Pride Week is one of the most well attended and important events in the city of Toronto. The main attraction is the massive parade which essentially shuts down the downtown core. Black Lives Matter Toronto were the guests of honour in the 2016 parade. It did not go as expected for Pride Toronto, the organization that runs everything for Pride Week.
BLM TO proceeded to stop the parade for thirty minutes in order to force Pride to listen to their issues. Among them was the "anti-blackness" of Pride TO, according to Alexandra Williams, co-founder of BLM TO. Among their other concerns and demands were about restoring funding and attention to the different ethnic floats for Pride, and the removal of the Toronto Police float in the parade. In order to get the parade moving again, Pride officials signed a document acquiescing to BLM's demands. Soon afterwards, those same officials declared they had no intention of living up to that agreement.
Even Trudeau was there this year! (Toronto Star)
Personal connection to the story
For all intents and purposes, I do have some stake in this story. Pride is supposed to represent the LGBT community, and I classify as the "B" in that acronym. However, as shown on my blog post linked above, I took the side of Black Lives Matter. In my experience, and in the experience of some others, I have noticed a certain "Whiteness" to any of the Pride events or public showings of the LGBT community. It's one of the reasons I have never attended a single Pride event in my life. I'm White, so that shouldn't be an issue. However, what has always bothered me is the complete lack of focus on ethnic people. Nine times out of ten, the people trotted out to make the parade look better are either jacked-up White dudes, or incredibly skinny White dudes.
I can't help but feel that the LGBT community in general still has a problem with race. After the Pride officials admitted to having no intentions of living up to the agreement they made with BLM TO, I couldn't possibly take the side opposite BLM. Their concerns were justified. When a group of people is marginalized, especially by the police (who had a very significant presence at the parade), sometimes drastic actions need to be taken. Having a sit-in and halting a parade isn't really that drastic either.
Infographic by: Evra Taylor (Marketing Magazine). Showcasing some demographics on the LGBT community in Canada.
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