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.