Statement by Ken Cowan

From someone else’s Facebook, July 7.

I was one of the “found-ins” of the Toronto bath raids; I have no reason to like the police. I was protesting against white racism (against Gov. Wallace) before I started militating for gay rights. And I believe that BLM is a group with valid complaints… However: They were guests at Pride and as such, before stopping everything in its tracks, they should have spoken to the organizers and gotten feedback and/or permission.

Pride is everybody’s – not just theirs. If they had to create a disturbance, they could have decided to do a sit-down strike at the end of the parade, out of respect for the other participants. Yes, it would have had less effect. But they have 364 other days of the year to militate for a cause which I support. The one day of the year which is for gays should remain as such… and if people insist on making political points during Pride it should be about gay issues, not a catch-all for everyone and his grandmother. (QuAIA, are you listening?)

Sorry, but this was insulting to too many people on their day. I would never imagine interrupting a BLM protest or demonstration to bring up other concerns which are not apropos of their protest. I don’t see why they shoud be considered OK for doing this to Pride.

Lastly: As I said, I have no reason to like the police or how they treat anyone – black or white. But it has taken a lot of people a long time to work for a better working relationship with the Toronto police force, and it took a long time for those gay cops to come out to their superiors and to get the right to demonstrate in uniform. How dare BLM think they have the right to dictate to Pride people and overturn years of work just to feed their needs? Sorry, but you ain’t the only group who matters in this city, or in this parade. If an ex-found-in can be glad the police are marching with us for a change, then you can bloody well accept it too!

In the end, people working together and finding common ground will always work out better for everyone, including for BLM. We’ve now heard from an ex-organizer; it might be time to hear from some of the gay cops… and how they feel about being excluded because of manipulative tactics.