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You can’t venture an informed comment about Black Lives Matter’s demands of Pride Toronto unless and until you learn about the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) and the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP). You won’t hear anything about those in the usual places that queers, transgenders, and LGBTs get their news – namely Twitter, Tumblr, and, last and very much least, the mainstream media.

The work of the CAP, and how the DRP applies when anyone wants a group banned from Pride parades or marches, have been completely forgotten. Pride Toronto itself is most guilty here, not least because it hides the Dispute Resolution Process and also because the DRP itself has proven to be a farce.

So learn a few things, why don’t you, before you freelance an opinion about Black Lives Matter’s demand to force cops out of the Pride parade?

Most useful items here

Groups marching in gay pride in 2017

This is the official list, ostensibly. It goes without saying that Pride Toronto couldn’t alphabetize it.

Who’s not on the list?

Black Lives Matter Toronto.

They can, and surely will, still show up for the Trans March and the (“#RESIST”) Dyke March. And for all we know, these revolutionaries will simply storm the barricades of the Pride Parade. Continue reading “Groups marching in gay pride in 2017”

Pride Toronto rewrites its Dispute Resolution Process (2017)

At the end of May 2017, Pride Toronto published a new set of rules for its Dispute Resolution Process.

This new version rewrites history by claiming that the DRP exists to comply with City policy. (It may also comply with that policy, but the DRP was not created for that reason.) It sets new deadlines for complaints, imposes a 500-word limit, and tells you to your face that your full name, address, and other information will be given to your adversaries and may be made public.

And only members of Pride Toronto may submit a complaint. As Pride Toronto carefully excludes what it believes are critics (really enemies) from membership, including by cancelling their memberships, this provision in itself nullifies the Dispute Resolution Process, and arguably puts Pride Toronto in violation of City rules.

Text of the new DRP is as follows. Continue reading “Pride Toronto rewrites its Dispute Resolution Process (2017)”

Pride Toronto statement regarding police participation

Published late on a Sunday night (2017.05.07), but for once not on Facebook.

Pride Toronto released a statement today regarding police participation in the Pride Parade and festival weekend. The statement aims to clarify that police are not banned, that they are invited to participate with select conditions and that they will be providing necessary services to ensure the festival is secure.

LGBTQ+ police officers and their allies are not banned from the parade.

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.

The PDF press release (local copy), which has no business being a PDF, adds: “Additionally, Executive Director Olivia Nuamah will be attending the Economic Development Committee meeting on May 8, 2017 to provide a deputation in support of continued city funding for Pride.”

Also, the press release’s continued use of the phrase “the parade” implies that different rules will be set up for the Trans March and Dyke March, which are marches (QED). But Pride Toronto is not a place one goes for linguistic precision.

Cops won’t be at Pride 2017

Toronto Police Service statement from Chief Mark Saunders (press release, 2017.02.10):

We have made great strides with the LGBTQ communities. It’s an inclusive relationship I’m proud of and I know the men and women of the Service feel the same way.

We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided. To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride Parade.

What we will do is continue to hold our annual Pride reception.

I want to make it very clear that this will have no impact on our ongoing outreach to LGBTQ communities. We will continue to develop respectful relationships and build new ones, focusing on those who feel marginalized, with the trans and racialized communities. I will sit down with any group who feels marginalized, who comes to the table with ideas on how to make things better.

We have come a long way. We have much to do.

So-called official statement from Pride Toronto

Delivered, with its usual incompetence, solely on Facebook.

This festival, this movement, must continue to belong to everyone in our community. It must offer something that speaks to all of us and the variety of lived experiences in our community – creating a space where we can all feel at home.

Pride is a movement born out of struggle that continually pushes us to create a more equitable society – led by the very same voices that are now demanding their rightful role in the organization and that their experiences be validated. Pride Toronto is committed to continuing the important dialogue that has taken place with our membership and the broader community. We are listening. We will listen. What we have seen from the Toronto Police Service is that they are also listening and their actions reflect a commitment to continuing the conversation with our community to move forward.

We want to be clear, members of the Toronto Police Service are still welcome to march in the Parade as members or allies of our diverse and beautiful community.

We continue to hope that together we can move forward as an organization, as a community and as a city. If we can do that, we can show the world how to create a festival that is rooted in our collective experiences, honours our courageous past and looks forward to creating a better future.

Pride board candidate bios (2017)

Pride Toronto tardily released bios for candidates for its board. Some number of them – though possibly none – will be elected at the annual general meeting (AGM) on 2017.01.17.

Pride Toronto presented these bios in an untagged PDF that could not correctly associate two black candidates’ names and photographs.

Page of text has two photos in mismatched places

How terribly embarrassing. It’s as if Pride Toronto were completely inept at document production (also cannot tell two black gay males apart). Continue reading “Pride board candidate bios (2017)”

Yes, Pride Toronto has been recruiting a new executive director

Since November 9 at the latest, in fact.

Pride Toronto’s “statement” after the August 30 town-hall meeting told us this:

In the near term, Pride Toronto must begin the DRP process, working with BLMTO to present their concerns, appointing officers, and providing all feedback received to date on the issue for consideration. We will recruit a new Executive Director to the organization, using what we’ve heard to inform the search.

The thing to focus on there is not that Pride is actively helping Black Lives Matter Toronto file a complaint under what is supposedly an arm’s-length process. It is Pride’s insistence on going full steam ahead to hire a new executive director. Mark Smith is among those who have questioned why such a person is even necessary, especially given how badly the last few executive directors have turned out. Continue reading “Yes, Pride Toronto has been recruiting a new executive director”

Green Zombies documents

While we’re here, and since Christie Blatchford wrote about the case, I might as well make available the documents in the other proceeding Pride Toronto got itself embroiled in – the case of Bill Whatcott and confrères dressing up as green zombies (or Green Zombies) and handing out anti-gay pamphlets at Pride 2016.

Yes, this really happened, and, according to Doug Elliott, this offence is, if anything, more important than whatever Black Lives Matter is complaining about. (He wasn’t dismissing BLM’s complaints as unimportant. Both of those impressions are what I took from Elliott’s words at the town-hall meeting of August 30.)