Toronto Pride say police welcome to participate in parade next year
Pride Toronto is reversing a controversial decision to bar police from marching in uniform in the annual Pride Parade.
In an open letter, the organization announced it is allowing the Toronto Police Service to submit an application, and if the application meets all the requirements, they will let the cops march.
"We asked the Toronto Police to embark on a process of increased co-operation and collaborative action with the city's LGBT2Q+ organizations," the letter reads, "we sought, continue to seek, institutional change that takes time and openness to achieve."
In 2016, Black Lives Matter Toronto halted the Toronto Pride Parade, asking for a list of various demands, one of which was the exclusion of uniformed officers in the parade.
Barring the Toronto police who, themselves, consist of many LGBTQ+ people whom should march with their fellow queer Canadians was an error. Our celebration was held hostage by a group unrelated to Pride.— ℊesslar (@gesslar) October 16, 2018
The group demanded the change due to a history of tension between the queer community and police, including examples of police brutality and over-enforcement of outdated and non-existent laws.
The decision for Pride to agree to the changes sparked a controversy that has raged the past two years. Many in the LGBTQ community felt the exclusion was necessary, while others felt exclusion of one group went against the message of Pride.
@PrideToronto the police dont deserve to march in Pride. If you insist on including the police, they should wear t-shirts that identify themselves as police officers and supporters of Pride instead of wearing militant uniforms that hurt many marginalized people. #cdnpoli #PrideTO— The Canadian Girl (@thecdngrl) October 16, 2018
Pride Toronto asked the TPS to withdraw their application following their arguably mishandled investigation into Bruce McArthur, a serial killer that targeted gay men.
"We asked for time to mourn and to discover how to heal. The Police honoured our request, and the Parade became an important moment in our collective expression of resilience and our individual expressions of heartache," reads the letter.
I feel like Halifax Pride, and the HRP did the right thing in their approach to police at pride. They protected the parade but didn't March in uniform, and the cops held a neighborhood BBQ with local vendors. It was an official event, but separate from the parade.— 🏳️🌈 Mergus ex Lembus🇨🇦 (@GreatCDNSeagull) October 16, 2018
Though many in the LGBTQ community are going to be rightfully upset, Pride Toronto says next year's parade will be a continuation of efforts to include diverse experiences and voices.
"We acknowledge and respect those who will find this decision a difficult one."
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