So, a gay (and rather white) police officer wrote an open letter today, complaining of his exclusion (as a cop, not as a gay man) from Toronto Pride, based on Black Lives Matter TO’s leadership role in the Pride weekend parade.
Well, it’s only fair to remind you all of who’s being challenged for trying to hitch their float to the increasingly popular (and tourist-dollar-attracting) events of Pride Week. So, here’s a sampling of what’s being excluded:
That was six years ago almost to the day.
And, lest we forget, this is the same Toronto police force that also offered a very lame “regret” (not apology, not a concrete plan for how to do better, but just “regret”) for their raids on gay bathhouses and nightclubs in the city 35 years ago. Something that BLM-TO very perceptively chose to remind them of, even though the message wasn’t well-received.
Pride hasn’t always been a commercial event. It started out political, and political it should remain, as long as human rights are being trampled…and that goes double when the authorities, whose job it should be to stop hate crimes, not perpetrate them, are the ones doing the trampling. BLM-TO aren’t being “disrespectful” in the slightest. They’re taking the event back to its militant roots, reminding us all that people are still being gay-bashed on a frequent basis, and still being killed for being queer. Sometimes, the bashers are in uniform. There’s no sense pretending that they are race-blind or impartial to sexual and gender orientation, either. Police brutality is very much a fact of life in Toronto. And you don’t have to look far into the past to find it.
Cops, if you want to be included in Pride for real and without pesky demands from the likes of BLM-TO, you’d better start paying something besides lip service to LGBT+ and non-white people. Like, for instance, attention and respect to their wishes for you to stop fucking harassing them, just for starters.
And, incidentally, no one’s excluding LGBT+ cops for being cops, as the BLM organizers have also pointed out. They’re still welcome to participate; they’re just being asked to lay off the show of force. And, given what queerfolks and black and indigenous folks in Toronto have had to put up with at the hands of police, that’s NOT an outrageous demand.