members in the police force? Blame the higher ups.
— Ryan J MacGorman (@thewantedryan) April 3, 2018
Okay, but a lot of people do not. Considering the recent circumstances, along with a history of oppression and discrimination by the police against the community, it makes sense why a considerable percentage do not want the police in attendance.
— ColinMac (@ColinMacV3) April 3, 2018
It’s their duty to respond. The release is not saying “we don’t want you here at all” it’s saying that they do not wish the formal institution of the police to march in the parade. The police will still be at the parade as security detail as their jobs require them to be.
— ColinMac (@ColinMacV3) April 3, 2018
@megyeg you’re missing the point. They want them to abstain because the police are not supporting their community. They have dragged their heels on investigations and the community has serious mistrust of their police force, more so than before. Marching would be an empty gesture
— Ash (@horriblehobbes) April 3, 2018
So now it's official and acceptable to ban police from marching only when it affects the white male, Really? So many gay white man were furious with #BLM for asking the same and for the same reasons; years of neglect, indifference and apathy.
— Musings (@Vidal3912) April 3, 2018