Pride T.O. Might Lose City Funding Over Police Ban

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A little over two months ago, I wrote a story about Pride Toronto’s decision to ban all police floats and uniformed police participation in the 2017 Gay Pride Parade, as per the demands of Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO) activists. I was not impressed with the decision.  

It seems I was not the only one.

News officially broke today that a motion has been put forward with the support of several Toronto city councilors to have Pride Toronto denied city funding as a result of their decision to exclude Toronto Police from this year’s festivities. That means a potential loss of $260,000 of its $800,000 in grant money.

The motion was drafted by Councilor John Campbell, who says that he wants to withhold funds “pending Pride’s reaffirmation of its core value of inclusivity.”

"Why is the city funding it, when they're using these tactics of exclusion against the police?" Campbell said Monday. Pride Toronto "got bullied into it by Black Lives Matter, and it was wrong." (via CBC)

Campbell isn’t the only councilor speaking out though. There are at least five other councilors in support of his motion- including Councilor Jon Burnside, who served as a police officer for 10 years.

"If Pride wants to exclude the police, it's absolutely their business," he [Burnside] said Monday. "But part of my job is to decide on funding, and I think that [the ban on police] not only sends the wrong message, it's counter-productive." (via CBC)

This doesn’t sound to me like retribution or petty politics. It sounds like justifiable pushback against an organization that did a 180 on its values, and that now has to answer for the fact that a festival with a “…mission to bring people together to celebrate the history, courage and diversity or our community,” is celebrating some intersectionality within their community and excluding others.

When Pride TO excluded police from participating in their parade, they were not only distancing themselves from their allies in the police force, they were essentially saying to anyone who happens to be both LGBTQ and a police officer- choose: both of your identities can’t co-exist in this space. That strikes me as hypocritical.

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