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.)

Pride Toronto “statement” after town-hall meetings

At the Pride Toronto town-hall meeting on August 30, attendees were told a “scribe” was taking careful notes and that a full report on what was discussed at the meeting would be issued “two weeks” later. Pride Toronto extended its own deadline to the Monday after that two-week period, namely September 19, then waited till 23:00 hours that day to issue a statement. Continue reading “Pride Toronto “statement” after town-hall meetings”

Questions Soma Ray-Ellis won’t answer

Even though she stumbled over her words and simply doesn’t seem very articulate, and even though she has a citation history that is thin at best, Mathieu Chantelois’ attorney Soma Ray-Ellis still felt authorized to make extraordinary claims – and issue threats – in a TV interview.

So I thought I’d ask her a few fact-checking questions (excerpted here; links added). She did not respond. Continue reading “Questions Soma Ray-Ellis won’t answer”