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.