Statement from the No Pride In Policing Coalition on the Pride Toronto AGM

December 10th, 2018 Comments off

 No Pride in Policing Coalition Says,

“Pride Toronto No Longer Represents Us”

Soon after the start of the December 4th Pride Toronto Annual General Meeting (AGM), Pride Toronto abruptly and without a vote, shut down the meeting. When it became clear that the majority of the membership didn’t support the direction of the Pride Toronto board and staff during a pre-AGM discussion, rather than allowing motions from the floor to address police presence at Pride, the chair declared the meeting adjourned without explanation or vote.

Following adjournment, and after being told we had to leave by the chair, more than 50 Pride Toronto members held a brief meeting. This unofficial meeting of Pride Toronto members passed a motion stating, “There will be no organized or institutional police presence in Pride.” Forty members, a clear majority of the members present at the meeting, voted in favour of this motion.

The AGM came just weeks after Pride Toronto invited the Toronto Police Service back into Pride without consulting members. Pride Toronto’s invitation directly contravenes two consecutive AGM membership votes which were overwhelmingly in favour of excluding police presence in Pride. These motions recognized the decades of violence LGBTQ, Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPoC) have experienced from the police.

Pride Toronto allowed for a 40 minute “open discussion on police presence in Pride” before the AGM officially started. This so-called ‘discussion’ had no decision-making powers and was a superficial stand-in for real impactful political discussion. Pride Toronto addressed the questions posed by members through avoidance, refusal and a deceitful game of semantics about police presence. Pride Toronto never spoke to the central issue: Why has Pride Toronto made the undemocratic decision to invite the police back into Pride?

Pride Toronto’s shutting down of their AGM represents a powerful message to all queer communities, telling us that our interests and concerns are not at the heart of Pride Toronto as it currently exists. Rather than take direction from its own members, Pride Toronto chose to shut down the membership, instead prioritizing its relations with the state and the police. This meeting represented a clear failure of Pride Toronto to be accountable to their membership and the broader LGBTQ, Queer and Trans BIPoC communities and as such does not represent or speak for them. The No Pride in Policing Coalition has declared this process undemocratic and a betrayal of the LGBTQ, Queer and Trans BIPoC communities.

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Community Meeting – WTF! Police at Pride?

November 24th, 2018 Comments off

Community Meeting – WTF! Police at Pride?

The vast majority of Pride Toronto members voted to support all of Black Lives Matter Toronto’s demands. Why has Pride Toronto invited the police back? What can we do to overturn this?  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Glad Day Book Shop

499 Church Street

7:00 PM Sharp

 

The meeting is organized by Queer Ontario and many community activists opposed to the police as an organization being let back into Pride.

FaceBook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/193553834859185/?active_tab=about

For any questions, concerns, comments and media requests please email us at info@queerontario.org

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Queer Ontario Statement on Pride Toronto Allowing Police to March in Uniform in 2019 Parade.

October 28th, 2018 Comments off

QO Statement on Pride Toronto and Allowing Police to March 2019

Queer Ontario Statement on Pride Toronto Allowing Police to March in Uniform in 2019 Parade.

Pride Toronto has released a statement and held a press conference announcing a shift in relations between the police and Pride Toronto via an on-going community conversation. This has perplexed many of us at Queer Ontario and leaves us with many questions:

  1. From our perspective, this decision goes against the wishes of Pride Toronto’s membership who voted on this issue in 2016 and 2017 and were not consulted regarding recent dialogues. Why was this decision made without the input of Pride Toronto’s membership and what authority did Pride Toronto have to make this decision without membership input and vote?
  2. Pride Toronto claims there have been changes in the Toronto Police without divulging any details. We note that Trans folks continue to be arrested and face the choice of being put in a mis-gendered jail or being put in solitary confinement (a cruel practice that endanger the mental wellbeing and lives of Trans folks); Police have not apologized for recent actions, such as park arrests of men (e.g., Project Marie), which continues today; No apology has been made for raids of bathhouses (just a mere regret), strip bars and sex clubs; Black, Indigenous and trans people of Color still face police harassment in their daily lives (e.g., carding); many LGBT folks have died due to the negligence of police such as the Bruce McArthur, and Alloura Wells cases and the recently started review was initiated by the community, not the police. What changes have Toronto Police made?
  3. Pride Toronto describes ongoing discussions with the police but offers no details. Neither Black Lives Matter, Toronto (BLMTO), who brought this conversation to the attention of LGBTQ communities and mainstream society, nor Queer Ontario were consulted or part of the discussions. Removing community-based groups whom contribute free labour to our communities and movements from these conversations erases the very voices that brought these issues to the fore (BLMTO) from the process and contributes to the anti-black racism that has been apparent in our communities. Whom are the ‘trusted community organizations’ that are part of these talks?
  4. Given the above and beyond discussions, we ask what does Pride Toronto think changed and what accountability measures are in place when Pride Toronto picks and chooses who it converses with, while ignoring the concerns of others, such as its own membership and community organizations
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